There really is nothing in the world quite like the bond between a human and their dog. If you’ve ever been a pet owner, you already understand how special it is. But does it really stand apart from other bonds, like the bond between an owner and their cat?
In the spirit of truly understanding what makes dog people different, the crew at WINPRO Pet did a little research. Here’s what we’ve come up with.
We’re not the first people interested in finding out what sets dog owners apart. In fact, there is plenty of research out there, from animal behaviorists to psychologists and sociologists, seeking to understand it on a deeper, more scientific level.
In general, these studies took a closer look at what types of people are more likely to own dogs in the first place, and what the human/dog bond looks like.
Typical Dog Owner Personality Traits
Thanks to a survey posted by Sam Gosling, a psychologist at the University of Texas in Austin, we have plenty of data to draw some conclusions about what makes most dog owners tick.
In fact, this study and its results (which are part of a much larger project known as the Gosling-Potter Internet Personality Project) gained so much attention that it’s been quoted regularly, even by large news outlets. But what did it find out?
Essentially, in this survey, participants were asked to rank themselves in five different personality categories - agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness. They were also asked to note whether they were dog people, cat people, both, or neither.
The people who indicated that they considered themselves to be “dog” people were also more social and outgoing than other types of people.
While the results were self-reported, and only a small section of the country, this does tend to be the trend with dog people. If you think about it, it really does make a lot of sense. When you’re a dog owner, you’re likely to be out of the house more… walking your dog, going to the dog park, or even taking a trip to the pet store to pick out a new toy.
These are all things that take a lot of social energy. Cat people tend to be more introverted, but they also don’t have as many social requirements surrounding the ownership of their pet. Does that sound like you at all? We’re willing to bet it does.
Why The Human/Dog Bond Is Important
In the United States alone, it’s estimated that at least 70 million homes claim to have at least one pet. And for good reason!
Pet ownership, whether a dog, cat, fish, rabbit, or even snake, provides us with a huge amount of benefits - physical, mental, and emotional. And that relationship works both ways, especially with dogs. We love our pets and, although there really is no way to tell whether they love us back or not, there is no arguing that the bond benefits them as well.
What Do Our Dogs Get From Us?
As humans, we can verbally express how we feel and what positives owning a dog brings into our life. Dogs, unfortunately, do not have the capability. But here’s what we do know.
Since dogs were first domesticated, the human/dog bond has continued to grow. In fact, while it is definitely possible for dogs to survive in the wild, there is really no argument that they just do better when living with humans.
For one, there is veterinary care. Studies have shown that dog owners take their pets to see the veterinarian twice as often as cat owners do.
Without regular vet care, dogs would likely deal with far more parasites and other, preventable health conditions. It’s this care, provided by the humans that love them, that keeps their bodies and teeth strong and healthy so that we can enjoy each other’s company for as long as possible.
Instead of having to scavenge for food, humans provide dogs nutritious food, supplements to help them live healthier lives (like WINPRO), and freshwater. And, when they’re done eating, they get to sleep on a comfortable bed without having to worry about predators. Does it get any better than that?
What Do We Get From Our Dogs?
So dogs obviously benefit from their relationship with humans, but what do dog people get from their beloved pets? Quite a lot, it turns out!
Let’s start with the obvious. Plenty of dogs out there qualify as service dogs. Although service dogs used to just be thought of as seeing eye dogs, there are significantly more types of service dogs out there.
There are dogs who can sense seizures before they happen, those who know when your blood sugar has dropped too low, emotional support dogs (who help during panic attacks and for people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder - PTSD), and dogs who are trained to help and assist children with autism.
The benefits for the humans in these situations are obvious, and is why service dogs are such an important part of life for many people with a lot of different health conditions.
But, even for pet owners not suffering from any medical issues, the benefit for humans living with dogs is significant. Dogs can even help lower your blood pressure and help our heart health!
Companionship, the way that we can always count on our dogs to be there without judgement, even in our hardest times… that’s the best thing in the world.
How You Can Bond More With Your Dog
If you’re looking for ways to increase the bond between you and your dog, you’re in luck! As dog people, we’re always hoping to make our dogs’ lives better… It makes you happy too!
Here are a few ideas:
Quality Time - Turn off the TV, put away your phone and just spend time with your dog.
Pet your dog, tell them about your day, throw the ball around in the backyard. Stepping away from technology is great for you, and any time you get to spend uninterrupted with your dog makes your bond that much tighter.
Take A Walk - Physical activity is essential for both you and your dog, so why not combine them?
Take a walk around the block after work, go for a hike on the weekends, or even take your dog on a run with you. Your dog will be more calm (and sleep better), and your body will thank you, too.
- Learn A New Trick - Most dogs are driven to work and learn new things, but the time we have doesn’t always let us do that.
There really is nothing in the world like the human/dog bond. Although we can’t ask our dogs, it sure seems like they get just as much out of it as we do.
With the right care, we can enjoy that bond for as long as possible, so that we can appreciate every moment we get with our furry friends. WINPRO Pet is here for your dog, through the good and the bad, because we’re dog people too. We’d love to be a part of both of your stories.
Understanding dog–human companionship | Science Direct
Personality Differences Between Dog and Cat People | SiOWfa15: Science in Our World: Certainty and Controversy (psu.edu)
Service Dogs 101: Everything You Need To Know About Service Dogs | AKC