Whether you were born into a dog-loving family and have grown up with a four-legged friend, or your heart was stolen by those puppy-dog eyes later in life, you know as well as we do that you wouldn’t be half the person you are today if it weren’t for your dog by your side through thick and thin.
More often than not, our dogs are one of the most important parts of our lives – they serve as pets, confidants, and sometimes the closest thing we have to family. But do they make us better people? The answer is a resounding yes, but how exactly do they do this?
They teach you to love unconditionally
No one loves you more than your dog loves you. You can shout at them for digging up your newly landscaped garden, and they will still be excited to see you five minutes later. Whether you leave them alone for an hour, or you leave them alone for the day – they will be equally overjoyed to see you when you get home.
Your dog doesn’t care what you look like, how clean your home is if you made it to the gym this morning or how much money you make. They are thrilled to be part of your life and love you through any circumstances.
This attitude towards love and acceptance naturally influences how you treat others. They say you are the company you keep, so we can all be grateful to have dogs around!
They keep you active
Dogs give you the perfect motivation to get up and get active. Whether walking, running or simply playing fetch, interacting with your dog will keep you on the move. Research has shown that children with dogs were more physically active at a moderate to vigorous level more often than children without dogs.
Dog owners tend to spend an average of 300 minutes per week walking, compared to 168 minutes spent by non-dog owners.
So, if you want to lose weight, or just stay on the healthy side of normal – your dog will make sure you get the exercise you need.
They make you happier
In general, people with dogs tend to be happier and more trusting than non-dog owners. Playing and cuddling with your dog also causes your serotonin levels to increase along with your dopamine levels. These reactions lower cortisol, known as the “stress hormone,” resulting in lowered anxiety.
Studies in workplaces have also shown that taking your dog to work lowers your stress, improves your recovery after challenges and even increases positive social interactions.
They teach you to be more patient
It is rarely smooth sailing when you first bring your dog home. You will have to endure mistakes in the house, your plants being pulled from their rightful home in the garden, and your shoe collection being taste-tested while you’re at work.
Training them takes time, energy, and a lot of patience, but regardless of how long it takes and how many shoes they might chew – the love and joy you get from your new best friend makes it worth the effort.
They develop your character
Having a dog in the home can actually have a big impact on a person’s character. According to multiple studies, dog ownership results in an increase in leadership, social engagement, and empathy. Dog owners were found to be more likely to offer assistance to friends, family members, and people in their community.
Dogs teach us so many valuable life lessons, and while this may not come as a surprise to seasoned dog owners, there are now more reasons than ever for everyone to consider finding their perfect four-legged family member.
If you want to welcome a dog into your life and become a better person, head over to your local rescue centre or contact a registered breeder to find your new best friend!