The first time I heard one of my clients refer to his dog as a ‘chick magnet’, it surprised me. But the more I thought about it, the more I agreed. When I am walking, I am naturally attracted to people with pets. The pet is an ice breaker, a conversation starter for people who don’t know each other.
In 2000, Dr. June McNicholas and Dr. Glyn Collis carried out a study to determine if dogs are indeed, chick magnets. In the first phase of their study, they had a male test subject walk alone and with a highly trained therapy dog who would not solicit attention through a park and measured the number of social interactions. Of course, the number of social interactions were the greatest when the dog was present. In the second phase, they used a new male test subject and changed his appearance from well dressed to scruffy and measured the number of social interactions he received with and without the dog. Again, the test subject received the most social interaction when the dog was present irrespective of his dress. The scientists concluded that dogs are a great catalyst for human social interaction.
People share an innate connection with animals. Simply being around an animal will lower our stress and improve our mood. Scientists call this ‘the human-animal bond.’ My next series of blog posts will focus on this wonderful relationship. In the meantime, please enjoy the picture posted below of Paul with two adorable chick magnets, Sasha and Captain!
-McNicolas, J. and Collis, G. ‘Dogs as catalysts for social interactions: Robustness of the effect.‘ British Journal of Psychology (2000), 91, 61-70.