Online Program

Twelve-Month Follow-Up of the Dogs, Physical Activity, and Walking (Dogs PAW) Intervention

Monday, November 2, 2015

Elizabeth (Libby) Richards, PhD, RN, CHES, School of Nursing, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Niwako Ogata, BVSc, PhD, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Ching-Wei Cheng, MS, College of Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Purpose: To examine the viability of dog walking as a physical activity (PA) intervention using social cognitive theory-based e-mail messages.  

Methods:Dog owners who reported little or no dog walking (n=49) were randomized into a control or intervention group. The intervention group received e-mails for 12 weeks targeting self-efficacy, social support, benefits/barriers to dog walking, and pet attachment. Regression models were used to: 1) examine significant differences between intervention and control groups across time and 2) examine if changes in theoretical constructs from baseline to post-intervention resulted in changes in dog walking.

Results: Compared to the control group, the intervention group significantly increased dog walking and maintained this increase at 12 month follow-up (80±134 vs 19±21 minutes/week). There were no significant changes in theoretical constructs in the control group. In the intervention group, social support and pet attachment significantly increased post-intervention and increases in self-efficacy (3 months; β=9.9±4.2), social support (6 months; β=19.3±9.5), and pet attachment (12 months; β=26.3±13.3) significantly increased weekly minutes of dog walking.

Conclusions: Results suggest this pilot intervention is a feasible strategy for promoting dog walking. Increasing self-efficacy for dog walking by fostering social support can promote initial increases in dog walking which can ultimately result in increased physical activity. Long-term increases in dog walking appear to be fostered by pet attachment. The dual-purpose nature of dog walking (good for both owner and dog) may facilitate PA adherence, particularly among owners who feel a sense of obligation and commitment to their dog’s health.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the role of dog ownership, dog walking and physical activity promotion Identify 2-3 effective intervention points for dog walking

Keyword(s): Behavioral Research, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I lead intervention development, implementation, and evaluation
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.