Science Reveals Why Your Dog Is Always So Happy To See You

Man's best friend, indeed

There's nothing like being greeted at the door by your dog. Those floppy ears, wagging tail, and big smile just can't be beaten. But why are dogs so darn excited to see us? Is it because they're hungry and know we keep the food? Are they just really happy to go outside and pee? While both of those might be true, the real answer is a lot better: your dog actually really likes you and is happy to spend time with you.

Recent research has found that dogs are pretty in tune with a human's emotions, but how can scientists be sure that the dogs actually like their owners? As explained by io9, neuroscientist Gregory Barnes put dogs through fMRI machines in order to scan their brains. When the dogs were exposed to the scent of a human familiar to them, the regions of their brains associated with reward and pleasure would become active.

The reaction that dogs have to a familiar person is very similar to how humans react to their friends. Just like how we all get happy at the thought of hanging out with our best friends, that's basically how dogs see us.

Calling dogs "man's best friend" might be more true than we initially thought!


The history of humans and dogs goes back thousands of years. While some believe that ancient wolves were domesticated to help humans hunt, others believe the reason they got along wasn't as clear. What we do know, however, is that they must have been friendly, otherwise, they would have been killed if people thought they were a threat. 

Over the years, people selected dogs based on traits that were desirable for certain climates or tasks. In more recent history, dog breeds became prized only for aesthetics. This selective pressure took a wolf and shaped it into all of the breeds we see today, from the chihuahua to the great mastiff.

Despite all this time and all these changes, humans and dogs continue to have a friendship that just won't quit. If you are ever feeling down after a long day at work, just remember that your dog has been waiting at home all day to hang out with you. Don't forget to give them some love!

(H/T: io9)

Cover image: Shutterstock


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