Do people say that you’re a ‘natural’?
Dogs are inexplicably drawn to you.
Even though you’re not even trying.
So, you may be thinking…
Why does this keep happening?
Read on to find out:
- Why you are well-liked by dogs according to science.
- Whether it’s something within you or an action that you do.
- The hormone that’s important in forming deep bonds with them.
- And many more…
Table of contents
Why do dogs like me so much?
Dogs like you so much because of your unique gene, high oxytocin level, dog-directed speech, and welcoming posture. Or due to your similar personality, reliability, or smiley expression. And stranger dogs might approach you if they’re in a familiar location or have a positive association with you.
9 scientific reasons why (strangers’) dogs like you much
#1: The ‘dog (animal) lover’ gene
Do you wonder why some people (like you) are so compassionate about dogs? (Or animals in general.)
And almost every animal also loves them back?
Hmm. Experience is one thing.
But, did you know that this could be genetic as well?
A group of researchers in Scotland made a study about this.
They examined the DNA of 161 students. And asked them questions about their empathy for animals.
And the results?
Those who considered themselves as ‘animal lovers’ have something in common.
They all have a certain type of oxytocin gene in their DNA. And this might be the reason for their higher empathy level.
“Wait, what is oxytocin?”
It’s known as the ‘love hormone.’ It helps us form a deep bond with other humans. As well as animals.
This is released when we touch or gaze at someone we like. And it’s also observed in dogs.
One research found that oxytocin is high in canines who interacted with humans. Compared to dogs who didn’t.
For strangers to get a positive reaction from dogs, they must appear inviting first.
And for those like you who are natural empaths, this will be easy.
As you’ll find yourself more in-tune to dogs (and animals). Plus, somehow, you understand them better than other people.
#2: High oxytocin level
Aside from the unique gene…
You could also be a natural magnet to dogs because of your high level of oxytocin.
The hormone helps one to understand social cues better. As well as others’ body language.
And as a result, they’ll be able to interact with ease. May it be with dogs or other humans.
Like a magic charm inside the body.
“So, how can a person have more oxytocin?”
This might be a normal thing for some people.
A study discovered that typically, females have higher levels of oxytocin than males.
Plus, research observed an increase in oxytocin in women. And this happened after bonding with dogs.
While men’s oxytocin levels didn’t change much after the interaction.
However, there are also males who naturally attract dogs.
So, men, this isn’t the only thing that counts! As there are other factors I’ll discuss later.
“But, how does having a high oxytocin level help?”
Same with other animals, canines also give certain signals.
They do it before they interact with people. Whether it’s to convey their hunger. Or if they don’t want any petting at the moment.
And if you have this, you may interpret those signs correctly.
Making it possible for you to be on the dogs’ favorite humans list.
Interesting fact: Did you know that oxytocin also helps canines in the same way? Researchers say that it’s the reason why pet dogs read humans better. Compared to their ancestors, wolves.
In the study, both wolves and canines were asked to do a task. It was to find the hidden food using human cues.
And in the end, the dogs did better than the wolves. As they were found to gaze more at the experimenter.
A way to trigger the release of oxytocin as I said earlier. The hormone that helps in understanding social cues.
#3: Non-threatening posture
They say that the first impression lasts.
Some people look intimidating at first. And we usually base it on how they appear, walk, and present themselves.
In this sense, dogs can also be similar. As they might avoid people who appear scary and threatening.
So for dogs to like you, you may have a welcoming appearance. And your body language doesn’t make them uncomfortable.
Say, you don’t stare at them for so long. Or you don’t go near them immediately.
But this being said, why do canines still become wary of some strangers?
There’s a study that may answer this thought.
There was a difference found between a man’s and a woman’s silhouette while walking.
The respondents said that the image of the man looked like it was coming at them. While the shape of the woman appeared to be moving away.
It’s because males and females walk differently. And this could be due to the differences in bone structure.
However, it still depends on a person’s posture.
So for dogs, some men may look more intimidating than women. And there might also be certain females who look more threatening.
#4: Dog-directed speech
“Hello there, cutie!”
“Who’s a good boy/girl?!”
“Do you want a treat?”
How did you read these in your mind?
If you spoke in a ‘baby talk,’ well, there you go.
Studies say that dogs are indeed more drawn to people who speak in a high-pitched tone. As opposed to those who talk in their natural voice.
Whether it’s a stranger. Or a familiar person.
There’s no doubt about this. As even an adorable coyote seems to like it too:
In the research, 2 people recorded their own voices.
The 1st one was in a normal speaking voice. And the 2nd audio was in a canine version of baby talk.
Afterward, they were asked to sit in a room. And each of them had a speaker where the audio will be played later on.
Next, the researchers brought in 37 leashed dogs. Then made them listen to the 2 different recordings.
What did most of the dogs do?
They looked more towards the person who’s talking in a baby voice.
Plus, the dogs also wanted to interact with the one who just spoke in a high-pitched tone.
