Background. The aims of this study were to describe the development of and investigate the feasibility and acceptability of a pilot randomized controlled physical activity intervention based on social cognitive theory which used a dog walking strategy.

Methods. Participants (n=49) were randomized into an intervention or control group. Overall, participants were middle-aged (mean=45.7±13.4 years), Caucasian, and on average considered obese with an average BMI of 30.0±5.5. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize participant characteristics and analyze the feasibility and acceptability data. Regression models were used to: 1) examine significant differences between intervention and control groups across time (baseline to post-intervention) and 2) examine if changes in theoretical constructs from baseline to post-intervention resulted in changes in dog walking in both the intervention and control group.

Results. Participants agreed that the intervention emails were easy to read and understand (mean=4.3±0.7). Participants reported that the frequency of emails was adequate (mean=4.3±0.8) but there was lower agreement that the emails encouraged an increase in dog walking (mean=3.6±1.2). Post-intervention, the control group increased weekly dog walking to 19.4±4.9 minutes while the intervention group increased to 79.3±11.2 minutes.

Conclusions. Preliminary results suggest this pilot intervention is an acceptable and feasible strategy for promoting dog walking among dog owners.


Richards, E., Ogata, N., & Ting, J. (2015). Dogs, Physical Activity, and Walking (Dogs PAW): Acceptability and feasibility of a pilot physical activity intervention. Health Promotion Practice, 16(2), 362-370. Published in "Health Promotion and Practice," DOI 10.1177/1524839914553300


social cognitive theory, pets, exercise

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