The Facilitation of Social Interactions by Domestic Dogs

ArticleinAnthrozoos A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals 17(4):340-352 · January 2004with 1,428 Reads 
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
Cite this publication
Abstract
Research suggests that dogs can facilitate social interactions, which, in turn, may promote psychological health. This study explored the ability of dogs to facilitate social responses relative to other accompaniments and investigated whether the social catalysis effect is generic or influenced by the appearance of the dog. The behavior of 1800 pedestrians approaching a female experimenter was recorded as a function of the presence of three dogs (Labrador Retriever pup, Labrador adult, Rottweiler adult) and two neutral stimuli (teddy bear, potted plant). The behavior of pedestrians approaching the woman whenever she was alone (control) was also explored. Information was collected on the passers-by' gender, number of people in the party, type of acknowledgement elicited and length of conversations. More people ignored the experimenter whenever she was alone or with the teddy or plant, than whenever she was walking a dog. The Rottweiler resulted in more nonresponses than the puppy or adult Labrador, who in turn elicited more smiles and verbal responses. Females, and those alone, elicited more smiles and conversations than males, or those in pairs. It is concluded that dogs can facilitate social interactions between adults better than other accompaniments; however, the social catalysis effect is not generic, but dog specific.

Do you want to read the rest of this article?

Request Full-text Paper PDF
Advertisement
  • ... The human-animal relationship may also aid in the development of relationships (Wells, 2004;Wood, 2007). Wood (2007) suggests that pets act as "social lubricant for social contact and interaction" (p. ...
    ... 47). Additionally, Wells (2004) found that females, in the presence of a dog, elicited more interactions with humans than when the female was alone or with neutral stimulus, such as a potted plant. Other research has shown that a service dog significantly increases the social responses between able-bodied people and a physically disabled stranger (Mader, Hart & Bergin, 1989). ...
    ... Studies also suggest that animal therapy is effective in social and emotional support programs and in the development of social networks (Terpin, 2004;Wells, 2004). For example, prison officials that seek socialization skills for the prisoners are turning to dog training programs for the prisoners (Furst, 2006). ...
    Article
    The overall purpose of this study was to capture the relationships made during the Campus Canines Program, an animal-assisted activity program, at the University of Pittsburgh. Meaningful social relationships create greater educational satisfaction. These social relationships are an important piece to creating and sustaining student involvement, and therefore retention, in a college environment. Therefore, the current study is significant because Campus Canines Program may be a program that fosters these important relationships for students. This study used a case study approach that included two mixed-method online instruments. Both surveys are comprised of close-ended quantitative questions and open-ended qualitative questions. During the 2012 Spring Academic Term, a census of the entire population was conducted. This census determined the entire student population to be 270 and volunteer population to be 20. The canine population of 22 was also determined but only for informational purposes. All 270 students were selected for this study and 69 responded to the survey with a 25.5% response rate. All 20 volunteers were selected to participate in this study and 11 responded to the survey with a 55% response rate. Overall, the results suggest that the Campus Canines Program does create a program for student involvement and may support established relationships. The key findings include (1) the dogs may aid in communication with other participants, (2) the program specifically supports established relationships between friends and family, and (3) the Campus Canine Program may provide stress relief. In the first key finding, the dogs act as a social stimulant. This supports the literature that states animals provide a safe environment to promote communication between people. The second key finding shows that the Campus Canines Program specifically supports established relationships between friends and family. These results support the literature which indicates that the human-animal relationship may aid in the development of social networks. Lastly, the third key finding shows that stress relief is a benefit of this program. This does support the literature that states interaction with animals produces physiological benefits.
