Labrador Retrievers are such popular dogs that even Forbes published an article about the influence a Labrador has on her owner.
Dogs influence humans in a variety of ways
We wrote about the relationship between Labradors and their owners, but there is an additional question and that is: What influence do Labradors have on people?
Dogs would never have been domesticated if there was no benefit for humans in the relationship.
Labrador Retrievers are working dogs who are bred to focus on a task and complete it successfully. That is exactly what Labrador owners experience from their dogs.
Successful task completion is a requirement for being successful in life and in business, and that is one thing we can learn from our Labradors.
Dogs are known as man’s best friend. This title is based on the human need for friendship and belonging.
People we know so well that we call them friends, are more important to us than people who are not friends. The term “friend” is a human expression that describes a relationship built on trust. You are not friends with people you don’t trust.
It is our trust in dogs that make them our friends.
Dogs influence human health
The most obvious way in which dogs, especially Labradors with their unique traits, advance human health is to make us feel better about ourselves.
When we choose a dog, the criteria we use to choose is based on our needs, so we look for a dog that will meet our needs or which will play a certain role in our lives.
In other words, a dog that will have a specific influence on us.
Dog ownership is associated with a lower risk of death over the long term, which is possibly driven by a reduction in cardiovascular mortality.
Pets in general play an important role in the health of people.
What pets do well:
- Reduce stress with their behavior and presence.
- Help increase productivity.
- Manage anxiety.
- Increase activity.
- Fight loneliness.
Dog’s role in the life of humans
In our society dogs play more roles than merely being our pets or helping us keep physically healthy.
Dogs are active as:
- assistance dogs
- detection dogs
- hunting dogs
- herding dogs
- protection dogs
- canine-assisted intervenors
- psychiatric service dog intervenors
- assisting in improving reading performance in children
Labradors can be found in the majority of these fields with a few exceptions.
Ways in which dogs influence humans
The many different ways in which dogs influence humans often differ based on the nature of the breed and how they interact with humans.
Dogs demand attention.
However they express that demand, they have the ability to force us to focus on them with undivided attention.
Dogs don’t divide their attention. They exclusively focus on the task at hand or the person in front of them. In this way, they force their human companions to also give them their undivided attention.
Dogs form a strong bond with their owners
Dogs form strong bonds with humans the same way in which they would form strong bonds with members of a pack.
This bond demands reciprocal behavior from the human in the relationship and that often leads to owners that consider their dogs a part of the family.
Dogs as therapists
Dogs can exert a strong influence over humans when they act as therapy dogs in a variety of ways.
Dogs increase human activity
Dogs are effective in getting people to be more active.
Their demanding behavior can force their humans to throw a ball, play tug-o-war, walk or even run. In this way, dogs can have a huge influence on human health.
When the role or influence of canines on humans is considered or researched, it seems that physical and mental health are priorities.
That could possibly be because those are our priorities and that is where the need for attention and research is focused.
But that is not all dogs do for us.
Dogs are silent influencers
Dogs are silent influencers because they don’t argue, debate or try to convince you. They just act in a certain way which forces you to react in a way you never contemplated.
Research on the influence dogs has on humans often focuses attention on the support given by the dogs in a variety of ways.
But one seldom, or ever, hear the view that dogs exert influence by triggering the human need to care for the weak. It may just be that your dog influences you to take care of it and consider it a part of the family, by acting as the dependent pet.
That is the way in which companion dogs help the aged fight loneliness and isolation.
Dogs provide stability, routine and a sense of purpose.
Dogs can play an important role in teaching children a variety of life skills such as patience, empathy, and responsibility.
Children benefit from the presence of a dog in a variety of ways, mostly related to therapy and teaching.
- Dogs are not critical, so the child never has to explain their actions.
- Dogs are ever present which creates stability and helps small children deal better with separation anxiety when their parents are away.
- Dogs make children feel important and assist in creating a positive self-image.
- When a child forms a tight bond with a dog, they become skilled in building relationships.
- Patient dogs like Labrador Retrievers teach a child patience and empathy. Children build confidence and vocabulary when they talk to their dog because the dog does not interrupt or correct the child.
- Caring for a dog teaches a child responsibility.
- Interaction with their pet dogs generally makes children feel better.
That would make the dog the master silent influencer.
Dog as a family member
The idea of the dog-as-family-member often occurs in response to empty nest syndrome, the emotional reaction parents have when their children have all left home.
It is often these “empty nesters” that get themselves a dog to “fill the empty nest”.
An “empty nest” dog often fills the void left by children who have left, and these dogs tend to form a strong bond with their owners.
This is an instance of the needs of the human being fulfilled by the dog, but the behavior of the dog also influences the human and its presence fills a void in the life of the human.
Where do Labradors fit into the rainbow of dog influences on humans?
Well, just look at the nature of the Labrador for an answer. Labradors are probably the best example of dogs that influence people.
- As working dogs, Labradors are kept to assist humans in a variety of tasks.
- As therapy dogs, Labradors are popular because of their mild personalities.
- As companions, Labradors are successful because of their intelligence and friendliness.
- As assistance dogs, Labradors are most successful because of their intelligence and pleasing nature.
- There is probably no other dog that has an influence on as many areas of human life and activity as the Labrador.
Labradors create those kinds of experiences that make you run home to tell your parents about the exciting day you had!
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