Pre-school children may be better behaved and kinder if they have a family dog, a study has found. Picture: PxFuel
Pre-school children may be better behaved and kinder if they have a family dog, a study has found. Picture: PxFuel

Children are kinder if they have pet dogs, study finds

By VICTORIA ALLEN Time of article published Jul 6, 2020

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London - Pre-school children may be better behaved and kinder if they have a family dog, a study has found.

Experts believe younger children, who spend more time with pets as they are not at school, learn better empathy.

Researchers at the University of Western Australia and Telethon Kids Institute looked at more than 1 600 families with children aged two to five.

Parents filled out a questionnaire which measured children’s antisocial behaviour, problems interacting with others and "prosocial" behaviours such as kindness and sharing.

Children from dog-owning households were 23 percent less likely to have difficulties with their emotions and social interactions compared to children who did not own a dog.

Playing with their pet three or more times a week made children 74 percent more likely to be kind to others.

Dr Hayley Christian, who led the study, said having a dog could benefit children’s development and wellbeing. She added: "This could be attributed to the attachment between children and their dogs."

Your dog may also have more in common with your child then you may think. A study, published in Biology Letters, confirms what many dog owners and dog professionals have long suspected: That dogs have a passing phase of reduced obedience towards their owners during puberty. 

The study also highlighted a fascinating interaction between puberty in dogs and the type of attachment the dog shows towards their owner.

All mammals (including humans and dogs) go through a period of change known as adolescence, when the child develops into an adult, both behaviourally and reproductively. 

Daily Mail/The Conversation

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