First of all, do you know there is a publication called Journal of Happiness Studies?! I am most definitely not making it up as a weekend joke. It’s a scientific magazine that dedicates its entire existence to researching psychology of happiness.
Last month they shared a new study about our relationship with dogs and how we, as human beings, benefit from it emotionally. Termed “pet effect”, our need to support our dogs can apparently not just make both parties feel good whilst engaging in caring activities. According to the study, dog parents experienced ‘greater closeness to the dog, beyond the contribution of receiving need support”, followed by a heightened and improved sense of well-being and long-term reduction of emotional stress. However, the study also specified that these positive changes only occurred in people who maintained a real connection and regularly engaged with their pets, perceived them as a part of their family, not treated the dogs simply as guardians or domesticated animals.
This theory blends nicely with the Stanton & Levin 1988 study I’ve been in love with for a while because it gave me a beautiful little insight into the subject of love… Not just any love, but the love that our dogs grow for us. The authors based their study on Pavlovian response and showed that dogs who were trained through positive methods, including affection and social interactions, naturally produced oxytocin towards the person who was engaged with them. In other words, they fell in love in the most harmonious and natural way.
So here we go… Every time we enjoy life together with our pups, play together or teach-learn new tricks, our own bodies get rid of stress and our dogs’ little hearts fill with affection towards us.
Things can’t get better than this…