It’s easy to treat your pets like they’re just another part of the family. After all, dogs have earned the moniker of “man’s best friend” for a reason. From talking to them in full sentences to letting them surf, there’s no doubt that owners the world over influence their four-legged companions in all sorts of interesting, human ways.
But what about the other side of the coin? How do dogs affect us? How do they draw people into behaviors and situations that we might never find ourselves doing on our own? Here are a few of the different ways—some positive and others not so much—that your dog might be influencing you.
In a high-tech world where distractions abound, dogs allow their owners to interact with something grounded in reality. They can help humans stop multitasking between a million different tasks and screens, instead irresistibly drawing them towards the one focal point that’s standing there wagging its tail and looking at them with puppy eyes. Dogs have a one-track mind and don’t multitask, and in order for their humans to properly give them attention, they must take the time to focus on them as much as they do on us. It’s a healthy habit to practice, and one that dogs can bring out of their owners in spades.
Ruling the Roost
Whether it comes in the form of chewing on the furniture, disobeying commands, or barking endlessly, an unruly canine can be a huge source of stress for an owner. Anxiety and frustration over a disobedient pup can be difficult to live with and can cause owners to deal with greater levels of stress, especially when the behavior needs to be dealt with on a daily basis. When this is the case, it can be helpful to remember that dogs typically don’t understand the expression of human emotions like frustration and anger. In fact, any owners dealing with this issue may want to research more about canine temperament in general, as it can help them relate to their pups in a non-stressful manner.
An Incredible Bond
Dogs can create impressive levels of attachment between their owners and themselves. In fact, in one survey a staggering 61% of pet owners claimed they would literally end a relationship if it came down to choosing either their pet or their significant other. This may sound odd at first glance, but the extraordinary bond of fidelity and friendship that canines offer is simply too endearing for their human counterparts to ignore. It is a phenomenon that can ultimately lead to owners choosing their four-legged friends over human relationships at times.
One excellent way that dogs influence their owners is through their faithfulness, love, and affection. For example, dogs can provide critical support to overcome things like drug and alcohol addiction, helping their owners fill the void that addiction failed to satisfy.
Not only that, but canines can provide a feeling of unconditional love and loyalty that is difficult to ever find in humans. It’s the very reason why they’ve come to embody the concept of man’s best friend.
In addition, “doggy therapy” can manifest in the way that dogs help humans cope with their circumstances. The elderly, for example, often lean on their dogs for conversation and companionship when they would otherwise be left alone. They provide a sense of purpose, and three out of every four older pet owners also say animals help reduce their stress.
Often, things like furniture and rug choices boil down to how well they’ll be able to be cleaned once Fido starts shedding or pounces in with a pair of dirty paws. Beyond the practical and logistical considerations, it’s also completely common to see some dog owners work their canine inspirations right into the decor itself. From more subtle nods like a dog ornament for the Christmas tree, a basket of dog toys, or a dog bed in the corner to full-blown dog-themed wall art, the ability for dogs to enter an owner’s decorative conscience, dictating their decisions from within, is fierce.
Dogs help us get exercise, there’s no doubt about it. With such an incredible store of natural energy, dogs are constantly in need of a way to let it out. This need naturally spurs their owners to put on their shoes and gear up for anything from a jog to a leisurely walk through the local neighborhood. While this one clearly is focused on the health benefits that exercise provides, the need for owners to get their dogs moving can also help them get out of their homes, socialize, and even fight things like depression and anxiety through spending time outside and in the sun.
From socks with paw prints to that ugly sweater with dogs plastered all over it that remains tucked away for Christmas parties, dogs have a nasty habit of influencing their owner’s wardrobe whether their owners are aware of it or not. Whether it’s a T-shirt with witty dog-related phrases like “my dog rescued me” or even just a pair of giant rubber boots that you never would have purchased if you didn’t need to head out with the pooper-scooper on a regular basis, a dog has an amazing ability to dictate what goes into her human’s wardrobe.
Studies have shown that sleeping with your dog in the same room with you can not only help you doze off a little bit quicker but can also help you sleep deeper. Whether it’s an added sense of security or the simple loving warmth of having their best friend close by, dogs can have a profound effect on their owner’s sleep patterns.
The Silent Influencers
It’s easy to think of human owners as the ones that impact their dogs, but the truth is, there are plenty of ways that their furry friends manage to return the favor. Whether it’s through positives like good sleep and exercise or negatives like ugly sweaters and undesirable behaviors, dogs are always influencing their owners’ lives in one way or another.