Puppy brain. Yes, it’s a real thing.

Not that any of us at Valle Verde needed confirmation, but here it is:

The scientific evidence that puppies are good for you!

In this very endearing, entertaining and enlightening video Shannon Odell, Neuroscience Ph.D candidate, writer, comedian and dog lover, explains in simple terms the effect of puppies on the brain.

The truth about ‘real’ puppy love

Theory of just how puppies melt our hearts is known as the ‘baby schema effect’. Their baby-like features, yes, I’m talking about the puppy dog eyes, are known to activate reward circuits in our brains.

Puppies and babies trigger overlapping areas of our brains that deal with reward and attachment. This means that at some level our brains may not be able to distinguish between a human baby or a puppy, so the science goes.

Our biological response to puppies is to protect and care for them, as we would our own kids.

It’s been discovered that just by gazing into a dog’s eyes your body releases the powerful hormone and neurotransmitter oxytocin, associated with touch, social connection, contractions in childbirth, and other good stuff. And this is how puppies may have the edge over other pets such as tarantulas, birds or snakes. Not so soft and dreamy-eyed, you see?

This gazing also causes the release of endorphins and dopamine into the system with euphoric results. Any dog owner will tell you that welcoming a dog into your life is a bit like falling in love.

The feeling is mutual

And do you want to know the really wonderful part of it? Dogs’ brains react to contact with us in a similar way. They love us right back with all their hearts, noses and waggy tails.

So, if you’re considering opening your heart and your home to a dog you’ll be rewarded with daily doses of pure euphoria.

What are you waiting for?

For a little nudge in the right direction, and because just looking at pictures of puppies is said to have a similar effect on the brain, have a gaze at some our canine residents who are looking for forever homes and are currently work tirelessly every day to bring us love and joy at the shelter.

And if you need any further persuasion check out this post on 10 Reasons to Adopt a Rescue Dog.

If you enjoyed the video, you can find more in the series Your Brain on [Blank] where Shannon Odell covers the neuroscience of alcohol, caffeine, break-ups, sleep deprivation, flu and more.

By Sophie Russell-Ross
Posted: 6 April 2018

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