Dog tales: mindful dog interactions evoke similar experiences to dog assisted mindfulness meditations

Oliva, Jessica, and Green, Tim Robert (2021) Dog tales: mindful dog interactions evoke similar experiences to dog assisted mindfulness meditations. Animals, 11 (7). 104.

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Abstract

Stay-at-home regulations in response to COVID-19 have put humans at increased risk of loneliness. Some studies support dog ownership as a protection against loneliness, while other studies have suggested the lockdowns can be used to reflect upon the similar restrictions owners impose on their pets on a daily basis. This study evaluated two novel ways to enrich the lives of pet dogs in the home, while also providing benefits to owners. It was hypothesized that a six-week Dog Assisted Mindfulness (DAM) intervention and a Dog Interactions (DI) intervention would positively impact owner-rated loneliness, mindfulness, and owner–dog emotional attachment, compared to a control group. Seventy-three participants were randomly assigned to each group. Mixed methods ANOVAs found no significant main effects of group, nor any group × time interaction effects. Qualitative analyses revealed common experiences among participants in the two active interventions, including enhanced owner–dog connection, and feelings of relaxation, happiness and engagement both during and after participating in the weekly activities. There was also an added benefit of ‘dog happiness’ in the interactions group. Future studies should investigate this in a more objective manner and in the meantime, regular owner–dog interactions should be encouraged, especially during times of extended lockdown.

Item ID: 68725
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2076-2615
Copyright Information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2021 23:44
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5201 Applied and developmental psychology > 520199 Applied and developmental psychology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310301 Behavioural ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology @ 50%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 50%
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