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Feasibility of a volunteer dog-walking program for high school students and shelter dogs in Chico, California

By Danielle Allred

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Dog-walking is gaining recognition as a way of combating sedentary lifestyles. Dog owners who walk their dogs are more likely to meet physical activity standards recommended by the Center for Disease Control, and studies have shown positive benefits resulting from animal interaction, including lowered blood pressure. Many animal shelters have devised volunteer dog-walking programs that benefit all participants: people can enjoy the benefits of dog interaction while increasing their physical activity and shelter dogs get exercise, increased socialization, and community exposure. Dog-walking programs could benefit young people especially; such opportunities would enable them to interact positively with animals and peers, engage in exercise, build self-confidence, and develop greater responsibility. This study explores the feasibility of a volunteer dog-walking program for high school students in the town of Chico, California. Through the program, participants would earn community service hours by exercising with, and training shelter dogs on-leash. This study aims to assess interest among high school students and shelter staff in participating in such a program. Methods include: surveying high school students, interviewing animal shelter staff members, and surveying adults within the Chico community about their perceptions of this program proposal. The goals of this research are to explore the potential value of this type of program, gather input for designing a volunteer dog-walking program, and investigate the feasibility of its implementation.


Katie Carroll

Date 2013
Pages 168
Publisher Humboldt State University
Department Environment and Community
Degree Master of Arts in Social Science
Language English
University Humboldt State University
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Adolescents
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animal roles
  4. Animal shelters
  5. Animal welfare
  6. California
  7. Dogs
  8. Exercise
  9. High schools
  10. Human-animal interactions
  11. Mammals
  12. Pets and companion animals
  13. Shelter pets
  14. students
  15. volunteers
  16. Walking