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This article reports a survey of 749 dog owners. The survey focuses on owners' interactions with their dogs. This research identifies seven underlying dimensions that comprise the construct of dog companionship. The dimensions include symbiotic relationship, dog-oriented self concept, anthropomorphism, activity/youth, boundaries, specialty purchases, and willingness to adapt. Results suggest that certain demographic variables – in particular gender, age, and education level, as well as length of dog ownership, amount of quality time spent with the dog, and whether the dog is purebred or mixed breed – relate to these dimensions.
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Understanding doghuman companionship
Michael J. Dotson , Eva M. Hyatt
Appalachian State University, Walker College of Business, Boone, NC 28608, United States
This article reports a survey of 749 dog owners. The survey focuses on owners' interactions with their dogs. This research identifies seven
underlying dimensions that comprise the construct of dog companionship. The dimensions include symbiotic relationship, dog-oriented self
concept, anthropomorphism, activity/youth, boundaries, specialty purchases, and willingness to adapt. Results suggest that certain demographic
variables in particular gender, age, and education level, as well as length of dog ownership, amount of quality time spent with the dog, and
whether the dog is purebred or mixed breed relate to these dimensions.
© 2007 Published by Elsevier Inc.
Keywords: Dog companionship; Dog-human relationships
1. Introduction
Animal companionship is an integral aspect of life in the
United States, with approximately 70 million homes claiming at
least one pet as a member of the household (A.C. Nielson,
2002). Humans have many reasons for owning pets. Brickel
(1986) suggests that animals provide one highly reliable
association in a person's life more consistent and reliable than
humanhuman.Pets are said to enter into a relationship of
mutualismwith their owners (Bradshaw, 1995). That is, pet
owners believe they not only give but receive love and affection
from their animals. Cusack (1988) contends that animals serve
as confidantes with no risk of betrayal.
In addition to providing emotional benefits, pet ownership
improves one's physical and mental health. Studies show that
pet ownership reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, helps to
prevent heart disease, helps to fight depression, and therefore
lowers one's healthcare costs ( One possible
explanation for these health benefits lies in the fact that pet
owners, particularly dog owners, are more physically active
than non-pet owners (Duncan, 1997). While the findings of
such studies are interesting and add to the understanding of pet
ownership, their focus is primarily on explaining the benefits to
people of keeping pets. Many pet owners know that there is
much more to the special pethuman relationship. The nature
and meanings of such relationships have been studied
qualitatively by researchers from various fields, but have not
been quantitatively examined. That is the purpose of this paper.
2. Dogs and their people
This study focuses on the doghuman relationship and the
dog-related consumption experiences that come from such
relationships. The central construct in this research is referred to
as dog companionship.We define this construct as accom-
panying and associating with one's dog and the relationship
between the owner and the dog that results from such
interaction(cf. Webster's Dictionary). Dog companionship
has attitudinal, experiential, and behavioral components that
underlie it, and it is our object here to uncover its underlying
Approximately 61 million dogs are pets in the United States
(American Pet Association, 2002). A growing body of evidence
suggests that dog owners (a term used here due to the lack of a
better one for capturing the doghuman bond and due to its
common usage and meaning) are paying more attention to and
spending more money on their dogs. Aside from several
qualitative studies, however, little consumer research facilitates
an understanding of this growing market. Dogs occupy a
vailable online at
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Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 828 262 2145.
E-mail addresses: (M.J. Dotson), (E.M. Hyatt).
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significant role in their owners' hearts and lives. Many dog
owners report attachments to their dogs that are as strong as
their attachments to their best friends, children, and spouses
(American Pet Association, 2002). Interestingly, dog owners are
more likely to anthropomorphize their pets than cat owners
(Szasz, 1968).
Since ancient times, evidence from tomb paintings, artifacts,
and texts reveals that people at all levels of society kept dogs as
loved pets and members of the family. The dog is the oldest
domestic animal (one whose care, feeding, and breeding is
under human control), living with humans for approximately
10,000 years (Messent and Serpel, 1981). Throughout the ages,
dogs have also influenced and inspired art and language, just as
they do today (Thurston, 1996). Nineteenth century European
art depicts dogs not as prized possessions, but as well-fed
household members who participated in the daily round of
activities (Tuan, 1984). In present society, evidence points to the
role that dogs play in satisfying human needs for companion-
ship, friendship, unconditional love, and affection all of
which have become increasingly hard to satisfy in our nuclear
families living impersonal suburban lifestyles(Salmon and
Salmon, 1983). In fact, 51% of current US dog owners consider
their dogs to be family members (U. S. Pet Ownership and
Demographics Sourcebook, 2002).
Pet owners' deep caring for their dogs is evidenced by
increased expenditures on dog-related products in the US in
recent years. When calculating annual household spending on a
dog, one must include things such as food, treats and snacks,
veterinary fees, grooming, health aids such as vitamins and flea
powder, dog beds, brushes, dishes, collar and lead sets, toys,
boarding, training, and travel cages, among other things (Szasz,
1968). The annual household budget estimate for one dog is
approximately $1,000, not including one-time costs such as
spaying and neutering, dog durables such as doggy doors and
enclosures, and emergency medical fees (Medicine Hat SPCA.
com). Part of the increase in pet-related expenditures is the
growing pet-services industry in the United States, including
such services as grooming, training, pet-sitting, and nail
clipping. A dog owner may spend as much as $15,000 over
the life of a dog if all such services are purchased (AC Neilson,
2002). Additionally, numerous online pet resources exist, with
lots of niche sites and online communities of pet owners who
can post pictures of their pets and join chat sessions on a variety
of pet-related topics (AC Neilson, 2002).
The average dog visits the veterinarian twice as often as does
the average cat (Dale, 2003). Dog-owning households saw the
veterinarian an average 2.7 times, spending $261 per year. This
amounts to total annual US expenditures on veterinarian
services for dogs of $11.6 billion, representing 61.3% of total
vet expenditures on dogs, cats, horses, and birds combined (US
Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, 2002). In
particular, pet owners are spending more money on preventive
health care such as better nutrition, supplements, and dental
work. Cutting-edge veterinary medicine, including MRI's and
kidney transplants, is also more available, and pet owners are
more likely to spend big dollars to save their animal companion
in a health crisis (Dale, 2003).
With the increasingly mobile American lifestyle, dog owners
have to deal with taking their pets along on trips and vacations
or leaving them behind. In either case, marketers are developing
scores of new products and services, everything from doggy-
daycare centers to dog-walking services to more and more
hotels and motels allowing pets (Gardyn, 2002). Honda Motor
Company has even designed a new concept car designed for the
needs of dog owners, along with a new line of Travel Dogcar
accessories (Sapsford, 2005). Twenty-nine million adults say
that they have traveled with a pet on a trip of 50 miles or more,
and dogs are the most common type of pet to take (78%) with
cats a distant second (15%) (Travel Industry Association of
America, 2002). Dog owners purchase many new pet travel
products that make it easier to bring dogs along for the ride
(Gardyn, 2002). provides information on
establishments that are willing to accept dogs including
hotels, parks, and beaches. A new airline called Companion Air
allows dogs of all sizes and their families to travel together on
the plane. Airport dog parks are a hot new trend all over the US,
such as Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport's Bone
Yard,featuring a 2000-square-foot shaded play area (Scotch,
2004). And Midwest Airlines recently announced a new
frequent flier program for pets, who will receive a free round-
trip ticket for every three domestic round-trip flights they take
with their owners (USA Today, 2005).
