Have you ever seen someone walking their dog and realized they looked like the dog? If the park scene in Disney’s 101 Dalmatians didn’t convince you, it’s actually more common than you might think. Even HuffPost backed up the psychological science – humans view companions as similarities to their own likenesses, and that goes for choosing your dog, too. Working as a professional dog trainer for over 10 years at Paw & Order Dog Training is something I have seen so often. It’s quite comical, actually, because many pet owners don’t even realize it!
So why do pet owners look like their dogs?
For starters, people might do it on purpose. They want dogs that they can live well with and will have similar lifestyles. If a person is physically active, having a dog that likes to nap all day probably won’t be very fulfilling for the human. It only makes sense that prospecting pet parents go for dogs that want the same things – lots of walks, areas to run and play. The best way to bond and be good companions to each other is to find the one or more who will fit in well with their lives.
In addition, dogs have learned behaviors. Dogs who often see their humans outdoors will also enjoy being outdoors. Likewise, dogs who see their people snuggle in bed all day will likely appreciate the same. It’s like a monkey that sees, a monkey that does, but with dogs. That’s why, along with training, you want to teach them the right kind of behaviors. Behaviors such as being loud can encourage a lot of barking; or inconsistent routines can make training difficult because they don’t see the parent’s consistent behavior, so why should they be consistent?
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Some might have or connect with a dog they subconsciously resemble. It’s a human construct to gravitate toward things that feel familiar and safe. Having similar physical characteristics or personalities can be comforting to pet owners, which can cause a natural inclination towards specific breeds. Smaller people can have Corgis or Dachshunds, and larger people can opt for German Shepherds or Great Danes, to name a few.
You may even be looking at your dog right now, wondering if you consciously or unconsciously chose a dog that looks like you? An English photographer has even captured stunning photos of humans who look like their dogs, highlighting the true bond between the two. Studies have shown that people with long hair might be more attracted to a dog with long or droopy ears, and those with short hair might choose a pup with prick ears. There could be hundreds of characteristics to justify why someone might choose one dog over another, but it really comes down to feeling familiar and comfortable with your companion.
Even if a beloved dog doesn’t physically resemble their human, they can certainly act the same. Dogs almost absorb the atmosphere, absorbing our emotions and feelings. It’s something I see every day in my training. Our furry companions can feel anxiety and fear, but also excitement and happiness, and they can take on any human emotion. I recommend that my trainees always be aware of their emotions when they are with their dogs. Especially since puppies, personalities develop and shape around their surroundings. This is one of the main reasons therapy dogs exist. Have you ever noticed how a dog curls up against you when you cry? They understand human emotions and signals and have a natural tendency to help.
Like any other member of the family, the apple does not fall far from the tree. And who doesn’t want a little mini-me? Now check out all the canine-human duos you can’t ignore.