While some people consider their dog’s cute pets, others consider them family members. No matter how you define your relationship with your dog, chances are good that over time your personalities mesh. A study from Michigan State University shows dogs mimic owners and model their personality traits.
Dogs are more like us than many people realize. They are fully capable of developing unique personalities, and their personality traits can change over time depending on the dog’s breed, environment, training, and owners’ attitude. Scientific research shows that dogs can sense their owners’ feelings and even imitate good and bad behavior patterns.
For example, dogs who smile typically have happy owners who reward them with petting and treats, reinforcing that behavior. Conversely, because dogs tend to have similar personalities to their owners, nervous or fearful people have nervous or shy dogs.
How owners pick their dogs
When people choose to adopt a dog, most have created a list of traits they want. For example, parents look for canines that get along well with children. People who live alone in small places like apartments opt for smaller breeds rather than big dogs. What kind of dog people choose also depends on their gender, age, and financial situation.
And your personality plays a crucial part. People tend to pick dogs that will fit into their lifestyle. Extroverts are often drawn to playful, active breeds, while sensitive, quiet individuals prefer dogs with similar traits.
These choices are natural. We pick our dogs the same way we choose our friends: If we have a lot in common, this might be the right fit.
On the other hand, people who choose dogs based only on appearance often end up in uncomfortable situations later on when they discover the dogs’ personality doesn’t match their own.
People often feel guilty for giving up a dog that wasn’t a good “match” for them, while the pet has to undergo the painful process of changing owners.
Dogs’ personalities change over time
So, if you pick out a dog with a personality that goes well with yours, will it be a match made in heaven? In theory, that should work like a dream. In practice, however, this is where things get interesting.
Like people, your dog’s personality can change over time. As mentioned previously, that change can happen for numerous reasons. Dog owners also can inspire change. A shy dog can become more playful after being socialized with other dogs. Proper training can turn your restless pup into an active but docile pet.
Do dogs respond to their owner’s behavior, though? According to the Michigan State study conducted by professor William Chopic, the answer is a big, resounding yes. Chopic emphasizes that the results of his research prove the “nature vs. nurture” principle, concluding that dogs mimic their owners’ behavior.
When owners go through significant life changes, it can affect how they think and act and your dog’s emotional state and behavior.
Making positive, meaningful change
If pups can pick up on their owners’ emotional states and how they conduct themselves, what does that mean, exactly?
On a basic level, it means their owners need to take the blame for their dogs’ poor behavior. The combination of training, affection, and their behavior and attitude toward life can substantially impact their dogs. That’s why people need to take responsibility for providing the best possible example for their dogs to follow.
On a more profound level, however, people can learn so much from their canines’ behavior. Dogs are our “reality check.” Your dog’s activity level, tendency to express aggression, fearfulness, or responsiveness to training are signals that can tell us a lot about ourselves.
Dogs are highly empathic animals that express happiness when their owners are joyful. They provide comfort when their owners are unhappy.
Your dog is your best friend and will always be there to support (and mimic) any decision that leads you to a happier, more fulfilled life.
Choosing a dog by considering its personality is a good decision. Just remember your state of mind plays a significant role in how your pet will feel and behave while living with you.
Final thoughts on dogs mimic owners
Dogs mimic owners, so to ensure your pup is happy, healthy, active, and well-behaved, make sure your personalities mesh.
Shower your dog with affection, train your dog and continue to work on your personal growth so you can serve as an example for your pet. Focus on behavior that strengthens your bond and creates a happy, healthy lifestyle for both of you.
Becky Holton is a journalist and a blogger at ResumesPlanet and best essay writing service. She is interested in education technologies and is always ready to support informative speaking at MyAssignmentHelp, Rushmyessay.co.uk. Follow her on Twitter.