Here’s How Pets Can Improve Your Social Skills

Pets help you to socialize with people who share common interests with you.

If you’re shy or inexperienced, owning a pet provides opportunities to spend time with people interested in what you like.

The more you do it, the better your social skills get. Owning a pet helps you get social support.

Every pet owner knows how good our pets can make us feel. Spending time with a pet after a long day at work can lift your spirits. Sometimes, it’s what pet owners look forward to at the end of their day.

The benefit of pets for children and those with autism is well known, but did you know pets can improve your social skills as well?

Did you also know pets keep you healthy and motivated to socialize?

Pets can help create human-to-human friendships and social support. Both of those are said to be good for long term health.

Dog walkers routinely greet each other and stop to talk and socialize, but even other pets like cats, rabbits, and snakes can be the reason people make friends and find social support.

Pet owners are 60% more likely than non-pet owners to get to know somebody in the street they had never met before.

In other words, you are more likely to speak to people you live near if you have a pet. You will benefit emotionally from these friendships and feel a part of your community.


Owning a Dog Improves Your Social Skills

Owning a Dog Helps You Meet PeopleMaking friends when you own a dog is easier than if you don’t own a dog. You’ll make new associates and pals easier. Here’s a few of the reasons why.

  • Dog Walking: Just walking your dog often results in you striking up conversations with other dog walkers, or people who just want to admire your dog.

Your dog is a great ice-breaker, and the more you get out and walk, the more chance of meeting new and interesting people.

  • Vacations: Taking your dog with you on holiday is a great way to meet like-minded people. There are plenty of dog-friendly vacation locations, so there are can be more  interactions with other people who think like you.
  • Improves Dating Chances: Some men have a list of attributes they want in a potential partner. Studies show women often judge a man by the way he treats his dog, and they use this as a measurement of his character.

By your dog giving you the opportunity to have more social interactions with people, you are getting more chances to practice and so improve your social skills


Pets Keep You Healthy, Mentally

Being positive and happy makes you more approachable and confident in social interactions. Other people are more likely to engage with a happy person. Here’s how owning a pet can keep you happy and approachable.

  • Companionship: Being lonely can trigger depression. Pets provide a companionship that makes owners happy and feel appreciated. Pets can help to keep your mind off your problems.
  • Reduce Anxiety: Pets can help you to lower anxiety and build self-confidence when going out into the world. They help you to be mindful of the positives in the present moment.
  • Low Stress Levels: Owning a pet helps to keep stress under control and reduce loneliness. This makes it much easier to be outgoing and approachable.
  • You’re more settled: Studies also show that if you own a dog and are in a relationship, you’re more likely to be more settled and your blood pressure lower. This makes your chances of social interaction with each other and others much higher.
  • Structure: Owning a pet requires a structure every day. They need feeding, cleaning, and dogs need walking. Having structure and routine can make people feel confident.
  • Stay Connected: Often as people get older, they lose connections with others in their lives. Having a pet, especially a dog, is an easy way to spark up conversations with like-minded people, who may also be looking for company.

Interestingly, owning a pet can be an indication of the positivity of your personality. A study showed that those who cared for animals were more likely to be involved in their communities and have leadership roles.

Those people were also more likely to be empathetic and confident than those with no animal at home.

The great news is, you don’t have to have a specific pet. Whatever pet interests you, will give you the benefits of animal companionship.


Children with Autism Improve Social Skills With Pets

Probably the most known benefit of pets improving social skills is with children who have autism. Socializing is one of many challenges for autistic children. Research indicates that children with a pet at home have more advanced social skills, are more assertive, and communicate better than those who don’t have a pet at home.

When a child takes their service dog out in public, other children tend to engage with them. When an autistic child is with an animal, they are more likely to smile, talk,laugh, and make eye contact with their peers.

Autistic children benefit from a range of pets including:

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Rabbits
  • Fish
  • Reptiles
  • Rodents

Pets improve self-esteem in children. This means they are more likely to achieve academically. They are also less likely to get into trouble at school or out of school.

Pets also improve self esteem in children.All children, not just autistic children benefit from having a pet. Studies show that growing up with a pet provides emotional and educational benefits to children. 

Children with pets tend to have better social skills, fewer feelings of loneliness, along with greater self-esteem.

The most important ages of children to benefit from pets are under 6 years of age and over 10 years of age.

Dogs and cats are considered to be the best for children due to the higher level of interaction from those animals. It’s thought that companion animals promote healthy development in children that will follow them into adulthood.

Walking your dog is a catalyst for social interaction with other people. Ask any dog walker, and they’ll tell you about complete strangers coming up to them to talk about your dog, their dog, or dog’s in general.

If you have one of the most loved breeds, the chances of someone coming to talk to you are even more likely.

Consider these breeds great conversation starters:

  • Labrador Retriever: These beautiful and friendly dogs top just about every list when it comes to dog ownership. They are immensely popular, and people want to interact with them and their owners.
  • German Shepherd: Fiercely loyal and regal looking, German Shepherds intrigue people. This is especially so because of the work they often do for emergency services.
  • Golden Retriever:Family-friendly and energetic. Golden Retrievers are always up for social contact.
  • Bulldog: People are fascinated with bulldogs. It could be their looks or their attitude. Either way, people love talking to them and you.
  • Beagle: Cute and super-intelligent, beagles love the attention of admirers. They are also of a size that doesn’t intimidate people.


Pets Help Keep You Alive Longer

This may seem like a far-fetched claim, but studies show pets keep people calmer, and assist to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.  These are all contributing factors to cardiac arrest so it is good to reduce them.

The statistics for personal health and pet ownership are positive for animal lovers. Put them all together, and you get a happier, healthier, more approachable person.  When you are in good spirits, you are more likely to want to socialize with people with common interests like your pets.Also people will want to socialize with you too.


Pets Help You Socialize Online

Some people who yearn for socializing opportunities don’t always want to meet face-to-face. Online socializing is another way to get to know others with similar interests. There are specific interest groups, for dog lovers.

There are dating sites for people with pets who want to get to know others based on the fact both are pet owners.

Online socializing is an easy way to get to know someone before meeting them in person. It also helps people who would never get to meet in real life, connect, and chat. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, you can join groups and socialize over a common interest.


Writer: Craig Taylor

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