Having a ruff day? Study says spending time with dogs can help

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In a caller study published successful PLoS ONE, researchers examined really interacting pinch dogs affects nan emotions and psychophysiology of humans utilizing an electroencephalogram (EEG).

Their results bespeak that group are importantly little stressed erstwhile they interact pinch dogs, pinch circumstantial activities showing associations pinch heightened affectional stability, relaxation, creativity, concentration, and attention.

 4 PM production/Shutterstock.comStudy: Psychophysiological and affectional effects of human–Dog interactions by activity type: An electroencephalogram study. Image Credit: 4 PM production/Shutterstock.com


Since nan domestication of dogs much than 30,000 years ago, they person been humans’ changeless companions, providing invaluable assistance for herding livestock, guarding group and property, hunting, and moving successful galore different domains.

The affectional and physiological benefits of interacting pinch animals, peculiarly dogs, are now well-known, arsenic they trim levels of cortisol and, thus, behavioral distress, anxiety, and accent reactivity and amended intelligence and cardiovascular health.

This has led to nan usage of animal-assisted interventions (AAI) and animal-assisted activities (AAA) for various domains specified arsenic societal work, education, and health.

However, nan effects of these interventions person usually been assessed utilizing before-after aliases experiment-control comparisons, and grounds connected nan underlying mechanisms, specified arsenic changes successful encephalon activity, is lacking.

About nan study

In this study, researchers investigated people's psychophysiological responses while interacting pinch dogs done various activities.

Participants were recruited from an animal grooming academy and pet salons successful South Korea, excluding those pinch cynophobia aliases canine allergies and a aesculapian history of conditions for illustration unstable angina, precocious humor pressure, bosom surgery, bosom attack, aliases psychopathological disease.

Individuals receiving medicine for these conditions aliases pregnant aliases lactating were besides excluded. During nan study, participants avoided stimulants and did not portion caffeinated beverages aliases smoke.

The canine they interacted pinch was a four-year-old female poodle who had been trained successful aggression, sociability, manners, and basal obedience. She was patient and vaccinated, and a master handler was disposable to guarantee her safety.

Participants engaged successful 8 activities successful a azygous session: meeting, walking, hugging, photography, grooming, massage, feeding, and play. These activities were chosen to prioritize nonstop interactions and return spot complete an hour.

Their responses were measured utilizing EEGs for 3 minutes during each activity, while their affectional responses were assessed utilizing self-reported temper questionnaires specified arsenic nan Stress Numeric Rating Scale (Stress NRS), nan Profile of Mood State (POMS), and nan Semantic Differential Method (SDM). Demographic accusation for illustration weight, height, sex, and property were besides collected.

The collected information were analyzed utilizing descriptive statistics, one-way study of variance (ANOVA), statistical testing, and Duncan’s post-hoc analysis.


The study included 30 individuals, of whom 15 were antheral and 15 were female, and they were 27.9 years aged connected average.

Results from nan EEG study showed that playing pinch nan canine importantly accrued activity successful some frontal lobes and nan near prefrontal lobe.

Walking besides boosted activity successful some prefrontal lobes. Playing correlated pinch heightened activation successful some frontal lobes, while stepping specifically activated nan correct prefrontal lobe.

Massage and grooming activities are elevated successful nan prefrontal and near frontal lobes. Massage besides activated nan correct frontal lobe. However, nary important differences were recovered crossed activities successful nan parietal and occipital lobes.

Playing pinch nan canine showed accordant activation successful aggregate encephalon regions, including those associated pinch focused attention, meditative states, and cognitive and sensory processing areas.

The subjective reports of affectional states were analyzed crossed six categories, namely depression-dejection, fatigue, tension-anxiety, confusion, vigor, and anger-hostility.

Individuals reported little levels of depression, fatigue, and accent during AAAs than they did while resting. They besides knowledgeable much vigor erstwhile they engaged successful feeding, relaxed erstwhile they engaged successful massaging nan dog, and comfortable erstwhile they walked her.

Participants knowledgeable much affirmative temper states erstwhile they hugged, massaged, aliases fed her.


The findings from this study, which included some pet owners and those without pets, support nan usage of AAI for accent guidance and affectional relaxation, pinch different activities eliciting different brainwave reactions.

Responses successful nan prefrontal lobe are important arsenic this region plays important roles successful regulating memory, language, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive functioning while nan parietal lobe is basal for perceiving stimuli, centrifugal usability control, spatial predisposition comprehension, and sensory accusation integration.

In summation to nan constricted sample size, different imaginable limitation of this study is that participants successful AAI are much apt to beryllium those who are not acrophobic of animals and bask being pinch them.

People without a pre-existing fondness for animals are apt to respond very otherwise to AAA, and this quality could lead to a action bias successful nan findings.

Further studies are needed to validate these findings and shed much ray connected nan mechanisms that make interacting pinch dogs and different animals truthful beneficial for humans.

Journal reference:

  • Yoo, O., Wu, Y., Han, J.S., Park, S. (2024) Psychophysiological and affectional effects of human-dog interactions by activity type: an electroencephalogram study. PLoS ONE. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0298384.https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0298384