This growth in dog-related consumption points to people's
heightened involvement with their dogs. The increased amount
of time, energy, effort, and money that people spend in
providing for their dogs results in significant lifestyle changes
for dog owners. According to a recent marketing study, these
findings are particularly true for women, baby boomers, and
higher income households (Dotson and Hyatt, 2003). For an
increasing number of Americans, dogs are playing a central role
in their lives, much akin to the role played by children, and are
profoundly affecting people's lifestyles (Dotson and Hyatt,
2003). As marketers once discovered, if they did not make
allowances for children, families went out less and spent less.
Consumers said, If the kids aren't welcome, we'll just stay
home.The same could be said regarding dog-owning house-
holds today. Innovative marketers are responding by developing
creative accommodations and a wider variety of activities
available for dog-owning households.
3. Background
Quite a bit of academic research exists on the doghuman
relationship. Fox (1981) reports four categories of such
relationships: object-oriented (with the dog as possession),
utilitarian/exploitative (with the dog providing benefits to the
human), need-dependency (with the dog as companion or child
surrogate), and actualizing (with the dog as a respected
significant other). He goes on to report the scientific evidence
that dogs have emotions like fear, pain, jealousy, anxiety, guilt,
joy, depression, and anger and that the brain centers for such
states are virtually identical in human and dog (Fox, 1981).
Katcher (1981) says that 99% of people talk to their animals
and believe they understand to a degree. He says that in most
458 M.J. Dotson, E.M. Hyatt / Journal of Business Research 61 (2008) 457466
cases, pet owners use Mothereseor baby talk (a simplified
form of language used to help children understand and learn to
speak). Katcher believes that the bias against sentimentality in
science has blinded researchers' perceptions of the significant,
distinctive role that pets play in people's lives and that we must
recognize this relationship as one that augments relationships
with other humans. Perin (1981) goes so far as to assert that
dogs are a symbol of our own memory of that magical once-in-
a-lifetime bondwe shared with our mothers. She says people
have dogs for the satisfaction of giving and receiving complete
and total love and devotion,which is why dogs are idealized in
modern society.
In an extensive qualitative sociological study Sanders (1993)
finds that dog owners, based on intimate interactions with their
dogs, come to regard them as unique individuals who are
minded, empathetic, reciprocating, and well-aware of the basic
rules and roles that govern the relationship.Dog owners see
their dogs as consciously behaving so as to achieve certain goals
in the relationship. In short, dogs are seen as taking the role of
the otherin their relationship with their owners, which
requires owners in turn to take the role of the animal otherin
order to participate in the activities and rituals that make up the
relationship (Sanders, 1993).
Other research shows that dogs serve important human-to-
human social functions as well. One participant observational
study at a public park documents dogs' role in exposing their
human companions to encounters with strangers (Robins et al.,
1991). This study shows that dogs serve to facilitate interaction
among the previously unacquainted and to establish trust among
the newly acquainted. Another study finds that the roles pets
play in owners' lives serve three major social functions: the
projective function (where the pet serves as a symbolic
extension of the social self), the sociability function (where
the pet facilitates interpersonal interaction by acting as social
lubricant), and the surrogate function (where the presence of the
pet, who is anthropomorphized, serves as a surrogate for human
companionship) (Veevers, 1985). With the pet existing at the
same standard of living as its owner, keeping a pet becomes a
way of indulging and being good to oneself. Veevers (1985)
uses terms such as Dogdom,which refers to people who are
interested in dogs (and that interest provides many social
contacts), and Doggerel,a kind of baby talk or talking to
oneself out loud without expecting a verbal response, to
describe the special relationships people have with their dogs.
The consumer-behavior literature includes several definitive
pet-ownership studies. These studies employ qualitative
research methods and are largely anthropological in nature,
but shed great light on the nature of the humanpet bond. One
consumer study seeks to explain the American passion for
keeping animals as pets. Hirschman (1994) suggests six reasons
for pet ownership:
1. animals as objects in the consumer's environment represent-
ing an extension of the owner
2. animals as ornaments wherein the animal is kept for its
aesthetic value
3. animals as status symbols
4. animals as avocations, such as those individuals who exhibit
or show their pets
5. animals as equipment whose use facilitates performance of
other functions, such as the use of animals as protectors,
guides, search and rescue animals, and therapy animals
6. animals as people, the most common reason, where the animal
has the role of companion, friend, family member, sibling, or
childHirschman goes on to explain the nature of animals as
companions. Through depth interviews of pet owners, she
describes how pets are seen as friends, family members, and
extensions of self.
In a qualitative study with high involvement pet owners,
Belk (1996) finds four main metaphors that can be used to
describe the humanpet relationship. These are:
1. Pets as pleasure and problems
2. Pets as extensions of self
3. Pets as members of the family, especially like children
4. Pets as toys, representing control over natureBelk goes on to
describe the mixed nature of the above metaphors, with pets
acting as possessions producing playful pleasures (like toys),
but with many of the characteristics and rights of human family
members. However, they are still less than fully-adult (or even
future-adult) humans. Still, people's highly personal relation-
ships with pets are non-replaceable, and owners grieve and
experience a loss of self when a pet passes away. Also, pet
ownership presents the wild, dirty, messy, and chaotic aspects
of animals in contrast with the tame, clean, orderly human
condition. Belk concludes that pets represent a divided sense of
self that reflects the way folks see themselves in today's world.
Holbrook et al. (2001) take a different approach and conclude
that pets represent not just self-extending possessions or
companions, but instead provide a series of consumption
opportunities. These consumption experiences are above the
domain explored by most marketing and consumer research, with
pet-related consumption belonging to the sphere of sacred
consumption,in which much-loved animal companions are part
of consumers' most private moments and are treated as family
members. Accordingly, Holbrook et al. suggest seven themes that
describe the opportunities that pets bring to human consumers:
1. the opportunity to appreciate nature and appreciate wildlife
2. the opportunity for inspiration and learning
3. the opportunity to be childlike and playful
4. the opportunity to be altruistic and nurturant
5. the opportunity for companionship, caring, comfort, and/or
6. the opportunity to be a parent
7. the opportunity to strengthen bonds with other humans
In addition to these themes, this research further states that the
dynamics of animal companionship appear to go far beyond the
confines of anything that we might normally associate with
material possessions. Consumers bond with their animal
companions in ways that resemble human relationships and
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share a deep awareness that their relationship with one or more
animal companions is an end in itself(Holbrook et al., 2001). In
an earlier self-reflexive study of his own personal relationship
with his cat Rocky, Holbrook (1996) states that his cat is able to
transform the shared life of consumption into something truly
extraordinary and even magical.
