OWNING A DOG PRODUCES HAPPIER, HEALTHIER, MORE WELL-ADJUSTED CHILDREN.
REASON NUMBER TWO: Dogs help children to be more physically fit.
All dogs, regardless of breed, need to be walked. Children who take their dogs for regularly scheduled walks tend to exercise more than those who have no reason to get up off the couch and leave the TV. The Journal of Physical Activity and Health (2010) concluded that people who walk their dogs generally walk about an hour longer per day than non-dog walkers. In this age where more than one-third of children and adolescents in the United States are overweight or obese, exercise is no longer merely a choice of leisure activity, it is a necessity (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008).
What more pleasurable way for a child to exercise than to run and play with an adored dog? All dogs need exercise regardless of size, so children include dogs when they are running or playing casually–not just on regularly scheduled walks. One of the reasons that I suggest retrievers when parents ask about what kind of dog is best is simply the name. Of course, I grew up with retrievers and I love them, but even more than other dogs, they love to play ball. If you’ll throw it, they’ll retrieve it. The glorious thing about this fact is that they never seem to tire of the “game.” Even babies get excited and laugh and clap their hands when the dog runs after the ball and brings it back.
Be sure to read the remaining Ten Reasons To Own A Dog.