(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

Selkirk College students protest proposed tuition increases

Sudents’ union says this year’s 2 per cent increase puts education out of reach for some

Nelson project funds rural schools in Nepal

Mountain trekker David Swain runs the Altitude Project

Trail area homicide investigation continues

Jan. 14 marked one year since Jordan Workman was discovered in the trunk of a burnt car

Leafs, Nitehawks settle for 4-4 tie

Nelson is now unbeaten in nine straight games

Former ski champ and MLA’s son hope to open Castlegar cannabis store next month

Felix Belczyk and Ben Conroy are in the approval process for local Spiritleaf outlet

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

New military armoury opens in Cranbrook

Military presence in the Key City a part of the 44th Engineer Squadron

Most Read