Mensch und Hund

Dogs and humans

Dogs have for many years been considered “man’s best friend,” and they definitely deserved the title. The chemistry between dogs and humans is very special and the bond is very strong. But how did this bond become so strong?

A chemical connection

Why is it that the bond between humans and dogs is so special? While the long existence of this special relationship is clear, researchers have also been interested in what might cause this close connection. Apparently, we have a chemical connection to our four-legged friends. Researchers have discovered that there is quite a big similarity between the human-dog relationship and the relationship between parent and child. Why? Because of a simple, yet strong, hormone called Oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone”. Oxytocin is released when people snuggle up or get close to each other and it plays a significant role in social bonding, including spending time with loved ones. The researchers found increased Oxytocin levels in humans after interacting with their dogs – exactly the same happens when we interact with our nearest and dearest. When our dogs gaze into our eyes with that “you are everything to me” look, our bodies — and theirs as well — are filled with Oxytocin. Even just playing with your dog can cause a rise in Oxytocin levels. So basically, we have an actual chemical connection to our dogs and feel affection for our four-legged companions similar to that felt toward human family members. No wonder the bond is so strong!

History

Another reason for the special bond between dogs and humans is our great history together. Dogs have aided humans for thousands of years and have provided us with protection, companionship and hunting assistance since the days of the earliest human settlements. Dogs have helped us in so many ways and always expected little in return. They have served the military and police, assisted the disabled, and faithfully remained our loyal companions. In turn, we have taken good care of them and given them a good quality life. We have been through good and bad, and have been each other’s faithful companion for ages.

Dogs and humans under the same roof

Even though dogs have been domesticated and part of our lives for thousands of years, it doesn’t mean they know exactly how they are supposed to act when they are brought into our homes. It is our responsibility to train them and to teach them how to live in our homes – exactly as we teach our children to behave and follow certain orders. It could be quite unpleasant to live with a person or a pet who is terrorizing your life.

Guidelines and  consistency are the key to a good partnership at home. Teach your dog where to sleep, where the bathroom is and what toys he or she can have. Be clear in your decisions regarding whether or not your dog is allowed on the couch or on the bed. Create guidelines for how your dog should act when it’s dinner time. Teach your dog how to appropriately greet new people or how to act when the door bell is ringing. Teach your dog how to walk on a leash or ride in a car. Just like people, our four-legged companions have to learn basic rules, the dos and don’ts, in order to socialize. In the learning process it is important that every family member is on the same page so that the dog doesn’t get confused. If your dog understands how it should live with you, it will be a happier home for both dog and family.

Strengthening the dog-human bond

The bond you have with your own dog begins the moment he or she comes into your life and it never stops growing. Even though there is a chemical and historical connection that strengthens the bond, there are ways to reinforce the bond throughout your dog’s life. Participation in activities with your dog is the best way to do this. It can be as simple as a training sessions, grooming routine, playtime or other activities like obedience class or dog sports.  And last but not least, you simply have to look out for your dogs’ best interests. Be a responsible dog owner and fulfill your dog’s basic needs.  Remember, when you strengthen and preserve the dog-human relationship, it benefits the health and well-being of both you and your dog. It’s truly a win-win situation.

 

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