Dogs Mirror Their Owners’ Personalities!
10 February, 2017
dog mirror owner personality

We love our pets and they are a huge part of our family and daily life.  We want to take great care of them and want the best for them.  And when we are feeling down or stressed, the last thing we want is for our dogs to feel the same way.  Well, according to a new study, our dogs will mirror our own personality, for better or for worse!

A new study researched different personality traits in both owners and their dogs

More than 100 dogs and their owners undertook various tests, including measurement of heart rate and their response to threat.  Saliva samples were also taken to measure cortisol levels, a marker for stress.  The owners were then assessed for the big five different aspects of personality: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness.  The personality of dogs was also assessed with a questionnaire

Dogs tend to read the emotions of their owners and are reactive to it.

Dr. Iris Schoberl, of the University of Vienna, said both owners and dogs influenced each other’s coping mechanisms, with owner being more influential than the dog.  Iris Schoberl, lead author of the study published in the journal PLOS One, said: ‘Owners behave differently because they are pessimistic or neurotic, and perhaps dogs read the emotions of their owners and think the world is more dangerous, so are more reactive to it.

And dogs that are relaxed and friendly can pass this on to humans and might even help their owners cope with stress.  We all know how our pets can pick up on our emotions and will sometimes even try to pacify us with a cuddle!

If your dog is relaxed and friendly, or nervous and twitchy, you could be responsible.

The study found that dogs belonging to neurotic owners are less able to cope with stress, while relaxed people have more relaxed and friendly pets.  They found pet owners more prone to anxiety, who are more pessimistic, have dogs which ‘mirror’ these traits and have a harder time dealing with stress.

Dogs with separation anxiety can also affected by owners’ emotions

The same findings apply to dogs with separation anxiety and those whose owners are not sensitive to their needs.  Dogs who are stressed tend to lick their lips and yawn, or turn away from stressful objects and situations.  It is even to the point that if someone neurotic has a new dog, he or she can actually change the dog from having a relaxed personality to being more highly strung.

The study further shows that dogs can pick up emotional information from people and adjust their behavior accordingly.  So, if you are feeling down or having a rough time, try not to let your dog know it!

The research is published in the journal, PLOS One.





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