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Do you like dogs more than people? You aren't alone

Joanne Richard
Special to The Weather Network

Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 4:24 PM - Seems friendships are going to the dogs – literally. Most dog owners would rather hang out with their pet than people.

According to a new survey, lots of us are skipping out on social commitments to be with our four-legged furry friend instead. While winter has us hibernating and Netflix binging with our beagle, it appears bitter temperatures aren’t the only thing keeping us indoors.

More than 80% of those surveyed by Link AKC say that time spent with their dog improves their mental and emotional health. Sixty percent credit Fido with offering amazing stress relief, and close to 90% report that their dog makes them a better person.

How many of us can say that about our human BBF? 

It doesn’t surprise Dr. Stanley Coren that we’re ditching our friends for Fido – “after all their dog will not act offended if they break off in the middle of a sentence to respond to their iPhone. Their dog will also not make any social demands upon them, but at the same time will provide them with unconditional affection and companionship,” he says.

But in choosing our pooch over our pals, we’re losing our social skills and missing out on the rewards of human interactions, says Coren, a globally-recognized author, psychologist and expert on dog-human interaction.

That may very well be, and friendships offer a ton of positive benefits, but it appears sharing a bowl of cheesies with Chance is going to win out, especially at this time of year. It’s the dead of winter, the nights are bone-chilling so we’re texting rather than to trekking out in the snow to tend to friendships. Do you even own enough warm clothes to go out? And, poor Bella, always looks so darn sad when you leave ...

We are a nation of dog lovers and owners can be a tad bit rabid about their commitment to their pet – one study reports that 70% of pet parents admit they view and treat their pets more like children. And now their BFF! Actually the new AKC study reports that 81% talk to their dog like they’re a human friend, with 72% telling their pooch secrets that they wouldn’t share with any person.

It's no secret that our lives are going to the dogs. That’s because they’re are easy to get along with, even easier to love and nice to have around, says premiere animal trainer Mikkel Becker, adding that you can’t always say that about those closest to you. Actually your partner is up against some pretty stiff competition:

  • Pets love you just the way you are. They are never judgmental, says Becker, of fearfreepets.com. “Dogs don’t care if you belch, talk to yourself or sing horribly off key. They let you be who you really are.” Pets make you feel wanted, regardless of where you work, what you wear or how many followers you have on Instagram. 
  •  Licks and love galore. You’re gone five minutes to take the garbage out and it’s like they haven’t seen you in a year! Your human will greet you at the door with the other bag of garbage you forgot to put out! Best of all, if you’re an hour late coming home, you don’t need to call or check in. Your dog will still be happy to see you and won’t accuse you of cheating. 
  • Best workout partner ever: Dogs are motivated, eager and good for your waistline no matter the weather outside. They’ll never cancel on you like a regular workout buddy – just grab that leash and they’re in! A University of Victoria study shows that non-dog owners walk on average 168 minutes a week while dog owners walk 300 minutes a week. 
  • A potent RX. Petting your dog for 15 minutes reduces stress and boosts serotonin. Dogs lower our blood pressure and cholesterol and they help fight depression. The same cannot be said about every partner, and in fact, with the wrong person, the opposite is often true. An Ohio State University study reports that people in marriages filled with resentment heal more slowly physically and die sooner than those in happy marriages.

  • They are less expensive than a human companion. Let’s face it, dating and weddings and marriage are expensive! Not only that but if the gift isn’t perfect, you’ll feel the bite of disappointment and failure. You buy Fido a dollar store squeaky toy and it’s the equivalent of Tiffany’s. 
  • It’s always your way and not the highway. Watch all the TV you want. Pick the next vacation. Make whatever you want for dinner. Dogs eat whatever you cook and won’t complain. They’re happy to go along for any car ride too – they don’t bark out driving instructions from the passenger seat, and don’t mind if you want to stop to ask for directions.

VIDEO: If you have a dog, you'll definitely want to try this in the winter:

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