Does your dog seem stressed to you? It might be because of you!
Yes, a recent study published in the Journal Scientific Reports says that throughout a dog’s life, the stress level of the dog is continually matched with that of its owner. It is found that even the cortisol levels (stress hormone) are almost similar according to human and canine standards.
The study proposed that the stress levels in canine are largely linked to the stress level of its owner rather than the canine’s own temperament.
The mutual connection between a man and his dog has been established centuries ago. In fact, early evolution related evidence suggests that humans and dogs have been living together for over 15,000 years. The emotional connection between dogs and humans is quite real and has been proved via numerous studies done over the years.
There are tons of articles that talk about various health benefits that dogs offer to humans. While it talks about improving our health, this latest research shows that the psychological connection between the dogs and humans are more intricate than it has been observed before. It is a 2-way model.
If you are someone who is constantly in a bad mood, stressed and feel irritated all the time, chances are that your dog will pick up on that too and will have similar mood symptoms along with elevated stress levels.
How they found out similarities between stress levels of humans and dogs?
For the study, the researchers took dog hair samples to check for stress hormone cortisol and matched it against their owners. Over 30 Shetland sheepdogs and around 25 border collies participated in this study along with their owners.
A research team from the Sweden’s University of Linkoping had also conducted an experiment where each participating human was a woman dog owner who had to answer a questionnaire to help match their personality traits and temperament with their pet dogs. The results were inconclusive and it was established that personalities don’t get rubbed off between humans and dogs.
However, when they examined their hair samples, they found a clear emotional connection between the canine and its owner. The tests were done over the course of both summer and winter season to take account of season based variability. They found that cortisol concentrations were high in the dogs and it matched the cortisol levels of their owners. Both sheepdogs and border collies showed similar test results. The researchers concluded that the dogs mirrored the stress levels of their owners.
What does it mean for you and your dog?
If you are someone who is suffering from chronic stress, take note of your precious fur babies, they might be suffering with you too. It is time to let go of all your worries and stress, and start spending some time playing with your dog. Take them for long walks, pamper them with treats, pet and hug them often.
The studies show that affectionate interactions between you and your dog reduce both of your stress levels. Let go of your anxieties and go out for a walk in the park. Breathe in the fresh air and just have some fun with your dog. Take a break from your stressed work life and go on a trip with your pet dog.
Be your dog’s happiness partner
Your dog is dependent on you both physically and emotionally, while they make you smile with their quirky nature, you need to adopt some of their habits such as “living in the moment” and stop fretting about the future. Remember, we are the center of their world. For us, there are collegues, a circle of friends, family to hang out with, but they only have us, it’s time you show them the attention, care, and love that they need.
When you are done reading this article, keep whatever device you are reading this on the side and give your dog a big hug. Start spending some quality time with your dog and stay happy!
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