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Published: 24 january 2020 14:08

Find out why Lithuanians enjoy walking their dogs

Kaimo šunys
Selemono Paltanavičiaus nuotr. / Dogs in the countryside

Attitudes toward dogs have change greatly in Lithuania: they are no longer viewed as guards, but as family members, they are taught obedience and socialised to act appropriately in public spaces. It is paradoxical, but pets do not help Lithuanian people establish new acquaintances or closer relations with their neighbours and other dog owners. Research has shown that only 5% of our country’s dog owners interact with their neighbours while walking their dogs and only 6% get acquainted with new people.

This was revealed by a representative survey of Lithuanian residents performed by AC Nielsen Baltics on commission by the insurance company Gjensidige.

“The numbers show that most dog owners enjoy taking their pets for walks. This hobby is hampered by neither an early or late time of the day, nor poor weather conditions. Only 7% of Lithuanians, who own dogs, view everyday walks as an inevitable chore. This shows that pets are important companions for people and being with them brings pleasure. The survey has revealed that the attitude of Lithuanian dog owners is mature,” insurance company Gjensidige Damages head for the Baltic States Viktorija Katilienė said.

According to the study, most (56%) people, who take their pets for a walk, stated they enjoy breathing fresh air. The survey shows that 42% of dog owners always enjoy spending time with their pet. It is notable that more women than men hold this opinion. Individuals aged 16-44 most prefer spending time with their pets.

“People, who do not enjoy or have no time to do sports actively, find dogs to be an incentive to live more actively and move more,” V. Katilienė stated.

According to the survey, 39% of dog owners, relish nature while walking with their pets and a third use this as a way to overcome stress and relax.

“Walking and spending time with a beloved pet are two factors, which help people overcome tensions. It is not without reason that animal therapy is becoming an increasingly popular means of prophylaxis, treatment and rehabilitation. Our four-legged friends compensate for people their lack of communication, allow them to feel needed every day. Walks a few times a day help not only relax, but also improve health,” V. Katilienė spoke.

The study showed that a fifth of Lithuanians, who own dogs, enjoy primarily the opportunity to be in solitude when taking their pet for a walk. “It is especially valued by people, who spend their days surrounded by people and live especially fast paced lives. We see that the desire to be in solitude is particularly important for people living in the cities. As such, the walking of a dog could become a good way to halt the daily rhythm and take distance from the chaos,” the insurance company representative said.

It turns out that the demand for solitude, not communication that is more associated with walking dogs. Only 6% of dog owners get acquainted with new people while walking their pet or find new friends. Only 5% of Lithuanian dog owners are helped by their pets to establish firmer relations with their neighbours.

“It seems that Lithuanians satisfy their need for communication not by walking their dogs, btu through other circumstances. When taking their pets for a walk, their owners hardly establish new associations with not only those living nearby, but also other dog owners. They focus their attention on their pet and do not seek contact with other people,” V. Katilienė summarised.

The representative survey of Lithuanian residents, during which 1,600 people living in various locations around the country were interviewed, was performed by AC Nielsen Baltics on commission from Gjensidige.

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