Topics in Exercise Science and Kinesiology Volume 2: Issue 1, Article 3, 2021. Background: Walking unfamiliar dogs, such as therapy dogs, has been shown to improve physiological exercise responses and exercise adherence, but whether walking a companion dog results in superior benefits is currently unknown. The purpose of the current pilot field study was to elucidate preliminary evidence of how walking an unfamiliar or companion dog influences mood, exercise enjoyment, and heart rate during a 1.5-mile walk. Methods: Participants (n=8) walked 1.5-miles at their own pace with an unfamiliar or companion dog while mood, exercise enjoyment, and heart rate were measured. Point of application #1: Walking an unfamiliar dog resulted in improved pre- to post- exercise mood changes compared to walking their own companion dog. Point of application #2: Enjoyment of exercise was higher while walking the unfamiliar dog compared to the companion dog. Point of application #3: Mean exercise heart rate was significantly higher while walking the unfamiliar versus companion dog although time to completion of the 1.5-miles was unaffected.
Covington, Anna C.; Rogers, Rebecca R.; Kopec, Thomas J.; and Ballmann, Christopher G.
"The Effect of Walking an Unfamiliar Versus Companion Dog on Mood, Exercise Enjoyment, and Heart Rate: A Pilot Field Study,"
Topics in Exercise Science and Kinesiology: Vol. 2
, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/scholarship_kin/vol2/iss1/3