Humans and dogs have had a unique relationship throughout the histories of both species. Since their domestication between 13, 000 and 17, 000 years ago, dogs have served a large number of utilitarian functions for humans including guarding, tracking, hunting, transportation, assistance work, and more. Dogs provide physiological, psychological, and social benefits as well, including stress and anxiety reduction, social support and increased socialization. Attachment between pet and owner has been suggested as an important mediator of these benefits, yet little systematic research has investigated factors that contribute to or detract from that attachment. The present research sought to explore whether qfitq between owner expectation and dog attributes affected attachment, with focus on four conventional categories of dog-owner compatibility (skills/abilities, physical characteristics, lifestyle characteristics, and personality characteristics) and ten additional social-goal derived categories (forming friendships, mate attraction, protection, conveying social status, appearing likeable, providing benefit for children, serving as a child surrogate, conveying a prosocial image, maintaining a prosocial self-image, and emotional management). Dog owners and prospective owners completed a survey to assess their expectations for their qidealq dogs on a number of attributes and to indicate how important each attribute was to them. Seven to nine weeks later, participants completed a second survey rating the most recent dog they had added to their household on the same attributes previously utilized. Discrepancy scores between ideal and actual dogs were used to predict owners' attachment to their dogs. Discrepancy from ideal was negatively related to attachment measures for two of the conventional categories of compatibility (physical and lifestyle characteristics) and marginally and negatively related for the other two (skills/abilities and personality characteristics). Discrepancy from ideal was also negatively related to attachment for six of the ten social goals (forming friendships, protection, appearing likeable, providing benefit for children, serving as a child surrogate, and emotional management) for participants who considered those goals important. Participants rated eight of the ten social goals as having equal or greater importance than the conventional measures. Additional analyses explored differences between professionals in an animal-related field and non-professionals.Pet Ownership in the United States Today, nearly 75 million dogs take residence as pets in 44.8 million U.S. homes (APPMA, 2008). Twenty-four percent of pet owners celebrate their petsa#39; birthdays (APPMA, 2005). Forty percent of pet ownersanbsp;...
|Title||:||The Psychosocial and Utilitarian Functions of Dogs: The Role of Fit and Social Goals in Owner-dog Attachment|
|Author||:||Terrilee Asher Hardison|
|Publisher||:||ProQuest - 2008|