Do You Look Like…or Behave Like Your Dog?

People who look like their dogsHave you ever noticed that there really is a strange phenomenon of how some dogs and their owners can often resemble one another. There is even scientific research to back it up. This ad by Cesars Dog food from the early 2000s featured real dog owners with their ‘doggelganger’ pets!

Owners are usually to blame for this…because apparently picking dogs is like picking a mate. When you adopt a dog, you tend to opt for dogs that are more familiar.

Of course, you don’t realize it, but you’re actually looking for physical features, as well as personality traits that closely resemble your own.

But could you be transferring your issues to your dog? Researchers have noticed that dogs and owners tend to share traits such as extroversion or shyness. In fact, it is believed to be that the personalities of dogs and their owners may be more closely matched than those of married couples!

I was directed to this fascinating article in Psychology Today that asked the question,

Do Anxious Owners Raise More Anxious Dogs?

I encourage you to read the article here if you’re interested, but the key takeaways are these….

  • Recent studies have found similarities between the personalities of dog owners and their pets.
  • The most consistent finding is that neurotic owners tend to have neurotic dogs!
  • The reasons for this relationship are unclear, but several studies suggest the causal arrow points from owner to pet which means it’s more likely that the owner is raising the dog’s anxiety, and not the other way around!

Emotional Contagion Contributes to Dog Anxiety

We all know that dogs are empathetic creatures. The way they are concerned by the crying sounds of a baby, or the way they sense tension in a room if an argument is brewing between their humans, perhaps the way they know to console you with a cuddle when you’re feeling down. But the results of one study in Portugal suggest that this “empathetic trait” that dogs possess could result in what they call “emotional contagion” and explain the association between owners’ and dogs’ anxiety. Fascinating!  So, if you think you have an anxious dog, could they be feeding off your own anxieties?

Contact Compassionate Animal Care Today

If you have any concerns about your pet’s physical, mental, or emotional health, please reach out. Call 480.774.6995 to schedule a clinic appointment with Compassionate Animal Care today, or call 602.359.2031 for a mobile vet appointment within the East Valley.

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