How can having a dog help me become more social?

Having a dog usually gets people out walking in places they may not have walked before such as a park.  While on your walk, you will almost always encounter someone else along the way.  Invariably they will inquire as to the breed, comment on "how cute" your dog is, ask his or her name, etc.  This provides the opportunity to continue the conversation and start to become more at ease talking to people.

walking, exercise, outdoors, healthy, calories, burn calories, wellness, health partner, trainer, family, dog, walking dog
Dawn Marcus
Having a dog is a great way to increase your sphere of social interactions. In a study at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, psychologists monitored the number of social interactions in people if they were alone or accompanied by a dog. People in the study were paired up with guide dogs trained to be inconspicuous and to avoid soliciting attention from others. People were encouraged to include dogs with their daily routine, such as taking their children to school, going to work at a university that permitted dogs, and riding public transportation. When a dog accompanied the person, there were over three times as many social encounters during these routine activities as when the person's routine was conducted with no dog. People had one-third more encounters with friends when they had a dog, with over twice as many encounters with acquaintances and over twenty times more encounters with strangers. Just having a dog at your side, therefore, widens your sphere of these important social interactions.
Fit As Fido: Follow Your Dog to Better Health

More About this Book

Fit As Fido: Follow Your Dog to Better Health

Let your dog teach you to live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life! Companionship with your pet can be used as a means and a motivator to increase your own physical and mental fitness....

Continue Learning about Social Anxiety Disorders

Can children have social anxiety disorders?
Dr. Tamar ChanskyDr. Tamar Chansky
The short answer is: yes. Many children may have a shy or what is preferably referred to as a "slow ...
More Answers
What are the symptoms of social anxiety disorders?
David Tolin, PhDDavid Tolin, PhD
Social anxiety disorder (also called social phobia), is an excessive fear of social or performance s...
More Answers
How common are social anxiety disorders?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Social anxiety disorders are very common mental illnesses. It is believed that 15 million adults suf...
More Answers
Dr. Tamar Chansky - What are social anxiety disorders?
Dr. Tamar Chansky - What are social anxiety disorders?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.