Sometimes there are days where nobody seems to understand me. Well, I take that back —nobody aside from my best friend. He’s quiet and has his quirks like running around in circles, sniffing random objects, or chasing birds out of our yard. But he gets me, you know? Of course, I’m talking about no other than my dog because the phrase, ‘man’s best friend’ wasn’t coined for no reason!
Part of the reason dogs “get us” is that they are such empathetic creatures. They can sense our emotions sometimes better than we recognize them ourselves. But how well can our dogs truly know us? Read on to find out.
The study examined over 1600 dogs, all with different breeds, sexes, and ages ranging from months up to 15 years. These findings ultimately led to significant data that showed a commonality between pet and parent (Miller et al., 2020). For instance, more active individuals reported that their dogs exerted more energy. At the same time, owners who indicated that they considered themselves pessimistic revealed that their dogs didn’t respond well to training or exhibited more reserved behaviors. The takeaway is that our emotional state can have a big impact on our dogs. The researchers also noted that exposure to obedience classes saw a correlation with more positive traits in dogs regardless of their previous personalities.
If pets interpreting our personality wasn’t enough, pets can also intuitively tell when we’re stressed. In fact, according to a study investigating the long-term cortisol (stress) levels of dogs and their dog parents, they found that the cortisol levels synchronized with their pet parents (Sundman et al., 2019). So if you notice your dog stressing out, check with yourself and ask if you might need to relax a bit too.