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The effects of the presence of a dog in the classroom

By A. Hergovich, B. Monshi, G. Semmler, V. Zieglmayer

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This study examined the effects of the presence of a dog in the classroom on field independence, social competence, empathy with animals and social-emotional atmosphere. The participants were 46 first-graders (43 of them immigrants) of two school classes (control and experimental). In the experimental group, a dog was present in the classroom for three months. Multivariate analyses revealed significant enhancement of field independence and empathy with animals in the experimental group in comparison to the control group (no dog). Thus, the presence of the dog fostered the development of autonomous functioning and a better segregation of self/non-self, which is the foundation of sensitivity towards the needs and moods of other people. Moreover, according to the views of the teachers, the children in the experimental group exhibited higher social integration, and there were fewer aggressive children, compared with the children in the control group. In sum, the results indicate that a dog can be an important factor in the social and cognitive development of children.

Date 2002
Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 15
Issue 1
Pages 37-50
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/089279302786992775
Language English
Author Address Institute of Psychology, University of Vienna, Liebigg. 5, 1010 Vienna, Austria.andreas.hergovich@univie.ac.at
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Aggression
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Anthrozoology
  4. Child development
  5. Children
  6. Cognition
  7. Dogs
  8. Emotions
  9. Empathy
  10. Human behavior
  11. Mammals
  12. Mental development
  13. peer-reviewed
  14. Pets and companion animals
  15. Primates
  16. Schools
  17. self esteem
  18. social integration
  1. peer-reviewed