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True Best Friends: Dogs, Humans Mirror Each Other's Personality

Feb 10, 2017 01:24 PM EST
New Laws For Pet Welfare To Come Into Force
It was discovered that pet owners who are pessimistic and prone to anxiety have dogs who also exhibit these qualities.
(Photo : Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Keep that negativity to a minimumbecause scientists reveal that you could pass on your anxiety and pessimism to your beloved pet.

A new study, conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Vienna, revealed that dogs are not only able to recognize human emotion but also adopt certain personality traits of their owners. According to a report from the DailyMail, the scientists tested a total of 132 pairs of humans and their pets.

Various experiments included separating and then reuniting the owners and pets, exposing the dogs to a number of slight threats and grouping them in pairs for some challenges.

It was discovered that pet owners who are pessimistic and prone to anxiety have dogs who also exhibit these qualities. By measuring their level of stress hormone cortisol, the researchers found that these dogs were also less capable of coping with threats and stressful situations.

"Owners behave differently because they are pessimistic or neurotic, and perhaps dogs read the emotions of their owners and think the world is more dangerous, so are more reactive to it," lead author Iris Schoberl said. "It looks like people who are pessimistic have dogs which are worse at coping with stress than others."

Dogs with less attentive and sensitive owners also tend to exhibit these traits.

On the other hand, dogs may also be a positive influence in a person's life, a report from BBC News said. Although humans have a bigger effect on dogs, the reverse is true as well. Dogs who are friendly and relaxed can also pass these traits to their owners.

Anxiety and stress can be a concern for canines. If it isn't addressed, these can result in panting, slobbering, failing to be toilet trained, and even being aggressive towards people. Symptoms of stress include licking their lips, yawning and turning away.

It's found that dogs get most stressed out by fireworks, thunder, trips to the vet, encounters with other dogs and being left alone.

Meanwhile, human behavior is the focus of a separate study, which showed that empathetic people tend to be more skilled in understanding their dog's facial expressions.

In a report from Science Daily, postdoctoral researcher Miiamaaria Kujala explained that empathy - the ability to share in someone else's emotions - affects a person's assessment of facial expressions because of how important the face is as a stimulus for humans. Empathy is even more significant than previous experience with dogs.

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