A new study finds that dogs exhibit stress when it’s exhibited by their owners.
“If the owner is stressed, then the dog is also likely to mirror that stress,” explains Lina Roth, author of the study published Thursday in Nature’s Scientific Reports.
Researchers asked 58 dog owners to rate their pets on such traits as excitability, responsiveness to training, aggression, and fearfulness.
Hair samples were then taken from both dogs and owners to test for the stress-related hormone cortisol. “It was the owner’s personality that influenced the dog’s hair cortisol level, rather than the dog’s personality itself,” Roth says.
They even found that the correlation was strongest between dogs and owners who compete together in dog shows. “When it comes to competing dogs, it could actually be that they spend more time together, and that this training could increase this emotional closeness,” Roth says.
Read more about the study here.