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Open AccessArticle

Examining Obedience Training as a Physical Activity Intervention for Dog Owners: Findings from the Stealth Pet Obedience Training (SPOT) Pilot Study

1
Department of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
2
Department of Exercise & Sport Studies, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063, USA
3
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Luciana Zaccagni and Emanuela Gualdi-Russo
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 902; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18030902
Received: 4 December 2020 / Revised: 12 January 2021 / Accepted: 14 January 2021 / Published: 21 January 2021
Dog training may strengthen the dog–owner bond, a consistent predictor of dog walking behavior. The Stealth Pet Obedience Training (SPOT) study piloted dog training as a stealth physical activity (PA) intervention. In this study, 41 dog owners who reported dog walking ≤3 days/week were randomized to a six-week basic obedience training class or waitlist control. Participants wore accelerometers and logged dog walking at baseline, 6- and 12-weeks. Changes in PA and dog walking were compared between arms with targeted maximum likelihood estimation. At baseline, participants (39 ± 12 years; females = 85%) walked their dog 1.9 days/week and took 5838 steps/day, on average. At week 6, intervention participants walked their dog 0.7 more days/week and took 480 more steps/day, on average, than at baseline, while control participants walked their dog, on average, 0.6 fewer days/week and took 300 fewer steps/day (difference between arms: 1.3 dog walking days/week; 95% CI = 0.2, 2.5; 780 steps/day, 95% CI = −746, 2307). Changes from baseline were similar at week 12 (difference between arms: 1.7 dog walking days/week; 95% CI = 0.6, 2.9; 1084 steps/day, 95% CI = −203, 2370). Given high rates of dog ownership and low rates of dog walking in the United States, this novel PA promotion strategy warrants further investigation. View Full-Text
Keywords: dog walking; exercise; health behavior change; stealth health; pet ownership; human–animal interaction; animal-assisted intervention; targeted learning dog walking; exercise; health behavior change; stealth health; pet ownership; human–animal interaction; animal-assisted intervention; targeted learning
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MDPI and ACS Style

Potter, K.; Masteller, B.; Balzer, L.B. Examining Obedience Training as a Physical Activity Intervention for Dog Owners: Findings from the Stealth Pet Obedience Training (SPOT) Pilot Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 902. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18030902

AMA Style

Potter K, Masteller B, Balzer LB. Examining Obedience Training as a Physical Activity Intervention for Dog Owners: Findings from the Stealth Pet Obedience Training (SPOT) Pilot Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(3):902. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18030902

Chicago/Turabian Style

Potter, Katie; Masteller, Brittany; Balzer, Laura B. 2021. "Examining Obedience Training as a Physical Activity Intervention for Dog Owners: Findings from the Stealth Pet Obedience Training (SPOT) Pilot Study" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 18, no. 3: 902. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18030902

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