Learn more: My Dog Is Too Friendly With Strangers: 5 Reasons + 5 Tips
When dogs encounter a stranger…
Experts say that they look at their parent’s reactions first.
This is called ‘social eavesdropping.’
And they do this to know whether it’s a person they can trust or not.
So, dogs might also like you because of your friendliness to others. As well as your harmless body language.
Research shares one good example of this.
The goal of the study was to know how dogs will react. After watching their parent interact with someone they don’t know.
So, a dog parent was asked to sit in the middle of 2 strangers. While his or her dogs watched them.
The scene started with the parent trying to open a glass container. And mind you, it didn’t have any treats inside. Or toys that the dogs will like.
It was something that had no value to them. Because the researchers also wanted to find out if their reaction will be affected by this or not.
In the 1st situation: The parent gave up opening the jar. Then asked for help from the 2 people.
The other one gladly offered assistance. And held the container with 2 hands. So due to this, the parent successfully opened the lid.
In the 2nd situation: The other stranger refused to help the parent. And turned away his or her face.
In the 3rd situation: An actor played a neutral role. Where the parent stopped trying to open the jar. And the person immediately turned away.
After these 3 scenes, the strangers offered the same treats to the dogs.
And guess what, the Fidos accepted the goodies from the person who helped their parent. As well as the neutral one.
While the dogs clearly avoided the stranger who refused to help.
This simple experiment shows that when dogs learn something, they’ll remember it.
And they’ll favor those who treat their humans well. Then steer away from those who don’t.
#6: Similar personality
Although you’re liked by almost all of them…
It’s also possible that certain dogs are more attracted to you.
One study found that parents and their dogs have similar personalities.
And this was observed in how outgoing they are. And how well they get along with others.
Based on this, it was said that people tend to choose Fidos who are ‘like’ them.
And in adopting dogs, it’s indeed important to choose one who matches you. May it be in lifestyle or personality.
But what if…
We’re talking about you (a stranger) and someone’s dog?
Canines are observant.
They can read your actions. Detect your current emotions. And watch the faces you make.
And all of these could help them know if you’re a good match for them or not.
So if you’re a bit timid, an aloof dog may like hanging out with you more. And they prefer you over people who are loud and hyper.
As they know you’ll be content by just watching them.
Or if you’re on a more active side, you can draw dogs who are as energetic as you are.
#7: Familiar location
Did you happen to go to a stranger’s house?
I mean, because of your work. Or something like that.
Then the person’s dog paid more attention to you the whole time. Instead of clinging to their parents?
If you experienced this or know a similar story, experts reveal the reason why.
In one research, dogs were placed in the same room. Together with their parent and a stranger.
The 1st experiment was done in an unfamiliar place. And the dogs interacted 80% of the time with their humans.
While the 2nd one was done in their own house. And the results were surprising.
The Fidos went to strangers 70% of the time. A lot more than what they spent with their parents.
So why did they do that?
The researchers told National Geographic about this.
They said that dogs may have felt more secure in a familiar place. This is why they were confident to approach a stranger.
Given that they’re social. And well exposed to different people at an early age.
And they were more stressed when it was done in a new place. So they sought comfort in their humans instead.
#8: Smiley face
Are you a smiley type of person? 🙂
If so, this might also be your charm.
One particular study about this was made. And it was on how dogs will react to pictures of smiling and angry people.
The dogs were of course attracted to the smiling faces. While the angry ones caused dilated pupils instead.
Speaking of emotions…
Another research shows that dogs know a positive expression from a negative one.
In the study, the dogs were shown faces of people. Either happy or sad.
And they also listened to the audio recordings of humans. Speaking in a joyous or an angry state.
The audio and photo were presented randomly. So sometimes they didn’t match.
But, it was noticed that dogs paid more attention to a photo when the audio suits it.
Proving that canines know our emotions. And they do this by looking at visual cues. As well as listening to our tone.
#9: Positive association
Lastly, experts also say that…
Sometimes, associations beat personalities.
“What do they mean?”
This means that, a person who doesn’t look threatening. Or has a soft heart for animals can also not be favored by dogs.
The person might be a vet. And the pooch is scared of going to the clinic.
So this negative association makes the dog wary of the person. Although it’s someone they’ll like in a different set-up.
This is why if dogs prefer you, it may be that you belong to a group of people they like.
Ever heard that dogs are more afraid of men?
Well, this isn’t true for all. As we know other men are so loved by canines.
But, there could be a slight truth to this. Say, their posture might look intimidating. Or because they have low levels of oxytocin.
However, a study says that this can be due to…
During puppyhood, there are periods where dogs will form fears.
AKC says that these will happen first at 8 to 11 weeks. And then between 8 to 14 months.
So parents need to expose their pups to different people. As well as dogs and animals. In order to grow up less anxious of certain persons.
This is why if a dog grew up around women, they may feel unsafe with men. Or vice versa.
And some canines might also avoid kids. Partly due to their playful personality. But it can also be that they were linked to a bad experience.
Read next:17 Reasons Why Your Dog Barks At Certain People + 5 Tips