(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

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Miniature horses visit Glacier View residents

Glacier View Lodge residents had a couple of special visitors on Wednesday… Continue reading

Annual women’s march in Courtenay Saturday

The Women’s March was a worldwide protest on Jan. 21, 2017, to… Continue reading

Portables arrive for students on Hornby Island

Five portable classrooms have officially arrived on Hornby Island this week in… Continue reading

Cumberland multi-use development given the go-ahead despite parking concerns

Rideout Construction will pay $91,200 in lieu of 24 parking stalls

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

Edmonton moves one point ahead of Vancouver

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Thieves steal thousands from 140 Coast Capital Savings members

Online fraud tactics included phising and ‘brute force’ in November and December

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Most Read