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Attention Hounds: Why Your Dog Is Extra Adorbs Whenever You’re Watching

A long-haired Dachshund with a ball in its mouth running with a smaller dog at the dog park.
otsphoto/Shutterstock

If you think your pup is always extra cute at the dog park, it might not just be you. A recent study shows that dogs play more whenever their owners are watching.

The study, published in Animal Cognition, looked at 10 pairs of dogs who lived together for a minimum of six months and played with each other daily. Researchers then observed the dogs as they interacted alone, in front of their owners but while being ignored, and in front of their owners as they petted and praised the dogs.

Researchers found the dogs engaged in playful behaviors—like play biting, bowing, and chasing—more often when their owners were engaged. Why, though?

The researchers believe it’s related to what they’ve deemed the “reward factor,” meaning dogs view attention from their owners as a prize and perform to receive it. Another theory is that dogs could feel more secure and protected during playtime when their owners are around.

One final reason your doggo might be more playful more when you’re around is oxytocin. That’s the hormone that gives you all the lovey feels, and it does the same for your dog whenever you’re around.

Turns out, your furbaby might know just how adorable you think she is, and so she might be putting on a bit of a show for you.

[Via Martha Stewart]

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »

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