In the educated community between psychologists and animal behaviorists, one topic that can typically rile up a group is over emotions and more advanced implications into the animal mind, especially with the topic of love. There are many out there that say only humans have the capability to love and that dogs only really spend time with us because it works out better for them that way. However, research may be leading to findings that your dog actually does love you.
Oxytocin is a hormone that is associated with bonding and trust. It is also known as a "love" hormone because it is released when mothers and their babies are together. It also is seen when couples touch each other or look at each other. One study had shown that when mothers stared at their infant's eyes, the baby would have an increase in oxytocin levels and would stare back at their mother, who would then have an increase in oxytocin levels as well. This creates what is a positive feedback loop of oxytocin release, which contributes to the bonding of mother and child.
A study was conducted by an animal behaviorist, Takefumi Kikusui, at Azabu University in Japan to see if this bonding hormone could be seen between different species, particularly people and dogs. The study found that "mutual gazing" between dogs and their owners did show this positive feedback loop of oxytocin release. The study showed that between owners and dogs who spent the greatest amount of time gazing in each others' eyes, dogs had a 130% increase in oxytoc