Categories
Body icon
Body
We celebrate all shapes and sizes because we see nothing but beauty.
View Topic
Life icon
Life
GR8NESS isn’t something you do; it’s how you live.
View Topic
Mind icon
Mind
Infuse mindfulness and awareness into everything you do.
View Topic
Self Care icon
Self Care
Refresh, renew, and reconnect with your inner self to nurture your wellbeing.
View Topic
Soul icon
Soul
Connect with all of humanity and discover your true self.
View Topic
Body
We celebrate all shapes and sizes because we see nothing but beauty.
View More
Categories
A life in motion is a life well lived. Move. Discover. Grow.
View Topic
True health lies in finding the perfect balance of mind, body, and spirit.
View Topic
Chronic pain can be debilitating. Regain control of your body and mind.
View Topic
Remedies sourced from nature help heal pains, both seen and unseen.
View Topic
Feed your body properly and you’ll nurture more than just the physical.
View Topic
Life
GR8NESS isn’t something you do; it’s how you live.
View More
Categories
Ease the way you move through life with simplicity and intelligence.
View Topic
Strengthening your relationships helps you celebrate who you’ve become.
View Topic
Raising children is the job of a lifetime. And you never get to retire.
View Topic
Our planet is a marvelous gift. Become the change the world needs by helping it heal.
View Topic
They’re an extended part of your family. Care for them the way they deserve.
View Topic
Mind
Infuse mindfulness and awareness into everything you do.
View More
Categories
While you cannot escape the stresses of life, you can find shelter inside yourself.
View Topic
Calming anxiety, easing depression, and discovering peace of mind are within your grasp.
View Topic
Everyday tools, training, and techniques to convince your brain it can be so much more.
View Topic
From mantras for self-love to changing the way you look at wellness.
View Topic
category alt tag
Self Care
Refresh, renew, and reconnect with your inner self to nurture your wellbeing.
View More
Categories
The journey of self-discovery is never-ending. Embrace your journey.
View Topic
Feeling good about your outside impacts how you feel about your inside. Feel beautiful both ways.
View Topic
Soul
Connect with all of humanity and discover your true self.
View More
Categories
Dive into your practice and experience something new every day. Give your mind some space to grow.
View Topic
Feed your mind with powerful positive statements to help you believe in yourself.
View Topic
In a fast-paced world, sometimes the best thing you can do is to breathe.
View Topic
GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed
A cute puppy lies asleep in her owner's arms
1846 Views
4 Min Read Time
3 Shares

Do Dogs’ Stress Levels Mirror the People They Live With?

GR8NESS RATING
8
gr8 vote
GR8
2
meh vote
MEH
3
pass vote
PASS

Dog owners are some of the most passionate and invested pet owners when it comes to forming emotional bonds with their companions.

This is because dogs are so expressive. They give us unconditional love, are able to show us when they want something, and their loyalty means they are always there when we need them.

But along with sharing all the good stuff like love, affection, and loyalty, dogs also pick up negative emotions like stress. Not just on a basic sensory level, like noticing you’re down based off your mood. A recent study has shown that dogs experience biological changes along with their owners.

This study helped confirm a lot of things we dog owners have always felt about our dogs. Here’s what it revealed about how much dogs pick up on when we’re stressed and how it affects them.

Do Dog’s Stress Levels Mirror the People they Live With?

It’s a common belief that dogs are able to pick up on the emotions of their owners. But it was only after a study carried out at Linkoping University in Sweden earlier this year that we have scientific evidence.

The study examined a total of 58 dogs (22 Shetland Sheepdogs and 25 Border Collies) along with their owners. Researchers took into account a wide range of factors, such as the lifestyles of the dogs and their owners, personalities, relationships, and more.

They then measured cortisol levels in the dogs and their owners over a period of a few months. Cortisol is a stress hormone; it’s released by our bodies to help us deal with stressful situations. It’s an accurate measure of how stressed a person – or dog – is feeling.

The study found a strong correlation between dogs’ and their owners’ cortisol levels. Ann-Sofie Sundman, principal author of the study, said, “We found that the levels of long-term cortisol in the dog and its owner were synchronized, such that owners with high cortisol levels have dogs with high cortisol levels, while owners with low cortisol levels have dogs with low levels”.

If you’re reading this and feel concern about the long-term effects stress might be having on your dog, the study also ruled out any connection there. Senior lecturer at Linkoping University Lina Roth said, “Surprisingly enough, we found no major effect of the dog’s personality on long-term stress. The personality of the owner, on the other hand, had a strong effect. This has led us to suggest that the dog mirrors its owner’s stress.”

This means that long-term stress isn’t going to change your dog’s personality or have a lasting effect. As soon as you start lowering your stress levels, your dog mirrors you and follows suit.

Does this Means Dogs are Empathetic?

There are debates over whether dogs are empathetic toward their owners or if they are just reacting to us. The definition of empathy is the capacity to understand and share the feelings of another. This is exactly what dogs are doing when they are mirroring, or sharing, the stress we’re dealing with.

This study added a lot of weight to the side of the argument that says “yes,” dogs are empathetic to their owners. There really is a bond between dogs and their owners that runs deeper than familiarity and friendship.

Can you Reverse the Effects of Stress In Dogs?

Yes, you can. Your dog is producing more cortisol, a stress hormone, because they are mirroring you. If you reduce the amount of stress you’re feeling and reduce your own cortisol levels, your dog’s stress levels will drop, too.

Obviously, this is easier said than done. If you’re dealing with a lot of stress in your life, it’s something you need to address for the right reasons and in a way that works for you. You need to think about yourself first.

The important takeaway here is that your dog is going to be there for you every step of the way. Dogs love us unconditionally. That’s one thing we already knew and don’t need a study to prove it.

Want to do more for your dog? Learn even more about their health and how you can help.

GR8NESS RATING
8
gr8 vote
GR8
2
meh vote
MEH
3
pass vote
PASS
Matt
GR8NESS Writer
Matt is a GR8NESS contributing writer on such subjects as pets, CBD, pain relief, sexual health, time management, and family & parenting. When he's not placed in the awkward position of referring to himself in the third person, Matt tries to keep two Dachshunds, an 18-year old daughter, and one wife blissfully happy but not necessarily in that order.
Learn More
Related Articles
GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed

7 Best Toys for GR8 Puppies

Puppies love toys. And since we love puppies, we want them to have as many toys as possible. The best way to keep a puppy occupied – and out of trouble – is to have plenty of toys for them to chew on and play with. Get a variety of...
GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed
Image by FLOUFFY / Unsplash

A Tribute to Pet Moms [Video]

Pet moms, we see you. Some may say that pet moms are not really moms, but the dictionary disagrees. It mentions protective care and maternal affection, but it doesn’t specify that this affection is for humans only. Whatever you lavish your motherly devotions on, whether dog, cat, rabbit, horse, or...
GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed

7 Clean Up Essentials for Pet Owners [Slideshow]

Every pet owner out there is battling the same fight every day – keeping their home clean. If you’re a pet owner, you’ve most likely tried every life hack out there to keep your home smelling fresh and looking picture-perfect, only for your dog or cat to come back with...
GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed
Image by Justin Veenema / Unsplash

5 Ways to Enrich Your Pet’s Environment [Video]

The concept of environmental enrichment grew from a need to give zoo animals a more stimulating place to live. Being cooped up all day in an enclosure with nothing exciting in it can create behavioral problems for zoo animals and pets alike. Luckily, environmental enrichment is a concept that can...
The URL has been copied