Attachment between humans and dogs
The special relationship that dogs have developed with humans has been studied not only from the social sciences perspective, but also from the perspectives of psychology and human medicine. Recently, in cognitive science, it has been suggested that dogs may have acquired the superior cognitive ability to communicate with humans, particularly using human-like visual cues during evolution, and that emotional bonding has developed between humans and dogs by means of similar social cues. This article discusses the biological aspects of human-dog attachment. Attachment requires the distinction of a specific figure using species-specific social cues and specific responses to the figure, brought about by neuroendocrinological homeostatic functions as well as behavioral aspects. It has been shown that dogs can distinguish a particular human figure (e.g. the owner) and exhibit specific autonomic reactions. Moreover, when dogs gaze at their owners, the latter's urinary oxytocin levels increase after the interaction. This understanding of the biological aspect of interspecies attachment suggests the possible elements that form the basis of cross-species empathy and the development of evolutionary cognitive abilities that may depend on not merely their genetic dendrogram.