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Disciplining Behavior of Dog Owners in Problematic Situations: The Factorial Structure

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The purpose of the study was to investigate the magnitude and structure of situation-specific owner emotions and behavioral reactions in problematic situations involving a dog. The following questions were addressed: 1. What is the magnitude of situation-specific owner emotions and reactions in a group of dog owners?, and 2. What is the structure of situation-specific owner emotions and reactions in a group of dog owners? In addition, the study considered whether these emotions and behavioral reactions differed between male and female owners. Fifty-five dog owners were presented with 16 descriptions of possible situations with a dog and were asked to record the degree to which they elicited 13 emotions (such as irritation, anger, sorrow, anxiety). They were further asked which disciplinary reactions, such as punishment, demanding compliance, they would use in each situation. Factor analysis of the emotions and behavioral reactions resulted in three emotional factors: anger/irritation, compassion/anxiety and compunction, and two behavioral factors: power assertion and encouraging behavior. Though most would modify behavior using power assertion, about 10% of the dog owners chose not to enforce compliance of the rules but would prevent further problems by using encouragement. Investigation of the male and female owners resulted in slightly different scores, especially for the group of the male owners. These results are related to the literature concerning child discipline in problematic situations.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/089279300786999897

Publication date: June 1, 2000

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