Like owner, like dog. Researchers said so.
The dog and its owner could mirror each other's traits. Relaxed owners are more likely to own relaxed and friendly dogs. This goes without saying that dogs with neurotic tendencies are likely to behave so according to what they see from their owners.
"It looks like people who are pessimistic have dogs which are worse at coping with stress than others," Iris Schoberl, lead author of the study published on Feb. 8 in the journal PLOS One, said.
The study, involving 132 dogs and their owners, conducted several tests. These tests involved the measurement of rate, responses to threat, and collection of saliva samples to measure levels of cortisol.
Also known as "the stress hormone," it determines the changes in the body during stress.
Personality traits of the owners and dogs were assessed the results of which have showed that owner and pet influenced each other.
"Our results nicely fit to experience from practice: owners and dogs are social dyads [a group of two], and they influence each other's stress coping," Schoberl told BBC News.
Man's Best Friend
Dogs, believed to have evolved from wolves, have given rise to a common colloquialism as "man's best friends" because of their close association with humans for more than 30,000 years.
The recent study has furthered this with scientific evidence showing that dogs can gather emotional information from their owners and may even reflect it as their own.
The canine may react to a situation either as "safe" or "dangerous" as to how its owner approached or handled new situations.
Previous study on dogs has found that dogs' aggressiveness and easy-goingness are determined by the gender of its owners. Male owners are likely to have less sociable and relaxed dogs while that of opposite sex tend to be anxious and neurotic.
Dogs: Anxiety, Stress
Furthermore, the study noted that less emotionally adjusted dogs are also products of owners who tend to care less to the needs of their pets. Dogs with this kind of owners are most likely to suffer separation anxiety.
Pet supplement specialist Pettura listed the following as stressors of dogs, such as fireworks, thunder, meeting other dogs, a visit to vet's clinic, and being left alone.
The next time you get near your pet, remember that your dog is watching and learning from you how to behave in new situations.