Growing up with a dog is wonderful. Although everyone knows that a dog is not a human, that it cannot replace human contact and that you should not treat a dog like a child, dogs do have human traits.
Indeed, sometimes they look like little people. This is probably why dogs and children get along so well: for a child, growing up with a dog is a real enrichment.
Dogs take you exactly as you are. Even if you are not very strong, athletic, beautiful or popular: your dog thinks you are absolutely wonderful.
For children, the company and unconditional love of a dog can do wonderful things. For their self-confidence, their sense of responsibility and their self-esteem.
Dogs have no expectations, exert no pressure. From a dog, you don’t have to get an A in a test, or wear the right sneakers.
To a dog, you just have to ‘be’. That has a calming and comforting effect.
If you have a dog, you easily connect with fellow dog lovers and may feel less lonely. Talking about your dog, sharing experiences, telling funny stories about him or laughing at his antics: this makes us humans happy.
Besides the fact that it is wonderful to grow up with a dog, it is scientifically proven that keeping dogs is healthy:
* Exercising: it seems a bit of an open door, but of course it is healthy to walk and play with your dog. Physical exercise: this benefits both child and dog.
* Petting calms: Several scientific studies have shown that petting or kissing a dog releases the hormone oxytocin. This reduces feelings of stress and anxiety. Recent research also showed that not only the human who is petting produces oxytocin, the same goes for the dog being petted. This does increase the likelihood of the dog forming a bond with the human.
* Immune system: Dutch and German research has shown that frequent contact with animals has a positive effect on the immune system. The researchers found that children who grow up on a farm suffer significantly less from allergies and asthma than children who spend their childhood in a more sterile environment.
* Happier with an animal: Research by the American Psychological Association shows that people with pets feel happier and are healthier than those without. Pets are found to actually provide comfort and are also good for human health.
Source: houden van honden.