(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

Nanaimo Heritage Festival helps highlight the long weekend

Parade and family activities took place downtown today, May 19

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

Crews putting out one of the first wildfires of the season in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Fire Rescue, B.C. Wildfire Service called to Doumont Road fire

Nanaimo ferry stops to let bear swim past

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Say no to plastic straws

Straws make drinking frappuccinos easier, but they kill sea creatures, says letter writer

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

RDN looking into providing bus service 365 days a year

RDN transit committee to consider adding bus service on Christmas, New Year’s and Good Friday

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Wheelchair basketball in Nanaimo accessible to all abilities

Harbour City Slam play day introduced newcomers to the sport

Speed limit lowered at Departure Bay Beach

Speed limit reduced to 40 km/h until the fall

District of Lantzville making changes around how it spends surplus money

Changes would ‘hamstring’ council’s ability to manage money, argues councillor

Nanaimo outdoor enthusiasts petitioning as military cracks down on trespassers

Canadian Forces announces it is enforcing the boundaries of its weapons range on Westwood Ridges

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

Most Read