The Psychologist for October did a feature on animals this month and I particularly liked the research about dogs. I guess I am biased, as my daughter has a dog and my son has recently got one too. (I grew up with dogs, but cannot have one now as I am allergic). Also many of my clients say that some of their best times, when they are feeling depressed, are when they take their dog out for a walk. Anyway here are some of the summary points:
- Stroking a dog can lower your heart rate and blood pressure when you’re stressed.
- Taking a dog for a walk can facilitate social interaction with other dog walkers.
- They are very good at understanding human communication, including tone of voice and even the point of an arm.
- Like humans they sleep better when they have had an active day.
- They know that you can’t see them when you’re back is turned!
- They have evolved over 1000s of years alongside human beings and this is why they have some social and cognitive skills similar to a 3 year old human child.
- People living with Williams-Beuren syndrome have some similar genes to dogs, which results in them being extremely gregarious and treating everybody as their friend.