The humans had been gone for a while; where had they been all this time? Waiting patiently by the front door, the dogs heard a commotion outside: their family had returned at last! But as the door swung open, the hounds caught whiff of an unfamiliar scent.
There’s a good reason why people call dogs man’s best friend, and a lot of it has to do with the animals’ greeting rituals. Whenever a dog owner goes out, they know for sure that their faithful pet will be eagerly awaiting their return. Indeed, the sound of a key in the front door seems to be music to mutts’ ears – and tails. Dogs simply love to welcome humans back home.
One explanation for this is because it’s ingrained in dogs’ lupine ancestry. Gregory Berns, neuroscientist author of How Dogs Love Us, told the blog i09 that wolves greet each other by licking each other’s faces. It’s the equivalent of us saying “hello,” but it also helps the wolves to check if any of the pack has brought some food home with them.