So while the special sacred nature of the doghuman
relationship has been qualitatively studied and while expendi-
tures on dogs and ownership statistics are well-documented, no
quantitative empirical studies of the dog-companionship
experience and the nature of its underlying dimensions exist.
The current study attempts to fill this gap by identifying the
dimensions comprising the humandog relationship and by
investigating the factors that mitigate such dimensions.
4. Method
4.1. Sample and data-collection procedures
The sample consists of 749 dog owners who filled out a self-
administered questionnaire in a mall-intercept setting (424
respondents), a veterinarian waiting-room setting (219 respon-
dents across five vet offices), or a dog-owning Internet-
discussion-group setting (106 respondents). This convenience
sample of dog owners ensures that a wide range of dog owners'
opinions and behaviors are included in this study.
4.2. The survey instrument
The survey instrument contained fifty-seven Likert-scaled
questions designed to measure various aspects of the dog-
companionship experience, including both aspects of the dog
human relationship and dog-related consumption. A majority of
these statements came from a prior study on dog-related
consumer behavior (Dotson and Hyatt, 2003), an exploratory
study that used dog-owner focus groups to look into the nature
of dog ownership including attitudes toward dog ownership,
activities resulting from dog ownership (with a particular focus
on marketplace activities), and expenditures arising from dog
ownership. Questionnaire items were also chosen to represent
the full range of conceptual reasons and behavioral dimensions
that underlie dog ownership, as described in the literature
investigating pet ownership. The balance of the statements in
this study were added based upon additional focus-group
interviews with dog owners. The purpose of conducting these
additional focus groups was to allow people to discuss in more
depth their relationships with their dogs and a fuller range of the
feelings and behaviors such relationships engender. All
participants in these five focus groups (which lasted approxi-
mately 90 min with 710 participants in each group) were self-
identified dog owners. Each of the 57 survey items employed a
five-point Likert scale format where 5 = strongly agreeand
1=strongly disagree.
Based on past research, focus groups, and personal
experience, the authors suspected that interpersonal influence
might also play a role in the consumption behaviors related to
dog companionship. So Lennox and Wolfe's (1984) Attention
to Social Comparison Information (ATSCI) scale was included
on the questionnaire. This reflects Bearden and Rose's (1990)
finding that social influence on consumer behavior is moderated
by the extent of consumer sensitivity to social comparison
The survey also included a series of classification questions
in order to probe more deeply into respondents' patterns of dog
companionship number of dogs in the household, whether
the dog is a purebred or a mixed breed, and respondents'
behavioral interaction with their dogs such as the amount of
quality timespent with these pets. The instrument concluded
with eight demographic questions.
4.3. Analysis
The method of analysis used was exploratory factor analysis
with VARIMAX rotation on the 57 Likert-type questionnaire
items. A 12-factor solution initially emerged. Only the first
seven factors could be meaningfully interpreted and explained a
significant amount of variance in the data. Therefore, in the
interest of face validity and simplicity, the seven-factor solution
was used. Items that did not distinctly load on these seven
factors are excluded from further analysis. In addition Multiple
Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) was conducted using both
demographic and dog-related variables as independent variables
and the seven dimensions as dependent variables.
As basic sample characteristics, 51% of the respondents are
female, 49% male; 58% are married, 42% unmarried; 28% have
children living at home, 71% not. The median age of the sample
is 43, and the median income is $50,000. The average number
of dogs per household is 1.9. Of these dogs, 51% are purebred,
49% mixed breeds. The median number of years that the sample
members have been dog owners is eight years.
5. Results
5.1. Dimensions of the dog-companionship experience
The exploratory factor analysis produced a seven-factor
solution that accounts for 70% of the variation in the data.
Table 1 reports the variables included in each of the seven
dimensions of dog companionship that emerged, along with
associated reliabilities. The coefficient alphas for all seven
dimensions are greater than the 0.6 cutoff score suggested by
Nunnally (1978) for exploratory research. These results show
that dog companionship is a complex, multi-faceted phenom-
enon, in which various dog owners might possess varying levels
of the different dimensions.
The first dimension, Symbiotic Relationship (eigenvalue =
16.04), describes the mutually beneficial bond between person
and dog. This component is a combination of enjoying the
nurturing component of having a dog along with the benefits
received by both parties. In such a relationship, the human is
happier, less stressed, less lonely, safer, and calmer, while the
dog is treated as a child/person who is fed, cared for, and
psychologically nurtured. This dimension ties into many of the
findings from the literature stated earlier regarding the benefits
460 M.J. Dotson, E.M. Hyatt / Journal of Business Research 61 (2008) 457466
humans receive from having pets, but adds the notion that dogs
also receive important benefits from the interaction with
humans. This dimension relates closely to earlier qualitative
research findings. Holbrook et al.'s (2001) consumption
opportunities of being able to be altruistic and nurturant, as
well as to gain caring and comfort from the animal seem most
highly related to this dimension, as does the emotional
involvement factor in Dotson and Hyatt (2003). Someone
who scores high on this dimension is highly affectively
involved with her/his dog and will expend more energy and
effort taking care of the dog.
The second dimension, Dog-Oriented Self Concept (eigen-
value = 2.53), focuses on the importance of the dog(s) to the
human's self-concept and social self. The dog is both an
extension of self and the human's best friend. Here, the person
perhaps spends less time with other people in general due to her/
his relationship with her/his dog but seems to have a better
relationship with other dog peopleand with those willing to
accept the dog as a part of the owner. In earlier research,
Hirschman (1994) discusses the concept of pets as extensions of
their owners, in which owners project their self-identity onto
their pets and in which their pets are seen as extensions of ego
and act as a form of self-definition for example, when a
macho guyacquires a big, tough dog to assert his masculinity.
However, Hirschman does not explore the importance of a dog
as best friend and the role this plays in defining how the person
lives her/his life and sees her/himself. The Holbrook et al.'s
(2001) study merely points out the opportunity to strengthen
bonds with other humans that is gained from pet ownership. The
Dog-Oriented Self Concept is a more holistic, profound
construct than that found in earlier research. Dog owners who
score high on this dimension are likely to see themselves as dog
people,and their dogs will play more central roles in their lives.
In the third dimension, Anthropomorphism (eigenvalue =
1.9), the dog is seen as more of a person and less of an animal.
