Playing with dogs can increase concentration, study finds

ATP 500 Rio de Janeiro 2023
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Defeating daily distractions is a skill people work on daily. There are numerous ways to improve your concentration in your work, school or personal life, but a recent study found that your dog could help you reach that goal, too. It all depends on the activities you do together. Check out the research proving how playing with dogs increases a person’s concentration to learn more about the results.

Do People Need Help With Their Concentration?

When you picture someone trying to maintain their focus, you might imagine a few different scenarios. Maybe it’s someone with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) listening to a meeting or a person trying to study while notifications ping on their phone. The truth is that everyone would benefit from improved concentration in any setting.

Research shows that a person’s attention span peaks at 76.24 seconds during young adulthood before steadily decreasing as they get older. Finding new ways to improve your focus could make it easier to maintain your concentration much longer than that. If you’re ready to refine your ability to stay on task, it’s time to hang out with your pup.

What the Study Found About How Playing With Dogs Increases Concentration

The recent data about playing with dogs comes from a PLOS One study led by a group of Bio and Healing Convergence experts. It tracked the emotional and psychophysiological responses of people who performed various activities with a dog for short periods. The three-minute rounds included activities like:

  • Walking
  • Feeding
  • Grooming
  • Playing
  • Photographing

After 30 participants completed the activities while wearing brain wave detectors, the data indicated that the dog-centric activities put everyone’s brains in a relaxed state before improving their focus without additional stress. If you’ve ever walked away from your pup and felt calmer or collected, this research indicates why that wasn’t all just in your mind.

Playing with the study’s dog boosted each participant’s concentration and relaxation the most. The next time you need to use all your concentration to study, join a virtual meeting or complete a challenging task, try playing with your dog and their favorite toy to hone your focusing skills.

Other Notable Findings in the Study

There are several other reasons why this study is important for dog owners. Sometimes, people think they have to complete complicated tasks to improve their mental health. While doing things like joining a yoga class or learning to meditate might benefit specific goals, this study shows that your four-legged best friend might be all you need. Giving them some of your attention results in more focus on whatever you need to accomplish afterward.

You can even use what you already have at home. The participants used standard dog toys to pass the time with the study’s pup, which you likely already have around your home. It’s good news for anyone on a budget and dog owners who feel like they’ve already bought every potential toy for their beloved pups.

Dogs also improve your mental health by effectively reducing stress. The PLOS study showed how things like walking the dog lowered each participant’s stress levels. The daily exercise combined with their constant presence reduces a person’s anxiety, soothing their nervous system so their mental health improves.

Additionally, this study might relieve some of your stress because it prioritized the everyday habits of pet owners. You don’t need to overhaul your daily routine to boost your attention span. Playing with your dog, taking pictures of them, snuggling and walking your pup are likely already part of your day if you’re a dog parent. Don’t stress about adding more to their schedules if they want to increase their concentration.

Mood regulation is another benefit of honing your concentration by spending more time playing with dogs. The activities in the PLOS study reduced each participant’s anxiety. Anxiety may contribute to moods like irritation or anger, making your pup a great resource for improving your emotions during challenging moments.

Remember, when you’re spending extra time with your pup to increase your concentration, you’re also helping them. Dogs feel anxiety similarly to humans because their brains produce the same chemicals that cause stress and worry. You’ll ease your dog’s mind by devoting a few minutes to them throughout the day, improving your quality of life together.

Enjoy More Time With Your Dog

The next time you see your pup staring up at you with their big, beautiful eyes, give them a few pets and grab their favorite toy. Spending just a few minutes playing with them, petting them or caring for their needs will improve your concentration. It might feel funny to schedule daily breaks for playing with dogs, but it’s a proven way to hone your focus.

Next. Brain scans show similar activity in anxious dogs and humans. Brain scans show similar activity in anxious dogs and humans. dark