(Unsplash)

Is a pet dog good for your baby? UBC looks to find out

Researchers think that having Fido around might just be a good thing

Does growing up with Fidos make for healthier babies?

Maybe – at least according to a group of researchers from the University of B.C.

Postdoctoral fellow Nicole Sugden and Professor Janet Werker are looking for families with babies between the ages of two and six months to conduct a one-hour experiment.

Sugden said that although studies have shown that having a dog improves adults and children’s social skills and their health, no one has looked if the effect stretches to babies.

“Does having a family dog change infants’ brain response to language or boost their ability to understand an adult?” Sugden asked.

“We’re hoping to find out how having a dog influences infants’ early development.”

Sugden believes there’s a few reasons why having a dog around might benefit a baby.

The type of “baby talk” often used with pets is, as the name suggest, similar to how people interact with young babies, Sugden said.

Researchers believe that babies seeing that will notice the similarities and be more primed for interaction.

“Secondly, dogs can be very responsive social partners and babies are highly sensitive to interactive social partners,” Sugden said.

“And thirdly, we have co-evolved with dogs for over 10,000 years. This special evolutionary relationship with dogs suggests that we, they, or both of us may have evolved to benefit each other.”

The study consists of a one-hour appointment at the UBC Infant Studies Centre.

Researchers will outfit the babies with a stretchy cap that used LED lights to measure brain activity. The device will use near-infrared spectroscopy see if babies with or without pet dogs show a more flexible brain response to human speech and dog barks.

The, Sugden said, researchers will point or look at toys and see if the babies follow along.

“We expect babies with dogs will show a more flexible brain response and more point and gaze following,” she said.

Families with and without pet dogs are welcome and once the little ones complete the study, they receive their first piece of university memorabilia: an honorary UBC Bachelor’s in Infant Science and a little baby scientist t-shirt.

Those interested in taking part can sign up online, call 604-822-6408 or email at infants@psych.ubc.ca.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Muheim class repeats 2017 award for interaction with seniors

Liliana Pesce’s Grade 4-5 class honoured by BC Retired Teachers Association

Bulkley Valley U14 boys soccer squad wins zones

The Rapids will now proceed to provincial championship in Prince George July 4-5

Donaldson announces seal coating for portions of Hwy 16, Kispiox

Two sections of road in the Bulkley Valley have had their fate sealed.

Smithers man receives two-year sentence for fatal car crash

Over a year after a fatal crash, a Smithers man has been sentenced to two years plus a day in jail.

VIDEO: First Nations, developer call for return and protection of sacred B.C. burial site

Dozens of First Nations leaders gather on grassy plateau to call on action by provincial government

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

Teen stabbed after end-of-night limo dispute in downtown Vancouver

A young man, 19, is in serious condition following a dispute between two groups

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Most Read