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Having a dog is great – for your social life

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Having a dog is good for your social life, adding an average of three friends to your social circle, according to new research. The findings emerged from a detailed study carried out among 1500 dog owners, which discovered sharing casual greetings, anecdotes and tips on canine care on the daily walk opens new doors socially.

The survey, conducted to mark the release of The Snowman and the Snowdog on DVD and Blu-Ray, showed that for more than 60% their pooch has introduced up to five new friends.

For one in twenty dog owners their pooches have led them to befriend more than 10 people they would not have met had it not been for their four legged friends.

On a typical stroll the average dog walker passes the time of day with four people – two of which were classed as good friends – and each time they stop for an eight minute chat, often discussing their dog’s ailments, eating habits and even their grooming routine.

The study also found two thirds of dog owners said they have met more people as a result of getting a dog, with walks and puppy training the most popular places to strike up a friendship.

A quarter said they only really mix with ‘doggy people’, and over half said dog lovers had a special ‘connection’, with 42% admitting they were suspicious of adults that didn’t own a pet pooch.

Psychologist Dr David Lewis has also carried out research which supports the new findings:

“My studies suggest that dogs provide a perfect excuse for conversing with strangers and that owning a dog can prove especially beneficial for anyone whose social anxiety usually makes it hard to strike up a conversation with new people.

“Firstly, they offer an easy starting point for friendly chats as owners exchange compliments about one another’s pets, secondly, they help create an immediate bond between strangers as shared experiences encourage rapport, and finally, a dog provides, even at a distance, insight into its owner’s personality, meaning any subsequent conversation tends to be more relaxed and natural.

“My studies reveal many friendships, and even a few lifetime romances only started because two owners stopped to chat about their pooches.”

The survey also found that six in ten respondents see the same people day after day on their dog walks, and on average have been bumping in to them for nearly four years.

The results showed a third of those have developed a firm friendship over the years and of those, 67% regularly pop in each other’s homes, with one in third also relies on their doggy mates to babysit their pooch if needs be.