Ellen Britt for CNT #wooftips
According to a study published in the journal Pediatric Research, preschoolers who have regular interaction with a family dog in the form of playing with the dog and accompanying the family on walks with the dog, see gains in social and emotional development.
These toddlers were thirty percent less likely to have problems with their conduct and difficulties interacting with other children compared to toddlers who live in families who did not have a dog.
The interesting thing about this study is that most of the research on the benefits of people having dogs come from participants who were adolescents to adults. Children at the toddler stage, whose brain frontal lobes (which regulate emotional control) are not fully developed, were thought to not have the capacity to fully interact with a dog. But this study clearly shows this is not the case.
A Note Of Caution
Even so, with families who have a toddler and are thinking about getting a dog, be sure to choose a breed that does well with children and also think about the extra responsibility you are going to have to take on as the dog’s primary caretaker. And it goes without saying: never, ever leave a small child unattended with a dog, no matter how much you trust the dog!
By Ellen Britt
Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.