Are you feeling stressed about the state of the world? Turns out that anxiety could be rubbing off on your dog.
Researchers have been able to confirm what dog owners have sensed for years: Household pets can actually mirror their owners’ feelings of stress.
The study analyzed the stress hormone cortisol, which circulates in the blood and leaves its mark in strands of hair.
Researchers in Sweden examined 25 border collies, 33 Shetland sheepdogs and the female owners to discover that higher cortisol in human hair was matched by more of that hormone in the dog hair.
According to The Guardian, about half of each breed enrolled was involved in regular training and competitions to test skills such as obedience and agility, and the rest of the dogs were regular companion pets, in order to see whether canine lifestyle was a factor in stress levels.
A new study shows that dogs can mirror their owners’ feelings of stress.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to show inter species synchronization of long-term stress,” the researchers write in the study’s conclusion.
The team of researchers believe there is more to the synchronization than simply sharing the same environment, The Guardian reports.
The scientists even looked at whether the dogs had a garden to play in and whether they lived with other dogs, but they found no impact on dog cortisol levels from those factors.
“We suggest that dogs, to a great extent, mirror the stress levels of their owners,” the scientists write in the journal.
I wanted to put out this short note on Stress and Dogs as it is something I discuss it in detail when Pet Owners come and discuss their expectations as to their dogs behavior with me. I always want them to know that the source of failure and success in the relationship with their Dog is the human in the relationship, most people who put themselves out there as Dog trainers some even have PhD’s discuss this but actually do not really apply it in a common sense down to earth way. Unfortunately the dog training arena is full of experts who aren’t, opinions and we all have them and key words and phrases that are more focused on selling services than actually improving the relationship between Dog and the People they live with.
As the Instructor and one of the owners at Risen Star, (the other owner is my wife who is so much smarter than me) I see this daily as we board over 70 dogs in our facility and groom dozens of dogs a week, the human in the relationship behaving as if their dog does not have this intrinsic connection coupled with the idea that their dog relates to their life and surroundings with Human emotions and reactions is so many times at the core of the relationship/behavior concerns.
I actually think there are times when Dog Owners use the application of Human Traits to their dog so they can readily produce an excuse for certain behaviors or issues so they do not have to address what some of the actual issues might really be. Thereby avoiding addressing the uncomfortable conclusion that eating the furniture, jumping on people, barking at all hours, pulling you down the street are because some traumatic abandonment issue which occurred before the dog was “rescued.” My next statement will really heat up this conversation as I do believe that though there are numerous entities and members of the Pet Care community that benefit that Pet Owners concluding this, it is many Veterinarians who benefit significantly selling anxiety control medicines and other quick fix remedies which so many times does not address the actual Dog-Human relationship issue.
Here at Risen Star, we discuss Pet Relationship issues daily. Many times one or two discussions later and some short term interactions with the dog, problem is resolved, and always because the Pet Owner changed their perception of the relationship. I am not of a mind to say that all Pet relationship issues are simple and easy, I am saying that a dog is not the part of the Human – Dog Relationship that makes things complicated, as it does not have that ability to do so, it is always the Human component that complicates things.
I will have more comments in the future, but for now first and foremost, my thanks to all of you who have supported us in the Purchase and initiation of Risen Star, the folks for SAINT, like Gail who is always ready to provide advice and support, to Nikki who designed our website and is doing all things possible to educate Maria and I on how we might grow our organization, the folks at the Mohave County K9 Association who have come out to our facility as we see how we can help our Deputies and their K9 Protectors, Christina and the folks at Mohave Animal Care and Welfare who have a really difficult job but made the time to come out and visit our facility. My thanks also to our staff who work hard every day to care for those Pets placed in our care, and to every Pet Owner who walks in our door and trusts us to care for their Pets.
We have been here three months now and we are still learning and working to make things better here at Risen Star, but with so much support how could we possibly fail.
Talk to you again soon.