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Dogs help us to make friends, study reveals

10 assorted dog breeds sit on a bench
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A study commissioned by children’s TV channel Boomerang reveals the social magnetism of dog owners.

By Nick Whittle, 2 May 2019

As part of its promotion of a new mini-series the American pay television network commissioned a study of 2,000 dog owners in order to find out to what degree their outdoor sociability was improved by the presence of a dog.

The conclusions were cast-iron in their leaning. 54% of dog owners believed having a pet boosted their confidence and allowed them more easily to talk to strangers, and 50% met new people and made new friends while out walking their dogs. On average dog owners met four new people while, ‘out for walks or at puppy training classes,’ according to The Sun.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Furthermore, 25% of owners who participated in the study said their overall happiness was ‘enhanced’ and 30% admitted to, ‘arranging ‘play dates’ for themselves and their pooch’. 16% even admitted to having found love via walks with their dog.

Two-way street

It isn’t just us humans that are said to benefit from the interactions. Our dogs too make the most of the occasion. On average each dog in the study was thought to have three doggy friends.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Nick Jones, MA Dog Behaviourist said, ‘Dogs that mix nicely together can form strong bonds and learn a variety of social skills from each other that humans may find hard to spot or recognise.

Similarly, dogs are the perfect ice breaker to start conversations with people you might otherwise pass by and are proven to bring numerous health benefits along the way, such as improvements in mental and physical health, which this research has also shown.’

According to the study’s respondents, when their dogs met other doggy friends 60% were excited and 25% became livelier, more energetic and visibly happier.

The most usual places for dogs to meet other dogs (and the owners to meet other owners) were local parks and green spaces, on beach holidays or among walking groups.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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