Mikel Arteta's latest signing at Arsenal is a chocolate Labrador for the training ground
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A chocolate Labrador has been spotted around Arsenal's training ground at London Colney of late – and for good reason.
Mikel Arteta, who is known for using some 'unconventional' methods, has been inspired to sign the pooch after learning that petting a dog can be calming, reduce stress levels and improve your overall mood.
As well as the above 'pet therapy', Arteta thinks the dog, who is affectionately known as “Win”, can enhance the spirit of togetherness that has carried their Premier League title challenge this season.
"Win" was even present for Aaron Ramsdale's recent contract signing, according to The Times, who say she has a primary carer who looks after her away from the training facility.
There are certain health benefits when it comes to having a pet. In fact, only recently have studies found the benefits of the human-animal bond.
Pets, especially dogs and cats, can reduce stress, anxiety and even improve your cardiovascular health.
In addition to the above, playing with a dog can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
Labradors are well known to be intelligent, well-natured pets. Arsenal mascot "Win" is even friendly with the training ground’s resident cat, Bob, who was adopted when his local owner died.
As mentioned earlier, Mikel Arteta has used some uncommon practices to try and motivate his players.
He once called for his Arsenal squad to rub their palms together in an attempt to get "everyone with the same energy".
And last year, ahead of their Premier League clash against Brighton, he brought out a light bulb to try and create energy and electricity in the dressing room.
“[Thomas] Edison invented the light bulb. Today I want to see a team that is connected because a bulb by itself is nothing. I want to see a team that is connected with each other and that shines," he said.
“And you want to transmit to him [your team-mate] light and energy and passion and how you play football, and you two the same.
"And each of us plays the game connected, because what happens when we play connected, guys? What is the next thing that happens?
"That we connect with 60,000 people [the fans] who create more energy."
Arteta goes on: “Because at the end is electricity, that through heat creates light and life. Because if not it would be f****** dark if this guy doesn’t have the idea to do that.
‘”And I want you to play like this today, because as good as we are it depends on one thing.
“What makes us special is our attitude, and today I want you to play with that attitude. Go out there, f****** turn the light on, and play football. Let’s go!”
The light bulb team talk didn't have the desired effect, however, as Brighton picked up all three points thanks to goals from Leandro Trossard and Enock Mwepu.