For a 2015 study published in New Directions in Canine Behavior, researchers trained 12 dogs to lie still in an MRI machine. Then they presented the dogs with five different scents—that of a familiar human, a strange human, a familiar dog, a strange dog, and the dogs' own scent—and watched what parts of the dogs' brains had increased blood flow (a signal that there's a boost in activity). Specifically, they homed in on the caudate nucleus, the part of the brain associated with reward and positive expectations. This brain region was activated the most by the familiar human, more than by a familiar dog or even the dogs' own scent, which suggests that not only do dogs consider your scent extra special, it gives them a little jolt of positivity, making it a great way to encourage positive associations with time spent alone.
Free yourself from worry all together with Rover.com, the largest network of loving pet sitters and dog walkers. Get $25 off your dog's first booking—click here for the offer, and connect with a sitter or dog walker near you.