Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


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.




Special Issue

Physical Activity, Wellness and Health: Challenges, Benefits and Strategies




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