April Primmero reports that scientific findings reveal some potential for mindfulness receptivity in our favorite canine friends.
At the Center for Mindfulness’s Annual Scientific Meeting in Norwood, Massachusetts, which started on Wednesday and continues through Sunday, researchers from Harvard, Stanford, and the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin presented promising preliminary findings from a pioneering government-funded study of mindfulness in dogs.
The study used stop-action photography of eye blinks and electrodes attached to the ears of the canines to measure reactivity to stimuli. Prior to being exposed to chew toys, treats, and bowls of kibble, the study subjects “had a mini-retreat in ‘The Canine Meditation Hall,’” – an isolation room furnished with specially crafted, dog-friendly zabutons, or meditation mats — and were shown videos of other dogs (mostly owned and trained by American meditation teachers) sitting erect and peacefully.
Over half the dogs studied, after four thirty minute sessions, emulated this behavior for most of the session. Then, when exposed to the stimuli, these dogs reacted less impulsively, while others lunged at the items, pushed the food bowls across the floor, bumped into each other, and barked and growled excessively.
According to the researchers who conducted the study, Herbert Chien, Rhonda Perro, and Oscar Hund, “If it can be shown that dogs can cultivate mindfulness, we may be able to train them better. What’s more, we might even be able to prove that there actually may be something to this idea that it’s possible to cultivate mindfulness in human beings.”
Happy April 1st!
Sounds like researchers in California are manifesting their PRO-cat-biases again! Where is the scientific review for such things? 🙂
Dan Glenn says
This is an incredible auspicious coincidence. We've been working on a related program for quite some time and are beginning to roll it out. This research will be quite supportive in promoting the program. It's amazing how causes and conditions come together sometimes! Dr. Chien will be excited!!
lama rufus says
hey humans .. give us canines a break – better yet, how about some old fashioned bones.
— lama rufus
lama rufus says
oh yeah. this was taken when i was still a kid. http://www.ideals-in-motion.com/.a/6a00d83455cd60…
Joan Sinden says
I'm actually a person who believes that dogs and buddhism are a natural fit and have devoted a blog to the topic – even on days that are not April Fool's day – it's at http://dogsaredharma.blogspot.com/ if you want to check it out – your dogs may thank you for it – and you may thank your dogs for it too!
Dogs are our mindfulness role models. They get it and live it.
Claude Boutin says
I practice mindfulness WITH my dog. She is so good by now, she stays still for half an hour!
Dogs are good at mindfulness!