The dog is perceived as a child surrogate or as part of the family,
who can be communicated with much like another human. Here,
the dog owner has opportunities to learn from the dog. This
dimension corresponds closely with both Hirschman's and
Holbrook et al.'s conceptualization of the pet as child surrogate
Table 1
Variables included in dog-companionship dimensions and associated reliabilities
Anthropomorphism Activity/youth Boundaries Specialty purchases Willingness to
a= .92 a= .81 a= .87 a= .79 a= .84 a= .88 a= .71
I treat my dog as a
My dog is my best
I see dogs as more
like people than
wild animals
I can't imagine a
household without
I allow my dog
to sit on the
I purchase items
online for my dog
Owning a dog has
affected my choice
of living space
When I am feeling
stressed, being
with my dog
calms me down
Spending time with my
dog(s) prevents me from
spending as much time
with other humans
I feel like I can
with my dogs.
I feel like a kid
when I'm playing
with my dogs
I like having my
dog sleep on the
bed with me
I am loyal to certain
dog food brands
Owning a dog has
changed my grocery
shopping habits
Dogs make the
world a place
for me
My dog(s) have helped
me develop better
relationships with
other people
My dog is a part
of my family
My dog keeps me
My dog is allowed
anywhere I in the
I purchase luxury
items for my dog
I purchase medical
supplies regularly
for my dog
I am a happier
person because
of my dog
I would not be willing to
establish a relationship with
someone who was not
willing to accept my dog
My dog is like a
child to me
Having a dog
forces me to
exercise more
I cook meals
specifically For
my dog
Owning a dog has
affected the setup of
my home
I feel emotionally
attached to my
My dog is an extension
of myself
I learn a lot from
my dogs
I travel with my
Owning a dog has
affected the setup of
my outdoor property
I enjoy feeding and
caring for another
living being
I have the same
as a parent when
it comes to taking
care of my dog
I purchase items
for my Dogs on
My dog keeps me
from feeling
I purchase items for
my dogs from
Having a dog makes
me feel safer
I try to shop around
for things for my dog
Having a dog is like
having a child
living at home
I am willing to go out
of my way to find
special products for my
My dog's psychological
well-being is an
important concern to
Price is no object when
comes to buying my
dog something that he
461M.J. Dotson, E.M. Hyatt / Journal of Business Research 61 (2008) 457466
and/or beloved family member with sacred human status and
with Belk's (1996) idea of the pet as child with family-member
status. The dog owner who scores high on this dimension
probably talks to her/his dog, possibly in Mothereseor
Doggerel,and makes a greater attempt to understand where
the dog is coming from.
The fourth dimension, Activity/Youth (eigenvalue = 1.84),
focuses on the increased activity levels of the person due to dog-
ownership, where the person feels young or like a kid and is
more physically active. This dimension corresponds with
Holbrook et al.'s childlike and playfulnesstheme and suggests
that dogs may serve as the catalyst to remove people's inertia and
to make them more physically active. This dimension is the most
utilitarian aspect of pet ownership, in which humans receive the
benefits of increased exercise and, presumably, better health.
Dog owners who score high on this dimension tend to play with
their dogs more and, therefore, create opportunities to engage in
physical activities with their dogs, such as taking them to dog
parks, walking trails, or vacation sites.
The fifth dimension, Boundaries (eigenvalue =1.32), describes
the lack of limits imposed on the dog by her/his owners. This
factor reflects the appropriateness of letting a dog havefree run of
the household or of not setting boundaries, such as allowing the
dog to sleep on the bed or to get on the furniture. A higher score
means that fewer boundaries are set. Belk (1996) addresses the
messy, disorderly aspects of pet ownership, which lead to
people's needs to set boundaries between this and the cleaner
more orderly human condition. The recent dog-related consumer-
behavior study by Dotson and Hyatt (2003) finds that humans
who share the bed with their dogs are more likely to be more
emotionally involved with their dogs, more willing to make
special arrangements to accommodate their dogs, and more
willing to expend shopping efforts on their dogs. People who
score high on this dimension have fewer rules for their dogs and
prefer the closeness they get from sharing their space with their
dogs to the greater orderliness of the house with more boundaries.
The sixt h dimension, Specialty Purchases (eigenvalue = 1.3),
describes the extent to which people are willing to make a
special effort to acquire products for their dogs. This component
relates to the specialty status of both the shopping behaviors and
the dog-related products that are purchased. Shopping behaviors
include shopping online and with catalogs, being willing to
shop around, buying on impulse, brand loyalty, and shopping
with price being no object. Specialty products include brand-
name foods, luxury items, home-cooked meals, and travel. This
dimension focuses on commercial consumption opportunities
that are brought about by a higher level of involvement with
products and that are in turn triggered by a higher levels of
involvement with one's dog. Someone who scores high on this
dimension probably receives specialty pet-related catalogs in
the mail, has favorite pet-related websites, and visits specialty
pet stores locally and while traveling. This person is fueling the
growing specialty dog-related market described above.
The final dimension, Willingness to Adapt (eigenvalue= 1.08),
refers to people's readiness to change their patterns of living and
consuming to accommodate their dogs. Choice of living space,
home, or outdoor set-up and choice of vehicles are altered due to
the presence of the dog. These dog-owning consumers are also
willing to change grocery- and medical-supply shopping behavior
for their dogs. This dimension suggests that dog-related consumer
behavior goes far beyond the mere purchase of dog-related
products, much as the presence of children in the home affects
much more than the purchase of children's products. The
introduction of a dog into a household reflects a significant change
in lifestyle. The dog owner who scores high on this dimension
considers the dog in many household purchases and arrangements.
These seven dimensions reflect not only the benefits and
opportunities dogs bring to humans, but also a holistic and
comprehensive view of what it means to include a dog as a
member of the family or household.
5.2. Variables related to the dog-companionship dimensions
Dog owners can possess high or low levels of the dog-
companionship dimensions, often associated with personal
descriptors, such as level of social comparison, demographic
characteristics, and variables related to dog ownership. This
study investigates those relationships.
5.2.1. Social comparison
In order to investigate the moderating effect of attention to
social comparison information, respondents were divided into
categories of low or high via the median-split method
(Bearden and Rose, 1990) based on their responses to the
ATSCI scale. Those who score high are more likely to
compare themselves to others and adjust their behavior
accordingly, while those with low scores are less likely to do
so. The authors hypothesize that dog owners who are less
worried about what other people are doing and thinking are
likely to score higher on the dimensions of dog ownership
they are likely to be more into dogs and less into people. The
overall model, with social comparison as the independent
variable and the seven dimensions of dog ownership as the
dependent variables, produces a Wilks' lambda of .975
(F= 2.598, pb.01). Univariate results show that low social
comparison dog owners do score higher on the Activity/Youth
dimension (3.65 versus 3.49, F= 4.74, p= .03) and on the
Boundaries dimension (3.27 versus 3.00, F= 6.36, p= .01).
This makes sense given that those dog owners less concerned
with other humans may be more willing to be childlike with
their dogs and to let their dogs into their personal spaces. No
significant differences are found on the other dog-compan-
ionship dimensions.
