The Impact of Emotional Contagion between Humans and Animals: How Our Pets (Companion Animals) Shape Our Emotions and Well-Being
You have taken your dog to the hairdresser, they start to cut his hair. You are afraid that your puppy will feel uncomfortable. He's looking at you, he gets uncomfortable. Your dog gets stressed, you get stressed, your dog tries to bite the groomer, you feel like you want to hit him/her too. They have to take you out of the hairdresser while they force your puppy to get a haircut. Sounds familiar? No? It always happens to me! And I must say that I am not aggressive at all, actually I tend to avoid conflicts. But what is this?
As animal guardians, we all know how much our dogs can affect our mood. When we come home from a long day, our furry family greets us with tail wagging and unconditional love. But did you know that emotional contagion can go both ways between humans and their dogs? Emotional contagion is the unconscious process of sharing emotions with others. That's why we often feel happier around happy people and more anxious around stressed people. This phenomenon also occurs between humans and their dogs.
Studies have shown that dogs are highly sensitive to human emotions. They can sense when we are happy, sad or stressed and will often mirror our emotions. That's why our dogs can get excited when we're happy or anxious when we're stressed. But emotional contagion can also work the other way around. When we are feeling down, our dogs can sense it and may become more subdued or affectionate. This is because our dogs want to comfort us and make us feel better. As guardians, it's important to be aware of how our emotions can affect our dogs. If we're feeling anxious or stressed, our dogs may pick up on it and become more anxious. This can lead to negative behaviors like chewing or barking. On the other hand, if we feel happy and calm, our dogs are more likely to mirror those emotions and behave in positive ways. So the next time you're feeling down, remember that your dog is there to support you.
Take a moment to snuggle with your furry friend and allow their unconditional love to lift your mood. And don't forget to return the favor by being aware of how your emotions can affect your dog.
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