Dogs can mirror your stress

Do you have pet’s? We have a dog a greyhound we rescued a few years ago. Prior we had a great Dane who was an awesome dog. I love dogs and I am always amazed at the amount of emotion they can convey via facial expression especially with their eyes. Dogs are pack animals and when you bring a dog into your home the dog adopts the “pack mentality”. For those of us with anxiety this can have an adverse effect. it can lead to a lethargic pet, or in some cases an extremely nervous one that can lead to all sorts of negative behaviors.

Found a pretty good article on how dogs may reflect their owners stress. Some of the conclusions drawn were gender based (of the animal) and I found the correlation to human interaction to be really interesting. I know when I walk our dog it’s a fairly disciplined event, when my wife goes from time to time I get reports of “being bad”. In my family I am the hammer, someone has to be when you have kids and it’s likely that I have tried to emulate that “role” in my behaviors within the pack. Despite the fact that I do have anxiety I guess I am doing a good job of concealing it or, and this is probably more likely, our dogs have realized this and have behaved well so I WOULDN’T have anxiety.

“Personality traits such as being conscientious seemed to correlate with more stress in dogs, particularly for male dogs, while the owner having a self-declared neurotic personality was related to lower stress levels in male dogs, but higher ones in female dogs. It is suggested that the reason for the differing effects of neuroticism may be that females of many mammal species are more responsive to the emotions of others, causing the female dogs to be directly affected by the owners’ anxiety levels. On the other hand, neurotic and anxious people tend to make stronger bonds with their pets, often using them for emotional support, and this may make male dogs feel more secure and therefore less stressed.”

Having pet’s is a blessing, and I am a firm believer that bring animals into your home can be an extremely positive thing for everyone involved. However we all need to be blunt with ourselves, if we are living in depression or toxicity or stress, a dog may or may not help you but will it help the dog? Since we as humans have decided to “take pets” I think we have a duty to consider the pets health and well-being. A dog in a shelter may not have a great life, but will life with you be better? Can you be responsible for a pet? Anxiety can often limit us, but in my experience pets are positives and providing a dog with a great home is awesome karma and you’ll be making a friend for life !

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