Dogs 'Share' Their Pet Parents' Emotions

Dogs 'Share' Their Pet Parents' Emotions

A study cited by the Good News Network examined the release of oxytocin in dogs during social contact with familiar humans. Oxytocin, also released by humans, is a peptide hormone associated with bonding, trust, attachment and protective behaviors.

According to the Scientific Reports article, the oxytocin concentrations from pet dogs correlated positively with physical contact from their owners. Compared to domesticated pack wolves, dogs were also more consistent about human-directed sociability.

The release of oxytocin and the strong bonds dogs cultivate with their pet parents may be attributed to the former’s life experience as pets rather than just their domestication.

Another study explored the connection between dogs, humans and emotional contagion.

Emotional contagion, which is a primitive form of empathy, involves increased cortisol levels and heightened alertness resulting from a behavioral change.

The Behavioural Processes study found the dogs’ cortisol levels rose just like the human subjects’ cortisol levels did when both heard the auditory stimuli of a baby crying. In addition, the dogs demonstrated a unique behavioral response of submissiveness and alertness to the sound of the baby.

Bonding with Your Dog Through Everyday Necessities

The two studies detailed above explain the bonds between humans and dogs have precedent. Indeed, pet parents know their dogs are good at picking up on their emotions. They’ve likely seen their dogs respond in certain ways to their stress or embarrassment. They may have also seen their dogs act warmly toward their loved ones and distrustfully towards someone they don’t like.

That said, it’s up to the former to cultivate the trust, safety and goodwill that’s behind man’s best friendship. Be more attuned to your dog’s needs by spending time with them regularly, and don’t be amiss in your dog’s training. Always have the essentials on hand for life with your dog, like a collar, leash, harness, wholesale dog toys, and other pet merchandise. 

For more findings and human interest stories on life with pets, be sure to check out the PrideBites blog regularly!