Golden-Retriever-1  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:

  1. Stroking a dog can lower your heart rate and blood pressure when you’re stressed.
  2. Taking a dog for a walk can facilitate social interaction with other dog walkers.
  3. They are very good at understanding human communication, including tone of voice and even the point of an arm.
  4. Like humans they sleep better when they have had an active day.
  5. They know that you can’t see them when your back is turned!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.