Four ways dogs enhance self-esteem

Four ways dogs enhance self-esteem

Four ways dogs enhance self-esteem


They're playful, loving, furry and adorable. What is there not to like about dogs? They provide the best company and provide blissful solace from the human world. Beyond these mood-elevating contributions, they are utilitarian. I am not speaking of the service they provide to the physically impaired or their helpfulness to farmers. The kind of help dogs provide to their owners goes beyond the tangible.

Indeed, dogs have been shown to boost their owners' emotional health and longevity. They also make you feel better and enhance your self esteem. Self-esteem is a global evaluation of the self. While the word suggests that is derives from within, it is actually learned from social messages. Most people internalize the beliefs of family, friends and institutions that he or she has frequent contact with. These beliefs then become the foundation for self-esteem.

Low self-esteem not only hinders productivity and personal growth, but it can be painful. Therapies for this issue abound, yet owning a dog is arguably the simplest and most rewarding alternative. Here are 4 ways a dog can boost our self-esteem.

Unconditional love

Part of self-esteem depends on how loved and accepted one feels. People with low self-esteem may lack emotional support and positive affirmation from their peers. This is one aspect of social support that a dogs can remedy. Dogs give unconditional love to their owners. All owners have to do is be there and give love to their pets and they will surely receive it.


People with low self-esteem also tend to feel insignificant in their world. Having a pet that depends on them for survival directly remedies that feeling. In knowing that they are relied on as caretaker, owners feel a sense of responsibility. They know that they are indispensable to their beloved dog, which enhances their sense of importance. 


Providing love, physical care and companionship is a surefire way to combat emotional turmoil. That gratification is an inherent aspect of being a dog owner. A good owner is generous with his or her time, resources and affection, all of which make you feel great and help self-esteem.


Studies show that children who own pets develop more empathy than their peers. This finding is not surprising, given that they have to be attuned to their animal's needs, emotional and otherwise, and respond in kind. Those skills can then be applied in social settings, but also with themselves. Exercising compassion toward the self and others helps erase false negative beliefs that are damaging to the self concept.

Owning a dog is a role that entails many benefits for emotional health and self-esteem. With unconditional love, and feeling indispensable, generous and empathetic, owners learn to internalize positive messages about themselves. Those benefits also enhance self-esteem, with ripples of positive change in life as a whole.


Article written by Melissa Beaulieu.


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