Every dogowner already knows it, but now there is official scientific proof: a dog makes a home a happier place and is good for your child, improving their social skills and instilling a sense of responsibility.

Researchers in Spain compared children whose families owned a pet compared with those who did not.

Psychologists wanted to look at the social and emotional impact of owning a dog on youngsters.

The main conclusion was that having a dog at home improved young children’s social and emotional development, according to the study by the University of Romeva Virgili in Tarragona, northeastern Spain.

“Social-emotional development in childhood is the ability to develop the social tools necessary to have close and safe relationships with adults and with other children,” the researchers found.

Children whose families had dogs as pets were able to express their feelings more easily and interact better with other children and adults.

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Olivia and Rufus. Photo: Fiona Govan

Children gain confidence from having a pet in the family, experts said.

“Dogs reinforce the security and self-confidence of children because pets do not laugh at how they do things or if they are wrong,” Maria Pifarré, a veterinarian, told La Vanguardia newspaper.

They examined 120 children aged between three and five.


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