Puppy love

People with dogs interact more easily with strangers

source: Michael Day
New Scientist Feburary 19 2000 p21

Researchers from Warwick University, England, have found that people are more likely to interact with someone with a dog, whatever that person's appearance. Researcher, June McNicholas, used a dog trained to leave strangers alone. She recorded her interactions with strangers over five days when she had the dog with her, and five days when she did not. There were 156 interactions when she had the dog, compared to 50 interactions when she did not. Men accounted for 60% of the interactions. A male researcher did the same thing, dressed scruffily and dressed smartly. The number of interactions with strangers increased tenfold when he had a dog, however he was dressed. McNicholas suggests that dog owners could train their dogs to wag their tails at strangers they find attractive. This research was reported in British Journal of Psychology, vol 91, p61.