GOOD NEWS for any farmers who may have started today chasing after a badly-behaved farm dog – running with a hound has been scientifically proven to boost your mood and your health.

New research has revealed that exercising with a dog can actually enhance the positive effects of physical activity, leaving a runner with significantly greater feelings of stamina and most of all, vigour, compared to running alone. The data also showed that negative mood states like depression, anger and fatigue decreased following all runs.

The University of Chichester partnered on the research, instigated by pet-food manufacturer Canagan, and found that dog owners who participated in the study felt that the prospect of running with their dog gave them the motivation to get up and go – turning the good intentions of wanting to exercise into actual action. The feeling of companionship on a run makes the activity itself more enjoyable.

Study leader, Dr. Sarah Edmunds said: “Despite nearly a quarter of adults in the UK owning a dog, there has been very little research investigating the role dogs play in their owners’ motivation for exercise. This is the first study, that we are aware of, which has looked specifically at the impact of running with dogs on their owner’s exercise experience.

"Results show that our participants exercised at the same intensity both with and without their dog and they experienced a psychological benefit from running with their dog. Interview data found participants were autonomously motivated to run with their dogs. From a behaviour change point of view this is of interest as autonomous motivation is associated with exercise adherence. This was a small-scale study, but it indicates taking your dog as a running companion may help to provide that extra motivation to get you out running and help you enjoy the activity.”

So next time you are louping across a muddy field trying to get hold of a young sheepdog that won't come when called, remember, you'll feel a lot better afterwards.