5.2.2. Gender
Based on previous research (Dotson and Hyatt, 2003;
Thurston, 1996) and on current statistics that show women as
the primary caregivers for dogs in 72.6% of US households
(US Pet Ownership and Demographic Sourcebook, 2002), it
is intuitive that women will score higher on all the
dimensions of dog companionship. MANOVA results confirm
this expectation with a Wilks' lambda of .897 (F= 11.46,
pb.000) and significance across all seven dimensions, as
illustrated in Table 2. Results show that women have a greater
462 M.J. Dotson, E.M. Hyatt / Journal of Business Research 61 (2008) 457466
tendency than males to embrace the dog-companionship
experience across all of its underlying dimensions.
5.2.3. Income
Another prediction based on previous research (Dotson and
Hyatt, 2003) is that higher income households and baby
boomers will score higher on the consumption-related dimen-
sions of Specialty Purchases and Willingness to Adapt. Though
the overall model produced a significant Wilks' lambda
(F= .891, p= .003), no such systematic relationship between
income levels and these dimensions is found, except that
according to post hoc range tests, households making more than
$25,000 per year score higher than low-income households on
Specialty Purchases (F= 2.14, p= .05). This might simply be a
matter of financial resources available.
5.2.4. Age
Comparing the dimensions across age categories again
produces a significant overall model with a Wilks' lambda of
.84 (F= 4.52, pb.000). A summary of univariate results appears
in Table 3. According to post hoc range test results, those
respondents under age 35 report higher levels of Symbiotic
Relationship than do other groups in the sample (p= .04),
indicating that young dog owners are significantly more
beneficially bonded with their dogs. Curiously, respondents in
the over-65 group score lowest on the Anthropomorphic
dimension (pb.000). Individuals over 50 appear most likely to
establish Boundaries for their dogs (p= .02). Respondents in the
2635 age group report the greatest Willingness to Adapt their
lifestyles to accommodate their dogs (p= .04). Respondents in
the over-65 age group are least likely to be willing to adapt
(p= .03). So older consumers score lowest across most
dimensions of dog companionship. Maybe the more recent
societal phenomenon of increased involvement with and
indulgence of dogs has impacted the younger folks more heavily.
5.2.5. Marital status
Intuitively, one might think that unmarried people would be
more likely to own dogs as companions and to have more
personal time to devote to their dogs. However, only 21.5% of
singles own dogs in the US, compared to 36% of married folks
(US Pet Ownership and Demographic Sourcebook, 2002). Also,
past research has shown that marital status does not figure
prominently in doghuman relationships (Dotson and Hyatt,
2003). Results here show that marital status, although
producing a significant overall model with a Wilks' lambda of
.973 (F= 2.82, p= .007), appears to affect the dimensions only
minimally. Univariate analysis suggests that unmarried respon-
dents report a higher level of Symbiotic Relationship with their
companions than do married respondents (3.90 versus 3.70,
F= 10.86, pb.001). Likewise unmarrieds report lower levels of
Setting Boundaries than marrieds (3.25 versus 3.05, F= 3.83,
pb.05). Perhaps single dog owners simply have more space in
their homes and hearts for their dogs.
5.2.6. Presence of children
The presence of children in a household would seem to
impact interaction with canine members of the household. This
analysis again produced a significant Wilks' lambda of .967
(F=3.45, pb.001). The univariate analysis shows three
significant results and one marginally significant result, which
appear in Table 4. Respondents without children score higher on
the Activity/Youth dimension, have a higher Dog-Oriented Self-
Concept, and are more likely to make Specialty Purchases than
are respondents who have children. However, they also report
higher levels of Boundary setting. It seems that if the reason dog
owners without children score higher on several dimensions is
that they see their dogs as child surrogates, they would also
score higher on Anthropomorphism. Instead, they see their dogs
more as animal companions than as children.
Table 2
Univariate mean comparisons of significant dog-companionship dimensions by
Variable Males Females Fp
Symbiotic 3.56 3.95 50.13 .000
Anthropomorphic 3.52 4.07 78.34 .000
Active/youth 3.37 3.75 32.90 .000
Boundaries 2.94 3.32 14.40 .000
Dog-Oriented Self-Concept 2.61 3.04 18.46 .000
Specialty purchases 2.62 2.96 23.80 .000
Willingness to Adapt 2.97 3.28 21.99 .000
Table 3
Univariate mean comparison of significant dog-companionship dimensions by
Variable b25 2635 3650 5165 N65 Fp
Symbiotic 3.86 3.98 3.77 3.65 3.55 3.92 .004
Anthropomorphic 3.83 3.99 3.78 3.89 3.16 6.87 .000
Boundaries 3.21 3.45 3.86 2.94 2.89 7.05 .000
Specialty purchases 2.74 3.03 2.75 2.90 2.48 3.54 .007
Willingness to Adapt 3.30 3.47 3.27 3.19 3.05 2.37 .05
Table 4
Univariate mean comparison of significant dog-companionship dimensions by
presence of children
Variable Children No. children Fp
Active/youth 3.35 3.65 15.81 .000
Boundaries 3.24 2.87 9.21 .002
Dog-Oriented Self-Concept 2.68 2.94 11.70 .001
Specialty purchases 2.68 2.83 3.01 .06
Table 5
Univariate mean comparison of significant dog-companionship dimensions by
Variable bH.S. H.S. Some
Symbiotic 3.45 3.61 3.94 3.83 3.93 6.85 .000
Anthropomorphic 3.06 3.64 3.90 3.92 3.96 9.34 .000
Active/youth 3.32 3.35 3.60 3.66 3.59 2.68 .03
Boundaries 3.92 2.80 3.05 3.05 3.23 4.66 .001
2.43 2.63 2.84 2.85 2.92 2.63 .03
Willingness to
2.88 2.92 3.17 3.13 3.59 5.43 .000
463M.J. Dotson, E.M. Hyatt / Journal of Business Research 61 (2008) 457466
5.2.7. Education
The education variable again produces a significant overall
model with a Wilks' lambda of .826 (F= 4.89, pb.000). The
univariate results, displayed in Tabl e 5 ,revealsome
interesting patterns. According to post hoc range test results,
some level of college/university experience appears to have
influenced respondents' relationships with their dogs. Respon-
dents with some level of college education (or more) have a
significantly higher level of Symbiotic Relationship with their
dogs than do respondents with no college experience
(pb.000). The same is true for the Anthropomorphism
dimension (pb.000), the Activity/Youth dimension (p=.03),
and the Specialty Purchases dimension (p= .01). Curiously,
respondents with less than a high school diploma have the
highest scores on the Boundaries dimension (meaning they set
fewer boundaries) (pb.000), while respondents who have
completed high school have the lowest score on this
dimension (pb.000). Finally, respondents with graduate
degrees have the highest scores on the Willingness to Adapt
dimension (p= .004).
