How the science is behind why your dog makes you happier
Nick also reports that Wes makes going to pubs and cafes a lot friendlier with lovely friends and the service staff. It all adds up to an enjoyable dog owner experience – one that would be a lot less enjoyable if Wes wasn’t well trained. “It’s really stressful having to live with a dog that has behavioral issues,” says Westgarth, explaining that even people who see themselves as loving and caring owners often miss the first signs that dogs are stressed or unhappy. The first 16 months of a dog’s life, she says, are crucial in ensuring the dog is well socialized and familiar with potentially frightening stimuli, such as the sounds of washing machines, trucks, and fires. fireworks. The quality of the breeder is very important, says Westgarth; you should only buy puppies from qualified breeders to use award-based training methods.
You will find that a new puppy looks almost perfectly designed to arouse human affection – far more than wolves from which all dogs are descendants. As Clive Wynne, behavioral scientist and founding director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University tells me, the course of events probably unfolded like this: tens of thousands of years ago, maybe in more than one place, a group of wolves made it a habit to search half-eaten and other bones left by a band of itinerant hunter-gatherers. Wolves, already having a good source of food, did not attack humans and sounded the alarm when predators such as bears approached. “It meant,” says Dr. Wynne, “that people started to take an active interest in them. They started to think, “Well, you know, maybe we should make sure there is always some leftovers for these animals because they’re pretty useful to have with them.” Then, says Wynne, “the big change happens.”
As Westgarth says: “There are things like the way dogs have evolved to make eye expressions, and some ways we have designed breeds to look more childish on their faces. They have bigger eyes, they can raise their eyebrows in a certain way “- that famous puppy look that dogs only show to humans rather than other dogs -” that makes us gooey on them.
So you can’t help but fall in love with dogs. But most of all, says Wynne, dogs also fall in love with us. “Their super power is their incredible capacity for love, their incredible affection. To experience this kind of unconditional love in your life uplifts you.
How did dogs end up like this? Wynne, author of Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You, explains. “There have been changes in the genetic material along the way, which means that dogs have the ability, or the motivation, to form strong emotional bonds very, very easily and very easily. If we saw it in our own species, you would actually think there was something wrong with people.
Nick did his best to suppress the licking of Wes’s face, by the way. Lowering his voice in a low voice, he confides that Wes “is a bit dense. It’s just pure love. He’s actually not the smartest dog in the world – he only lives to cuddle ”.
One can imagine the horror of Wes’ dreaded Lupine ancestors if they had known what would become of their descendants. Then again, dogs are the beloved companion of the most powerful species on Earth. They won the game of evolution, and they did it by making us happy.
What the experts say
- It’s not the dogs that make us happy … the causal reason is that dogs change our behavior.
Laurie Santos, professor of psychology at Yale and creator of the podcast The laboratory of happiness
- There are things dogs evolved – like raising eyebrows – that make us gooey
Carri Westgarth, Senior Lecturer in Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Liverpool
- Their super power is their capacity for love, their incredible affection – which uplifts you
Clive Wynne, director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University