Observed Pet-Owner In-Home Interactions: Species Differences and Association with the Pet Relationship Scale

Authors: Miller, Melody; Lago, Dan

Source: Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, 1 March 1990, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 49-54(6)


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This pilot study focused on observational data from in-home interviews of elderly female pet owners. Owner-pet interaction and the behavior of the pets toward the owners and interviewers were recorded. The sample consists of 46 women who owned either cats or dogs and whose pets were present during the interview. The results reflect the expected differences in observed dog and cat behavior, with dogs making more noise, receiving more orders, and exhibiting more coordinated behavior with their owners than did cats. Owners' self-reported attitudes toward their dogs (N=31) were correlated with the observed interactions of the pets for playing with, hugging/petting, picking up, feeding, telling stories about, and showing pictures of the pet. The behavior of dogs ignoring owners was also correlated with owner attitudes toward the pets. Most interestingly, owner attitudes were highly correlated with pets' friendly behavior toward the interviewer.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/089279391787057350

Publication date: March 1, 1990

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