5.2.8. Dog-related variables
The last three variables selected for analysis focus more
closely on the humandog relationship. First differences that
might emerge depending on the dog's pedigree purebred
versus mixed breed are examined. While the overall model
produced a significant result with Wilks' lambda = .977
(F= 2.18, p= .04), only three dimensions are significant in
the univariate tests. These results are quite consistent. Owners
of pure bred dogs report higher Boundaries dimension scores
than owners of mixed breeds (3.24 versus 3.02, F= 4.10,
p= .04). They also have higher Dog-Oriented Self-Concept
scores (2.90 versus 2.73, F=6.23, p=.01) and higher
Willingness to Adapt scores (3.13 versus 3.00, F= 4.86,
p= .03) than owners of mixed breeds.
Respondents in this study own their dogs for a median of
eight years. Comparing the dog-companionship dimensions
with duration of dog ownership produced a significant overall
model with a Wilks' lambda of .86 (F= 3.905, pb.000).
Univariate results appear in Table 6. Post hoc tests show that
the longer one owns a dog, the more pronounced the impact
on the companionship dimensions. Respondents who have
owned their dogs for longer than ten years have the highest
scores on the dimensions of Symbiotic Relationship (pb.000),
Anthropomorphism (pb.000), and Willingness to Adapt
(p= .02). Res pondents who have owned their dogs for less
than a year are less likely to report imposing Boundaries on
their dogs (p= .003).
It makes sense that the amount of quality timeone spends
with one's dog would positively impact the dimensions of
companionship. This analysis, again, produced a significant
overall model with a Wilks' lambda of .759 (F= 2.424,
pb.000). The univariate analyses appearing in Table 7 have
produced a consistent pattern in the dimensional scores that
is, the more quality time one spends with one's dog, the higher
the score produced in each respective dimension. Those
spending more than two hours a day of quality time with their
dogs report significantly higher levels across all dog-compan-
ionship dimensions except Dog-Oriented Self-Concept and
Willingness to Adapt (pb.005 for all significant differences).
6. Discussion
This research represents a step forward in understanding dog
companionship from a consumer-research point of view. While
past qualitative research in and out of the field of consumer
behavior has delved into this important issue and has produced
many meaningful insights, no previous study has examined the
doghuman relationship quantitatively. Here, seven underlying
dimensions that comprise the construct of dog companionship
are identified namely, symbiotic relationship, Dog-Oriented
Self-Concept, anthropomorphism, activity/youth, boundaries,
specialty purchases, and Willingness to Adapt. A dog owner can
score low on one dimension while scoring high on another, and
how much of each dimension a dog owner possesses depends
on various personal characteristics. These dimensions mirror
qualitative findings from earlier consumer-behavior research on
pet ownership, as described in the Results section, but provide a
more comprehensive, holistic, and empirically-supported pic-
ture of dog companionship than has previously been available.
Overwhelmingly, gender of the dog owner makes a consid-
erable difference in the degree of the dog-companionship
experience, with women outscoring men across all dimensions.
Since women are usually the primary caregivers for dogs,
Table 6
Univariate mean comparison of significant dog-companionship dimensions by length of dog ownership
Variable b1 year 13 years 46 years 710 years N10 years Fp
Symbiotic 3.55 3.86 3.63 3.69 3.95 3.97 .003
Anthropomorphic 3.35 3.93 3.65 3.74 4.02 7.18 .000
Active/youth 3.46 3.57 3.49 3.30 3.76 4.94 .001
Boundaries 3.77 3.06 3.01 2.80 3.14 7.05 .000
Willingness to Adapt 2.95 3.19 2.91 3.16 3.26 2.90 .02
Table 7
Univariate mean comparison of significant dog-companionship dimensions by
amount of daily quality time spent with ones dog
Variable b30 min 3160 min 12h N2h Fp
Symbiotic 3.27 3.76 3.87 4.28 32.26 .000
Anthropomorphic 3.13 3.83 3.94 4.35 44.20 .000
Active/youth 3.10 3.57 3.63 4.00 18.56 .000
Boundaries 2.84 2.71 3.19 4.02 25.12 .000
2.51 2.79 3.00 3.22 17.07 .000
Specialty purchases 2.34 2.67 2.92 3.30 28.40 .000
Willingness to Adapt 2.69 3.15 3.23 3.45 20.09 .000
464 M.J. Dotson, E.M. Hyatt / Journal of Business Research 61 (2008) 457466
marketers should focus the bulk of their promotions on this
demographic segment. Unexpectedly, Attention to Social Com-
parison Information (the degree to which people compare
themselves to others) does not have much effect on how strongly
dog owners experience most of the dimensions of dog
companionship. This implies that people's experience of their
relationship with their dogs is largely independent of their social
orientation. Some important questions that arise from this finding
deal with the nature of dog companionship, how it differs from
human companionship, and the resulting consumption patterns.
Who are respondents comparing themselves to other dog
owners or non-dog owners?
Younger people, overall, experience more strongly the
dimensions of dog companionship, possibly due to a genera-
tional effect or perhaps due to more openness to the interspecies
connection and a greater flexibility in their lifestyles. Our results
recall the family life-cycle concept in that both marital status and
the presence of children impact our dimensions. Anecdotal
reports in the popular press indicate as well that trends such as
later childbirth for married couples, later marriages for singles,
and more empty nesters with no kids at home are fueling the dog
craze (Fetterman, 2005). This suggests that marketers should
reformulate the life-cycle conceptualization to include dogs (and
other pets) in the definition of family. Even Proctor & Gamble is
taking steps to profit from the global, not just American, trend
toward treating pets as family members, complete with all the
pampering and new products required by this higher status
such as tartar-control coated dog food adapted from technology
used in the Crest toothpaste line (Brady, 2005).
Respondents with some exposure to a university education
are more likely to embrace the concept of the humandog
relationship and to see dogs as companions rather than as pets to
be owned. Promotional messages directed at the more educated
segment should reflect this language. Different demographic
segments possess different dog-companionship profiles that
could be utilized by marketers in their segmentation strategies.
Variables related to dog ownership such as whether one's
dog is purebred, how long one has owned the dog, and how
much quality time one spends with the dog have a strong
impact on the experience of the underlying dog-companionship
dimensions. Dog owners who have purebreds show a
meaningful increase in dedication to their dogs, as do those
who have experienced their relationship with their dogs for over
ten years and those who spend more than two hours of quality
time with their dogs daily. The greater financial and emotional
investments by these groups in their dogs and in their
relationships with their dogs have increased the level at which
they experience the joys of dog companionship.
7. Limitations and future research
One limitation to this research is that the bulk of the sample
comes from the Southeastern US, which has a higher than average
dog population compared to the rest of the country (US Pet
Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, 2002) and which
might be systematically related to how people in the region
experience canine companionship. Another limitation stems from
the manner in which the sample was obtained. In order to draw
upon the broadest possible range of dog owners, respondents
came from three sources the Internet, mall intercepts, and
veterinarians' offices. All three sources of respondents are subject
to similar convenience and self-selection issues, which do not
allow a response-rate calculation nor comparison between groups.
