Dogs fondly remember us - even our B.O. - when we're not around, suggests a new study on how dogs respond to the scent of a familiar human.
The research, published in the latest issue of Behavioral Processes, was the first brain-imaging study of dogs as they responded to smells of other dogs and people.
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"It's one thing when you come home and your dog sees you and jumps on you and licks you and knows that good things are about to happen," project leader Gregory Berns said in a press release.
"In our experiment, however, the scent donors were not physically present. That means the canine brain responses were being triggered by something distant in space and time."
When we smell the perfume or cologne of someone we love, the reaction may be immediate and emotional and not necessarily at a conscious level, Berns, who is director of the Center for Neuropolicy at Emory University, added. "Our experiment may be showing the same process in dogs. But since dogs are so much more olfactory than humans, their responses would likely be even more powerful than the ones we might have."