Last Thursday I had the opportunity to interview author Chris Blazina, PhD about his new book, When Man Meets Dog, during our YouTube Live show.
Dr Blazina specializes in men’s psychology, and now applies his knowledge and experience to gain an in-depth understanding of man’s best friend.
This was such an enlightening conversation! I learned a lot, and I would like to share some really interesting key points with you. Thank you so much to Dr. Blazina for his time and for sharing so much great information with us last week! I also want to thank everyone was able to join us and ask such great questions during the show!
My main Take-Aways from the interview:
- Gender roles – rules about how we should behave – can limit us. They are limiting and restricting because we never really let anybody have access to who you are in terms of a more emotional, private way. That’s why we love our dogs so much! They help us connect with another being in a way we can’t with other people because of these roles that say how we should conduct ourselves.
- In North America alone, somewhere between 40-70% of men are impacted by one or many of these roles that really restrict their experience of being with other people and trying to live a good life. That’s in large part where Animal Companions com in. Animal Companion is defined as a pet who is considered a friend or family member.
- Dogs are very clear about who they like and who they don’t like, and there are no mixed messages about that. If you’re a made man in a dog’s eyes, than you really reap the benefits of having their presence in your lives.
- Dr. Blazina’s research focuses on how dogs shape us and impact us in a positive way rather than how to shape the behavior of dogs. For example, if you close your eyes and imagine your dog in your mind’s eye, your body physically changes within 20-30 seconds. One of the positive changes include oxytocin levels rising (bonding hormones that help mothers bond with children).
- When we stroke the fur of our dogs, our heart rate usually goes down along with our blood pressure. We enter into a more peaceful state of mind when we connect with them, and that has an impact on them as well. We want them to feel cared for. This is especially helpful if you’re the type of person that has trouble bonding with others. Stroking our dogs fur helps fulfill that quintessential need for bonding.
- It is important to understand each dog on an individual level. We do right by them by trying to see things from their perspective. What works for one dog may not work for another, exactly as it is with human beings. Having some sense about that really, I think, really transforms our connection with dogs into a different kind of one – one that’s respectful. They’re not just there for us. The other side of this is, “How are we there for them?”
- In terms of grooming, if your intent is one of love and care there is a very good chance that the dog will sense that. Probably on a hormonal level – they’re able to smell the changes in our bodies. Researchers found that dogs can track the different smells of emotion – different sensations our bodies give off when we’re in certain emotional states. If your intent is one of care, the dogs will experience you in a different way versus an angry, “I’m going to punish you” way. That sends a different message in a dog’s world. Where they’re likely to think, “This is not a safe connection right now. I need to bare my teeth and growl at you.”
- One of the reasons dogs can sense where we are emotionally is because of their amazing nose. The equivalent of their sense of smell would be like being able to smell a spoonful of sugar in 2 Olympic sized pools. That’s how powerful the dog’s nose is!
- It’s not about what we get from the dogs, but also about giving something back!
- The core reason why Dr. Chris Blazina does what he is doing is because of the impact having an animal companion has made in his own life. He finds it so important, at least on a personal level, to be able to explain in a scientific way the significant impact that dogs have on us. He’s also an avid animal advocate, and is involved with helping rescues and shelters for animals. This is his way of giving back to them for all they have given him.
- Advice to Dog Groomers before starting the day:
- Clean the plate, emotionally, before connecting with a dog. Like coming home from work from a long, stressful day. You have to reset yourself before going inside to connect with the people we love and care about.
- Don’t make the dog we want to connect with a lightning rod for all your intense emotions.
- Dial into things that make the relationship so important and vital to our lives.
- Lose yourself in the moment of being close with the dog. As we mentioned earlier, when we run our fingers through their hair, or gaze into their eyes, or relate to them in certain ways that they like, we start to change at the biological level, psychological level, even at the social level!
For more information about Dr Chris Blazina and his book, When Man Meets Dog, please visit: http://www.chrisblazinaphd.com/