Do you ever feel like you’ve fallen into a routine, where you begin to take the simple pleasures in life for granted? We’ve all been there – waking up, letting your pup outside to potty, back inside to get ready for those grueling long work days, coming back home to let your pup out again, and mustering all your energy you have left to make dinner for you and your family. But let’s not overlook the loving friend that has waited around for you throughout the day and all the reasons why we should thank them! When we first started to think about this blog, we came up with tons of reasons. We’ve narrowed it down to our top 5.
Even if we scold our pup, forget to feed them on time, leave them alone for extended periods (without a CCLA walk or hike), or become too lazy to walk them—they still greet us, seek out our attention, protect us, and look to us for their own protection, love, and support. The bond between owner and dog is a profound one—one similar to the bond of a parent and child. But, not only do dogs show us unconditional love, they also show us how to forgive. Even rescue dogs, those who have been abused, neglected, tortured, or used for dog fighting purposes, have found loving homes where they are no longer scared of humans, and show their gratitude by jumping on us, giving us slobbery kisses, wagging their tails in excitement of our presence, laying next to us, etc. It’s no wonder why these dogs are our greatest companions!
Research shows that dogs actually help when we are depressed. According to NAMI, playing and petting dogs actually increases levels of oxytocin and dopamine—two neurotransmitters that work to produce social bonding and happiness! Furthermore, owning a dog can actually increase notions of self-worth! Research suggests that by being responsible for something other than yourself, produces feelings of accomplishment and therefore positively impacts our self-esteem.
According to HelpGuide.org, research shows that those who own dogs actually have lower blood pressure, not only in stressful situations, but overall! Also, petting a dog can increase levels of serotonin—a neurotransmitter that helps us to relax and calm down. Dogs give us friendship and loyalty—a bond that gives us a sense of security, belonging, attachment, acceptance and recognition of who we are and what we can offer! This can help lessen and dissipate levels of anxiety in our day-to-day lives!
Are other humans the only ones that can fulfill our needs for connection? Not a chance! From the time that dogs were bred to work closely with humans, dogs have learned to connect to us in ways that science is now ready to understand. As we feel sad, we act sad. As we feel happy, we act happy. Dogs can use their keen senses, such as sound, to tell what we are feeling. For example, according to MIC, researchers found using neuroimaging techniques, that happy sounds actually trigger the auditory cortex in both humans and dogs—signifying that dogs can distinguish between happy tones of voice and understand what we are feeling based on our pitch, intonation, and emphasis in our voice.
Furthermore, according to Cesar’s Way, our energy is expressed through our intentions as well. Without intent, our pups won’t understand what we ask of them through just verbal communication
. For example, if we tell our pup to “stay” but don’t have the intention of making them “stay”, the pup won’t listen because it won’t understand what we are asking of them. Cesar has actually studied how this works by saying words like, “toaster” or “lamp” with the intent to make the pup “stay” instead of using words associated with the command. Even when saying “lamp” in replace of “stay”—as long as you have the intent of what you wish from them—they will sense what you want and they will listen. This shows that your significant other is not the only one who understands you! Look down at your pup and you will see that your sweet-faced-pooch understands you and your needs more than you think!
They value us!
According to MIC, a study conducted in 2014 showed how dogs are the only animals that seek out humans for comfort when they are frightened or anxious. For example, unfamiliar smells of dogs and humans compared with familiar smells of dogs and humans were tested and looked at in dog’s brains through MRI. When compared to smells of the unfamiliar to the familiar, the dog’s “reward centers” in the brain were activated by smells of their owner. This signifies that out of all the different smells
dogs are surrounded by, pups actually prefer and favor their owner above other humans and even above other dogs. This also shows us that dogs prefer to seek out their owners for protection, love, and all-around care. Furthermore, dogs are the only animals that desire eye contact. In fact, research shows that sharing eye contact with your pooch actually produces higher levels of oxytocin
All in all, our pups add to our lives and fulfill us in so many ways, both emotionally and even chemically. So, next time you come home from that long and exhausting day, don’t forget to give your pooch extra attention and eye contact to show them how much you appreciate them for all they do! We don’t just take care of our dogs, they take care of us and our emotional well-being! As mentioned above, there are so many other benefits and reasons to thank your dog daily. Share with us, some of your top reasons to be thankful for your dog.