New Study Finds Playing With Dogs Relieves Stress And Helps People Concentrate

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A lot of studies have proven the positive impact dogs have in our lives — they make us happy, they help us stay healthy and fit, and even the mere act of petting them boosts our brain activity.

And on Wednesday, March 13, a new study published by researchers in South Korea found that playing with dogs helps people stay focused and relaxed.

In the study, researchers measured the brain activities of 30 adult participants. They made the participants wear brainwave-detecting headsets during eight different activities with a four-year-old Poodle named Aro.

The activities with the dog included meeting, playing, feeding, massaging, grooming, photographing, hugging, and walking for three minutes.

The results found that walking a dog made people more relaxed. And grooming and massaging the dog improved the participants concentration without stress.

Meanwhile, playing with the dog positively improved both the brain’s relaxation and concentration.

While these activities yielded different positive results, the researchers pointed out that all of the participants showed significantly lower stress moods during all eight activities.

Participant Doing All Eight Activities With A Poodle
Photo Courtesy of Onyoo Yoo et al., 2024, PLOS ONE, CC-BY 4.0

In an email to NBC News, Onyoo Yoo, one of the study’s author from Konkuk University, said “Previous studies of the potential benefits of animal interactions often take a holistic approach, comparing people’s mood or hormone levels before and after spending time with a dog.”

“It is a significant finding that engaging in certain activities with dogs can increase specific brain activity,” he added.

The researchers also emphasized that there are certain activities with dogs that activate our relaxation, emotional stability, attention, concentration, and creativity.

“Our study demonstrates that animal interaction activities, such as playing, walking, massaging, and grooming dogs, have a positive effect by facilitating increased brain activity in healthy participants,” the researchers wrote.

Furthermore, the results of the new study revealed that interactions with dogs can definitely decrease stress and increase positive emotional responses.

These findings further support other studies about the positive effect of dogs in our mental and physical well-being.

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