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K9 Magazine Issue 149

In This Issue…

K9 Magazine Issue 149

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Dogs are man’s best friends, by definition. While this may seem like a platitude to many, it is certainly true of many breeds of dogs. Dogs love attention, cuddles and play. Humans can often rationalise and appreciate these rewards of sharing, Humans may also rationalise and appreciate that the benefits of sharing come at a price. Unlike humans, however, most dogs are ten-tenths shy of strangers, which means that if you want to make a friend of a dog, be prepared to offer a bit of gentle persuasion.

Dogs also understand the meaning of good behaviour, as shown in a recent study found in the Journal of Veterinary Medicine. The research found that dogs recognise bad behaviour early, unlike some people whose behaviour may be tolerated for years before becoming problematic. Owners of border collies, a breed of dog associated with aggression, were more than twice as likely to report aggressive behaviour from their pets in the home if it became apparent to the owner that the dog was not well trained. Owners of purebred dogs such as Border Collies were also more likely to have their pet dogs bite the person that owned them rather than other people. So the moral of the story is not that you shouldn’t train your dog, but that owners need to be aware of when they are being unreasonable and potentially dangerous.

Oxytocin is released when a person is happy and decreases when they are unhappy. The latest research published in the journal Public Library Science News suggests that the presence of oxytocin can reduce aggression in dogs. Testosterone, a hormone which produces aggression in people, is believed to be responsible for increased levels of oxytocin in humans. This study looks at how the presence or absence of oxytocin influences the social behaviour of dogs.

Our relationship with dogs is complicated. On one hand, we love them and want to protect them, but on the other hand we worry about them getting sick and therefore we worry about dogs passing on infectious diseases. A recent study by Penn State College of Medicine suggests that the increased social contact between humans and dogs could help offset the negative aspects of stress in our lives. This is perhaps one study that gives us hope as there are ongoing studies looking at how different kinds of stressors, and how we can help counteract them.

In one study, owners of Labradors were found to be less stressed when their pet was infected with the laboratory disease rabies. It was found that the more social contact the Labradors had, the lower the chances that their animal would pass on the infection to others. This is an interesting observation that supports the idea that dogs help us through our experiences in life. We all know that cats to help keep our homes clean and that dogs keep our homes safe, but the fact that both help us in our everyday lives goes a long way in proving how important pets can be.

In conclusion, this article has shown that not all stresses in our lives are bad. For example, stress at work can have devastating consequences on our physical and mental health. This is why so many pet owners take their furry friends to day care or vets. Dogs are just as human as us and they need as much interaction and attention as we do. So, next time you are faced with a stressful situation at home or in the office, ask yourself if you are able to give your dog the attention he needs and wants. You may be pleasantly surprised at how this simple task will make you and your dog happier and healthier overall!