New research out of the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) campus has proven that dog snuggles benefit everyone.
“The vast majority of responses [in the study] show that the dogs helped the students feel and experience something positive regardless of their gender,” said John-Tyler Binfet, Ph.D, Associate Professor in UBC Okanagan’s School of Education and Director of the program ‘Building Academic Retention through K9s’ (BARK).
The program explores the use of therapy dogs to improve wellness on UBCO campus and in the community.
Prior to the research by Binfet, the scientific community already knew that canine therapy helps to improve emotional and social well being. However, it was not yet clear whether or not a person’s gender played a role on the perceived impact and benefit of snuggling a pup.
Most research on canine therapy programs have been based on studies conducted on primarily female participants.
“This was one of the first studies that examined whether canine-assisted interventions work equally well for varied genders,”said Binfet.
For the study, students self-selected their gender cohort, reported their well being based on several metrics and were assigned to a session with a pooch.
Afterwards, the students filled out a survey. The results showed that there was a significant increase in general well being and a decrease in homesickness, stress and loneliness. They also proved that spending time with a dog benefits everyone across diverse gender identities.