Dog Ownership and Physical Activity

The BMED lab has had a consistent focus on lifestyle factors involved in sustained physical activity. The effect of our four-legged friends on daily walking for health and leisure has been investigated in reviews, observational studies, and interventions within the lab for nearly two decades.



Key papers 


  1. Karvinen, K.H., & Rhodes, R.E. (2021). Association between participation in dog agility and physical activity of dog owners. Anthrozoös, 34(2), 217-231.

  2. Rhodes, R.E., Baranova, M., Christian, H., & Westgarth, C. (2020). Increasing physical activity – by four legs rather than two: A systematic review of dog facilitated physical activity interventions. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 54(20), 1202-1207.

  3. Christian, H., Bauman, A., Epping, J., Levine, G., McCormack, G., Rhodes, R.E., Richards, E., Rock, M., & Westgarth, C. (2016). Encouraging dog walking for health promotion and disease prevention. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine20(10), 1-11.

  4. Lim, C., & Rhodes, R.E. (2016). Sizing up physical activity: The relationships among dog characteristics, dog owners' motivations, and dog walking. Psychology of Sport and Exercise24, 65-71.

  5. Rhodes, R.E. & Lim, C. (2016). Understanding action control of daily walking behavior among dog owners: A community survey. BMC Public Health, 16, 1165-1174.

  6. Rhodes, R.E., Murray, H., Temple, V., Tuokko, H., & Wharf Higgins, J. (2012). Pilot study of a dog walking intervention: Effects of a focus on canine exercise. Preventive Medicine, 54(5), 309-312.

  7. Brown, S.G., & Rhodes, R.E. (2006). Relationships among dog ownership and leisure time walking in Western Canadian adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 30(2), 131-136.

Click Here for the full list of publications