Impacts of Dog Ownership and Attachment on Total and Dog-related Physical Activity in Germany

Hielscher, Benedikt1,2, Ganslosser, Udo2, and Froboese, Ingo1

1Institute of Health Promotion and Clinical Movement Science,
German Sport University Cologne
2Institute of Zoology and Evolutionary Research with Phyletic Museum,
Friedrich Schiller University Jena

Dog ownership is related to physical activity. There could, however, be variances in the strength of this relationship between different cultures. The objective of the present study was to investigate activity behavior in dog owners (DOs) in Ger-many. Further, the association between dog ownership, attachment and physical activity was examined. Total physical activity, dog walking, and other dog-related activities were investigated using an online survey that was promoted in several social media groups. A German physical activity questionnaire (BSA-F) and the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale (LAPS) were used. DOs display higher levels of total physical activity, total walking, and other physical activities than non-dog owners (nDOs). Several other dog-related activities were reported by DOs. The most prominent were retrieve work, ball games and agility. Attachment to one’s dogs was not related to total physical activity. However, attachment correlated with higher levels of time spent in dog-related physical activity and dog walking. It can be concluded that, in a German population, DOs are more physically active than nDOs. Attachment seems to correlate with type, but not quantity, of exercise in dog enthusiasts. Several dog-related activities were reported but information about them is still very limited. Therefore, future studies are needed to focus on the in-tensity and occurrence of these activities in a representative population of DOs in Germany.
Keywords: dog ownership, physical activity, dog walking, attachment
The authors would like to thank the German Kennel Association for publishing the link on their social media pages.
Additionally, the authors would like to thank Shay Hicks and Dr. James A. Serpell for proofreading this manuscript and for providing helpful comments.
No conflict of interest exists and the authors wish to stress that no financial, nor any other form of support beyond that mentioned here was given to this study by any organization.

Click here to read the full article.

Posted in Pre-Publication Articles