It is likely that all respondents, however drawn, suffer from equal
levels of time pressure and exhibit similar levels of involvement
with the survey process. There is, unfortunately, no way to
quantitatively evaluate this issue.
Another limitation to this research is that, because the survey
instrument does not include appropriate measures, the prediction
of consumer-spending patterns that follow from the dimensions
is not discernable. Further research using causal modeling
methods is likely to shed much light on these questions.
Motivational studies that explore the reasons behind the
purchases people make with their dogs in mind would aid in
understanding dog-companionship dimensions and related con-
sumer-behavior patterns. For example, what specifically are they
doing to adapt their households and lifestyles to accommodate
their relationships with their dogs, and what are their reasons
behind purchasing various products? Are people striving to be
more or less inclusive of their dogs in their daily lives? Are they
trying to make things easier for themselves or more comfortable
for their dogs? Are their decisions based on personal preferences
or expert recommendations or social acceptability? Understand-
ing such motivations would enable marketers to tap into them in
promotional and segmentation strategies. Also, are such adjust-
ments and/or motivations different for other less messy pets, such
as cats? In addition, is the experience of dog companionship
different for dog enthusiasts such as those who breed and show
dogs? Would their scores on the dimensions uncovered here occur
at exaggerated levels? If so, what would this tell us about the dog-
companionship dimensions?
Future research efforts should also investigate comparisons
between pet owners and non-pet owners. Are there systematic
differences between these two populations, and if such
differences are found, are they psychological, sociological,
and/or motivational in nature? How do highly-involved dog
owners differ in their treatments of and interactions with their
dogs compared to parents and their children? Though many
such important questions remain unanswered, this paper brings
us a little bit closer to understanding the doghuman bond from
a consumer-behavior perspective.
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... Owning a dog can provide emotional benefits and improve one's physical and mental health [2][3][4]. Dog owners care deeply for their pets and treat them as family members, which is evidenced by the increased pet-related expenditure on things such as pet food, veterinary service, training, and pet-sitting [5]. Therefore, maintaining health and expanding the lifespan of dogs could be of significant interest to owners. ...
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Softening dry food with water is believed to be more beneficial to the intestinal health and nutrients absorption of dogs by some owners, but there appears to be little scientific basis for this belief. Thus, this study aimed to compare feeding dry food (DF) and water-softened dry food (SDF) on stress response, intestinal microbiome, and metabolic profile in dogs. Twenty healthy 5-month-old beagle dogs were selected and divided into two groups according to their gender and body weight using a completely randomized block design. Both groups were fed the same basal diet, with one group fed DF and the other fed SDF. The trial lasted for 21 days. The apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of nutrients, inflammatory cytokines, stress hormones, heat shock protein-70 (HSP-70), fecal microbiota, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), branch-chain fatty acids (BCFAs), and metabolomics were measured. Results showed that there was no significant difference in body weight, ATTD, and SCFAs between the DF and SDF groups (p > 0.05), whereas feeding with SDF caused a significant increase in serum cortisol level (p < 0.05) and tended to have higher interleukin-2 (p = 0.062) and HSP-70 (p = 0.097) levels. Fecal 16S rRNA gene sequencing found that the SDF group had higher alpha diversity indices (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the SDF group had higher levels of Streptococcus, Enterococcus, and Escherichia_Shigella, and lower levels of Faecalibacterium (p < 0.05). Serum and fecal metabolomics further showed that feeding with SDF significantly influenced the purine metabolism, riboflavin metabolism, and arginine and proline metabolism (p < 0.05). Overall, feeding with SDF caused higher cortisol level and generated effects of higher intestinal microbial diversity in dogs, but it caused an increase in some pathogenic bacteria, which may result in intestinal microbiome disturbance and metabolic disorder in dogs. In conclusion, feeding with SDF did not provide digestive benefits but caused some stress and posed a potential threat to the intestinal health of dogs. Thus, SDF is not recommended in the feeding of dogs.
... SD = 2.73). We included only women because they feel less safe than men (Blöbaum & Hunecke, 2005;Boomsma & Steg, 2014) and seem to benefit more from the presence of a dog in terms of the sense of safety (Christian et al., 2016) Further, women have a greater tendency than males to embrace dog companionship experience across underlying dimensions such as symbiotic relationship (i.e., the mutually beneficial bond between person and dog) (Dotson & Hyatt, 2008). ...
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Research shows that dogs enhance safety-related social attributes of the individuals whom they accompany. We aimed to expand previous results by examining, in a sample of undergraduate women, the ability of dogs to improve people’s social image in various emotional contexts. Participants (n = 281) assessed the safety-related attributes of a man and a woman depicted alone or accompanied by a dog in threatening and safe contexts. Using semantic differential scales, they were assessed in safety-related attributes that have been shown to be affected by threatening situations and modulated by the presence of a dog: aggressive–nonaggressive, untrustworthy–trustworthy, unfriendly–friendly, and dangerous–harmless. The results indicated that the man (i.e., high-aversive scenes) and woman (i.e., low-aversive scenes) in threatening scenes benefitted from the presence of a dog; they were perceived as less aggressive, more trustworthy, friendly, and harmless when walking with a dog compared with the alone condition. In safe contexts, the man (i.e., low-positive scenes) was also perceived more favorably by the participants when portrayed with a dog (vs. alone); however, the woman (i.e., high-positive scenes) was similarly perceived when alone and when accompanied by a dog, according to the results for the majority of the social perception scales, which indicates a ceiling effect. Overall, the results show that the presence of a dog affects the perception that women have of the owner’s safety-related image in aversive and low-positive contexts; however, dogs do not enhance the already favorable perceptions of owners in high-positive scenes. These findings indicate that the effect of the presence of a dog on individuals’ social image is affected by the emotionality of the context in which they are portrayed.
