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Study Finds Interaction with Dogs Eases Stress and Boosts Concentration

by Lisa

A recent study conducted by researchers from Konkuk University in South Korea has provided scientific evidence supporting what many dog owners already know: spending time with dogs can alleviate stress and improve concentration.

Published in Plos One, the study involved 30 adults who interacted with a friendly poodle named Aro while their brainwaves were monitored using electrode headsets. Participants engaged in eight activities with Aro, including meeting, walking, playing, feeding, hugging, massaging, and photographing, each for a duration of 3 minutes.

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The results revealed that different activities with Aro had varying effects on the participants’ mood and brain activity. Walking the dog and playing with her, particularly with a squeaky toy, induced stronger alpha brain waves associated with relaxation. Meanwhile, brushing and massaging Aro resulted in increased beta brain waves linked to improved concentration.

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Additionally, participants reported feeling less stressed and depressed after each activity with Aro, with hugging the dog yielding particularly positive effects on their mood.

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The study authors emphasized that these findings demonstrate how specific interactions with dogs can enhance relaxation, emotional stability, attention, concentration, and creativity by stimulating increased brain activity.

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This study adds to a growing body of research highlighting the mental health benefits of spending time with dogs. A previous study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology in 2022 found that just 20 minutes of interaction with an animal can lower cortisol levels, the stress hormone, and increase oxytocin levels, associated with feelings of love and bonding. Another study suggested that dog owners over the age of 45 are 40% less likely to develop dementia, further underscoring the positive impact of canine companionship on human well-being.

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