To make new friends, walk the dog

To make new friends, walk the dog

Dog-walking is one of the top five ways to meet new people, according to research at The University of Western Australia.

UWA's Associate Professor Lisa Wood is lead author of a study in which 2700 adults in Perth and three US cities were surveyed about the role pets play in improving and connecting communities.

Associate Professor Wood and Assistant Professor Hayley Christian presented the research in Chicago last week at the triennial conference of the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organisations.

"We found that more pet owners than non-pet owners got to know new people since moving to their current ," Associate Professor Wood said.  "And of the who had got to know people in their neighbourhood because of their pet, more than half considered one or more of the people they met to be friends."

The research also looked more specifically at the benefits of dog-walking, which included an increase in physical activity and an improvement in people's perceptions of neighbourhood safety.

"The findings provide further evidence of the personal and collective benefits of dog-walking," said UWA's Assistant Professor Hayley Christian, who was one of the study co-authors.

Not only can dog-walking be an important strategy for increasing people's - with 30 minutes per day of being the commonly accepted guideline for - but people who walked their dog also had a stronger sense of community and a more positive perception of how safe their neighbourhood was for walking, Assistant Professor Christian said.

The research was supported by funding from pet food company WALTHAM and confectionary firm Mars, and is the first international/cross-country study to look at the broader ripple effect of pets in the community.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Owning a dog encourages exercise in pregnant women

Feb 15, 2012

The study of more than 11,000 pregnant women, in partnership with Mars Petcare, showed that those who owned dogs were approximately 50% more likely to achieve the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day through high levels ...

Recommended for you

The hunt for botanicals

18 hours ago

Herbal medicine can be a double-edged sword and should be more rigorously investigated for both its beneficial and harmful effects, say researchers writing in a special supplement of Science.

Mozambique decriminalises abortion to stem maternal deaths

19 hours ago

Mozambique has passed a law permitting women to terminate unwanted pregnancies under specified conditions, a move hailed by activists in a country where clandestine abortions account for a large number of maternal deaths.

Infertility, surrogacy in India

19 hours ago

Infertility is a growing problem worldwide. A World Health Organization report estimates that 60-to-80 million couples worldwide currently suffer from infertility.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.