Owning a dog can be an exciting adventure as well as a learning process. Pets can be a great source of comfort and motivation. A lot of dog owners would agree that their quality of life is better by having a dog as a pet. Many dog owners are aware of the immediate joys and benefits that their furry friend brings them. But one wonders what is there that having a dog can provide; other than offering love, companionship and entertainment?
An increase in exercise
If you own a dog, you are bound to remain active, without even mindfully having to think about it. Whether it’s going out on a walk or simply just playing with your dog; it keeps one’s body moving and is a source of additional exercise. Getting a dog also helps to curb excuses people might have for not exercising. Dog owners would know when their pet leaps into the bed, that they do not have much choice but to get up and go out.
For the dog, going out on daily walks, or runs is essential, and when owners accompany them, they’re likely to pack in a walk or run as well which can be quite helpful, especially if the owner doesn’t feel like exercising themselves, which could be a fun way to pack it into the routine.
Enhance empathy in children
Owning a dog can assist with increasing and developing empathy amongst children. Studies suggest that having a pet makes a significant difference in children’s emotional, social, general well-being and quality of life. It has also been seen that dogs might help children to regulate their emotions. Children who are emotionally attached to their dogs are more likely to build better relationships with other people. Children that are raised with dogs develop understanding easily; they can speak to their pets without any fears and additionally it helps increase their vocabulary as well.
Children are inherently focused on themselves and their immediate needs, therefore having a dog to take care of can help them to focus on the needs of others around them. It could be as simple as filling the water bowl, but knowing and understanding that the dog needs water; attending to it can help enhance empathy and give the child a sense of responsibility.
Improvement of social life
It may not be unknown that pets can help their owners meet new people. When owners go out to take their dogs for a walk, it’s inevitable that they might end up striking a conversation with another dog owner. Generally when walking outside with the dog, approaching a stranger and speaking with them is not highly likely, however, as a dog owner, if someone is walking with their dog, chances are that they might go ahead and pat the other persons’ dog and show affection.
There are many places that are dog-friendly, such as beaches and campsites, where dog owners can have many opportunities to meet like-minded people who would be there with their pets. Some studies have also suggested that having a dog can increase the likelihood of a relationship with a partner, as social interaction tends to be higher when one of them has a dog.
It is natural to think that perhaps getting a dog is a one-side responsibility and the pet might be demanding, however that is not the case. Though it may look like people are only taking care of their pet, the dog equally takes care of the owner in many wondrous ways.
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Mahnoor Nadeem is a student of Masters in Clinical and Health Psychology in Lithuania and a Trainee Psychologist at Willingness. She enjoys working with children and adolescents and also exploring topics such as health psychology, family therapy and sexual health.
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