The Dogs Psychology | Dogs feel our emotions
Just as human toddlers look to their parents for cues about how to react to the people and world around them, dogs often look to humans for similar signs. When their people project feelings of calm and confidence, dogs tend to view their surroundings as safe and secure.
“The emotional connection between humans and dogs is the essence of the relationship,” says Clive Wynne, a professor of psychology and director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University. “Dogs are amazingly social beings, so they are easily infected with our warmth and joy.” But the converse is true as well, which means their owner’s stress and anxiety can also become the dog’s stress and anxiety.
This interspecies emotional contagion, as psychologists call it, has a psychological, a physiological, and a behavioral basis. In the last few years, multiple studies have shown that the transmission of emotions depends on the release of certain hormones (such as oxytocin), body odor changes in humans, the firing of key neurons in the pooches and their people, and other physiological factors.