Association Between Participation in Dog Agility and Physical Activity of Dog Owners

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Participation in dog agility may strengthen the bond between dog owners and their dogs and provide a reason for increasing physical fitness, thus increasing physical activity behavior. The purpose of this study was to compare physical activity levels (performed both with their dogs and without their dogs) of agility trainers with non-agility trainers, and to examine factors associated with physical activity using Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and dog responsibility (i.e., the sense of responsibility for the wellbeing of one’s dog). Dog owners (n = 280) completed an online survey that examined the relationship between participation in dog agility and (a) physical activity (performed with or without a dog), and (b) motives for physical activity, behavioral regulation, and dog responsibility using multiple regression analyses and analyses of covariance (ANCOVAs). Agility trainers indicated significantly higher total weekly minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity with a dog (p < 0.05), but lower weekly levels of physical activity without a dog compared with non-agility trainers. ANCOVAs indicated that agility trainers showed higher competence motives (p < 0.01), and social motives (p < 0.05) compared with non-agility trainers. Multiple regression analyses indicated that the SDT constructs and dog responsibility accounted for 23% of the variance in physical activity with a dog in the overall sample, but that no significant differences were found in these relationships when agility trainers compared with non-agility trainers through moderation analyses. In conclusion, dog owners who train their dogs in agility may accumulate more physical activity with their dogs but less physical activity without their dogs compared with other dog owners. Dog agility trainers may indicate more self-determined and intrinsic motives for physical activity with a dog compared with non-agility trainers.




Karvinen, K. H., & Rhodes, R. E. (2021). Association Between Participation in Dog Agility and Physical Activity of Dog Owners. Anthrozoos, 34(2), 217–231.

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