Study: Dogs Help Kids Learn Social & Emotional Skills

Thinking of getting a family pet? You may want to put the hamster on hold and consider man’s best friend. According to new research, dogs may help young kids learn how to develop their own friendships. Owning, walking, and playing with a family dog may encourage a preschooler’s social and emotional development, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Western Australia pulled data from 1,646 households with kids between two and five years old, looking at the little ones’ physical activity and social-emotional development. They found that tots from dog-owning families were 30% less likely to have conduct and peer problems compared to kids from families without dogs. Kiddos with dogs were also 23% less likely to struggle with their emotions and social interactions than kids who don’t have dogs.

And the area that has the biggest impact on children with dogs? Playtime. Kids who play with their dogs at least three times a week were 74% more likely to engage in prosocial behaviors, like sharing.

Study authors explain that dogs "can be social enablers and help teach children about responsibility through caring, training, and looking after their pet.”

Source: Mind Body Green

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