Purpose Pet-friendly hotels are growing rapidly. The prevalence of pet adoption has largely resulted from the loneliness due to social distancing that happened during the Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Many hotels around the world aim to become pet-friendly to satisfy the growing demand. Hoteliers believe that the popularity of pet-friendly hotels will continue, as pet owners often treat pets as their kids. This study aims to investigate how pet-friendly hotels need to design and manage pet-friendly services and policies. Design/methodology/approach Using grounded theory methodology, this research conducts interviews with 25 pet-friendly hotel managers from Hong Kong (HK). The study includes hotels from different hotel categories and classifications. It examines the conceptualization of pet-friendly service design, drawing on a service blueprint. Findings Building on the service marketing and service blueprint literature, this research provides a synthesis that reflects how pet-friendly hotels can serve both guests with and without pets. The findings reveal that pet-owner’s service expectations are formed on anthropomorphism, that is, an inclination of attributing human features to nonhuman entity. Hotel managers, and particular those who have pets personally understand better how pet-friendly service can be adapted to meet the expectations and requirements of pet owners while accommodating guests without pets. The market of pet-friendly hospitality is growing, with high profit potential from pet owners who are willing to spend generously. Research limitations/implications Data were collected from selected pet-friendly hotels in HK through interviews with pet-friendly service providers. The research is qualitative and exploratory in nature. It aims to explore and examine the multilevel pet-friendly hospitality service design from a managerial perspective. This research enriches the literature on anthropomorphism theory, the design of pet-friendly services and the application of service blueprint. Practical implications The research offers explicit suggestions for the design of pet-friendly hospitality services. A pet-friendly hotel service blueprint is developed. This can help managers to develop essential pet-friendly policies and service collaborations between internal departments and with external specialist organizations, maximizing the value for all stakeholders. Originality/value The study explores a rapidly emerging market and scrutinizes its specific design requirements. It extends theoretical insights by enriching the anthropomorphism theory and broadening the conceptualizations of service blueprint based on anthropomorphism theory.
Tiergestützte Interventionen haben in den letzten Jahren in der psychosozialen Arbeit stark an Gewicht gewonnen, die wissenschaftliche Fundierung jedoch steckt noch in den Kinderschuhen, und die Ausformulierung einzelner Interventionsformen, Set- tings und Zielgruppen steht nach wie vor aus. Dies gilt auch für das Praxisfeld der stationären Jugendhilfe, obwohl gerade dort bereits eine Reihe von anspornenden Praxiserfahrungen vorliegt. In einem mehrjährigen Praxisforschungsprojekt wurde ein manualisiertes trauma- und gendersensibles hundegestütztes Interventionsprogramm für Therapeutische Jugendwohngruppen entwickelt. Das „Berliner Schnauzen“-Programm wurde in der Pilotphase in mehreren Wohngruppen in Berlin und Brandenburg erfolgreich durch- geführt, und die Wirkungen wurden in einer großen Begleitstudie evaluiert. In die- sem Buch werden Konzept und Durchführung der tiergestützten Interventionen, not- wendige Gelingensbedingungen sowie die vielfältigen Wirkpotenziale für psychisch hoch belastete Jugendliche umfassend und differenziert vorgestellt.
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This article focuses on the criteria used by dog owners to define their animals as minded individuals with whom they maintain viable and satisfying social relationships. The discussion is based on field data drawn from a study in a veterinary clinic, interviews with dog owners, and autoethnographic materials compiled by the author as he observed and interacted with his own dogs. Special attention is directed at caretakers' understandings of their dogs' thought processes, emotional experiences, and unique personalities. The significance of investigations of animal-human interaction to enlarging sociological views of mindedness and the construction of social identities is emphasized.
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This article reports a case study of dogs' contributions to interaction and the development of relationships among unacquainted persons. The study examines dynamics of inclusion among dog owners at a public park and is based on participant observation of those processes. That examination reveals that dogs expose their human companions in public places to encounters with strangers, facilitate interaction among the previously unacquainted, and help establish trust among the newly acquainted. It also demonstrates that dogs' participation in public life is of some importance to their human participants.
"(Tuan) does a masterful job exploring the condescending human treatment of animals as 'playthings' that exist only for our entertainment. He charts the malevolent history of male domination over women and children and the sad chronicle of slaves, dwarfs and other 'freaks' treated as human appliances or toys. This provocative study of power in the world of pleasure, play and art is a tour de force." -Cultural Information Service "A brilliant book that will appeal to a wide audience. The volume provides excellent material for school and college seminar debates on humankind's place in nature and attitudes toward other living things. . . . (A) penetrating analysis. . . . Readable at all levels."-Choice.
Using depth interviews and participant observation, the predominant metaphors that emerge in pet owners' relationships with theiranimals are pets as pleasures, problems, parts of self, members of the family, and toys. These metaphors as well as patterns of interacting with and accounting for pets, suggest vacillation between viewing companion animals as human and civilized and viewing them as animalistic and chaotic. It is argued that these views comprise a mixed metaphor needed to more fully understand our fascination with pets.
This paper applies an approach that the author calls Subjective Personal Introspection (SPI) to the self-reflective examination, inward-looking understanding, and impressionistic evocation of his own consumption experiences as the keeper of a kitten named Rocky Raccoon. Three-dimensional photographs in the form of stereo pairs provide corroborative evidence for the interpretations suggested. In this reflexive, anecdotal, narrative account, Rocky the Cat emerges as a focal point in the author's experiential consumption.
Suggests that when companion animals interact closely with people, the roles they play can be categorized in terms of 3 functions: The projective function involves the extent to which pets serve as symbolic extensions of the self. The sociability function involves the role of pets in facilitating human interaction. The surrogate function involves the extent to which interaction with pets substitutes for and supplements human–human interaction. A person publicly identified with a companion animal makes a symbolic statement of his or her personality and self-image. Whether this process is intentional or not, the presence of a pet and the way it is treated are taken into account in the assessment of the social self. Pets facilitate interaction by providing a neutral subject of conversation and performing a variety of functions as social catalysts. Since interaction with companion animals can approximate human companionship, pets may serve to supplement the benefits usually derived from the roles of friend, parent, spouse, or child. Alternatively, pets may serve as surrogate antagonists. In the extreme, interaction with companion animals may not only supplement human companionship but may actually replace it. (62 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Describes the range and benefits, physical as well as psychological, of pet-facilitated therapy, anecdotal and empirical data, and a comparison of therapist-facilitated vs therapist-absent human–pet interactions. Flexibility and practicality are emphasized in hints offered to practitioners. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article Debra Lynn Stephens is a Visiting Associate Professor of Marketing, School of Business Administration, University of Portland, Portland, OR 97203 (503-283-7275; Ellen Day is Professor of Marketing, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602 (706-542-3769; Sarah M. Holbrook is a psychotherapist in private practice, 140 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10024 (212-799-2389). Gregor Strazar is a graduate student in General Management, School of Business, University of Michigan,.htm for the complete text with all relevant discussions and hyperlinks to references, appendices, and informant-specific vignettes and stereographs. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This paper explores the consumption experiences involved in living with animal companions by means of an integrated approach to marketing and consumer research called the Collecti0ve Stereographic Photo Essay or CSPE. By way of introduction, the e-publication begins by considering the context for the research --namely, the manner in which people relate to their pets, the potential benefits from such interactions, and how these inter-species relationships shape the everyday worlds of many human consumers. Specifically, we focus on the essence of pet-related consumption experiences and on how our animal companions are welcomed into our most intimate or private moments, are loved, and are treated as family members in general or as children in particular. That pets offer us humans warm and enduring companionship is well-documented. Owners have characterized their pets as children, friends, or playmates; and most attest to the unconditional love offered by their companion animals. This study delves more deeply into these and other aspects of the human-animal relationship. It explores how consumption experiences with pets or animal companions add meaning to our lives as humans.