Young children who come from dog-owning households and regularly go on family dog walks, or actively play with their dogs, are better behaved than their peers who grew up without a dog, a new study has found.
The study, from the University of Western Australia and the Telethon Kids Institute, notes that kids aged 2 through 5 who had dogs “had a reduced likelihood of conduct and peer problems, as well as increased pro-social behaviors such as sharing and cooperating.”
Further, the positive effects of growing up with a dog increased the more the children walked or played with their family dog.
According to the study, which surveyed 1,646 parents, children from dog-owning households were 30 to 40 percent less likely to have conduct or peer problems. They also had 23 percent fewer total difficulties and were 34 percent more likely to have prosocial behaviors than children without dogs.
Walking the dog as a family at least once per week and actively playing with the family dog three or more times per week increased the likelihood of preschoolers’ prosocial behavior by up to 74 percent, and reduced total difficulties by 36 percent.
I think we have always known this, at least intuitively. Walking the dog, playing, feeding, cleaning up, and grooming are all part of this huge responsibility.
I have already written about the rise of bicycle riding and bicycle ownership during the pandemic. Everybody seems to be riding a bicycle these days. My only concern is that not enough adults are wearing helmets or regular shoes. And if you pull an old bicycle out of storage, please have it serviced!
From the AP:
Fitness junkies locked out of gyms, commuters fearful of public transit, and families going stir crazy inside their homes during the coronavirus pandemic have created a boom in bicycle sales unseen in decades.
In the United States, bicycle aisles at mass merchandisers like Walmart and Target have been swept clean, and independent shops are doing a brisk business and are selling out of affordable “family” bikes.
Bicycle sales over the past two months saw their biggest spike in the U.S. since the oil crisis of the 1970s, said Jay Townley, who analyzes cycling industry trends at Human Powered Solutions.