Dogs are known for their loyalty and friendliness, but one South Woodford police officer has found pooches can also help him unwind from the stress and rigours of the city.

Four professionals were invited to a café in Hackney on Thursday to experience how four-legged friends can have positive psychological and physiological effects at the Pet a Puppy Stressbuster Clinic.

Organised by the Kennel Club and also featuring former world champion turned tv personalist Iwan Thomas, the event was a taster ahead of the clinic heading to ExCel London on October 21 and 22 as part of London’s biggest dog event, Eukanuba Discover Dogs.

Workers’ heart rates and blood pressure were measured after they performed a timed crossword, before they were allowed 15 minutes of play time with the dogs.

The same tests were then carried out, with psychologists noting a marked drop in both heart rate and blood pressure after a session with the pooches.

And for 46-year-old PC Ian Walker, a Metropolitan Police officer serving the Olympic Park and East Village beat, the difference before and after time with the mutts was palpable.

“I loved seeing all the dogs and spending time with them,” said PC Walker. “I’m a dog lover myself but I don’t have one at the moment.

“I’ve had dogs in the past – I’ve wanted to get one but it’s too difficult with the times I work. I’m at work more than 12 hours for four days out of seven, sometimes four out of five – it would be unfair because I live on my own.

“It’s a bit of a cliché but every day is different – you see it on the news with the likes of Grenfell and the attacks at Westminster – you might be sent up to London to do long shifts.

“There’s big events like the Notting Hill Carnival to help police and cover, so it is different every day.

“I normally go swimming to unwind – with the Aquatics Centre right on your doorstep it would be rude not to really!

“I’ll let the scores speak for themselves – the numbers showed I was a lot less stressed, so the proof is in the proverbial pudding.”

Organisers believe the concept has reinforced the ideal dogs have an overwhelmingly positive effect on human welfare.

Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club, added: “This is a very interesting experiment – we’re all fairly certain that dogs are good for us, but what we’re doing here is actually proving that.

“We’ve got people who are very stressful jobs with busy lives. We’re checking their heart rate and blood pressure before giving them time with these lovely puppies.

“And we are finding the puppies are destressing those individuals, really showing that dogs do a great deal of good for us.

“We put the pressure on them and made a test – they didn’t have it easy and had to step up to the mark, but then afterwards they were calmer because of the dogs.

“Dogs are non-critical - they’re not sat thinking ‘you haven’t stroked me enough’ or ‘you’ve been at work for too long’, they don’t judge us, they don’t do anything but give us love.”