  • ... However, investigations into the effect companion animals may have on humans have been plagued with mixed results and methodological variations, which has generated considerable controversy (Bergler, 1988;Peacock, Chur-Hansen, & Winefield, 2012;Wright & Moore, 1982). Some of the reported psychological benefits associated with companion animal ownership consists of: the potential to mitigate the effects of stressful life events such as bereavement or divorce, reduced levels of anxiety, loneliness and depression (Folse, Minder, Aycock, & Santana, 1994), enhanced feelings of autonomy, competence and self-esteem (Triebenbacher, 1998), as well as improved social interaction (Gueguen & Ciccoti, 2008;Wells, 2004). In contrast, some recent studies have found that companion animals have a minimal impact on psychological wellbeing and may actually exacerbate psychological symptoms of depression and emotional distress (Peacock, Chur-Hansen, & Winefield, 2012;Wells & Rodi, 2000;). ...
    ... It has generally been found that dogs seem to provide the most benefits to individuals (Walsh, 2009). Dogs tend to encourage social interactions between people, walking with a dog increases the number of conversations an individual will have with strangers compared to when walking alone (McNicholas & Collis, 2000;Messant, 1983;Wells, 2004). Messant (1983) found that the presence of a dog increased the likelihood of social interactions between the dog's owner and other people and that people who have companion animals may also position themselves in social situations more often than non-owners, such as taking their dog to a local park. ...
    ... The main themes consisted of: Psychosocial functioning, the Human-Animal bond and the Benefits of the Human-Animal bond. While these findings are typical to what has been found in the general human-animal research Folse, Minder, Aycock, & Santana, 1994;Friedmann & Tsai, 2006;Gueguen & Ciccoti, 2008;Straats, Wallace, & Anderson, 2007;Triebenbacher, 1998;Wells, 2004), certain features of the human-animal relationship necessary for psychological gains seemed strongly influenced by the men's military backgrounds. ...
    Thesis
    Full-text available
    Many Vietnam veterans continue to experience poor mental health and a range of complex, psychosocial difficulties decades after their military service. This qualitative study examined the experience of companion animal ownership for twelve male Vietnam veterans using a phenomenological framework. The men in this study were in the developmental stage of older adulthood and mostly owned dogs as companion animals. In-depth interviews were analysed using thematic content analysis and three main themes emerged. These were: Psychosocial functioning, the human-animal bond and the benefits of the human-animal bond. While these findings are typical of other human-animal research, the companion animal characteristics that facilitated a strong attachment, and therefore beneficial relationship seemed strongly influenced by the men’s military background. This has implications for progressing current knowledge around the effect companion animals can potentially have on an individual’s mental health, as well as clinical relevance for psychology.
  • ... Dogs facilitate contact, confidence, conversation and confederation among previously unacquainted persons who might otherwise remain that way.' These findings are confirmed by Graham and Glover (2014), Hecht et al. (2001), Jackson (2012), McNicholas and Collis (2000), Rogers et al. (2001), Tissot (2011), andWells (2004). Dogs also strengthen social networks, as friendships in the dog's absence develop (Graham and Glover, 2014). ...
    ... My own observations at dog parks reflect these findings: that humans utilizing dog-oriented space often find a 'community' and crucial social support, including technical support (advice on dogs), personal support (life), and the development of a network of friendships beyond the dog (Robins et al., 1991;Lee et al., 2009;Graham and Glover, 2014). Research also documents links between social capital and pet ownership in general (McNicholas and Collis, 2000;Hecht et al., 2001;Rogers et al., 2001;Wells, 2004;Wood et al., 2005;Gomez, 2013;Graham and Glover, 2014). ...
    ... Dog ownership appears to have social and community benefits unmatched by many other activities (McNicholas and Collis, 2000;Hecht et al., 2001;Rogers et al., 2001;Wells, 2004;Tissot, 2011;Jackson, 2012;Graham and Glover, 2014). Dog owners have a documented sense of community and build social capital. ...
    Article
    As public spaces shrink, many become contested landscapes as mutually incompatible users create conflicts. Dog parks are a controversial use in contested landscapes. This article presents a case study of a public engagement around dog parks in a Canadian city where the municipal government failed to resolve conflicts due to poor public engagement. A case is made for the benefits of dog ownership and as a legitimate use for public spaces, conferring substantive community benefits. © Oxford University Press and Community Development Journal. 2016. All rights reserved.
  • ... Pets, in particular dogs, have long been noted for their socializing role. For example, walking with a dog results in a significantly higher number of chance conversations with strangers than walking alone (McNicholas & Collis, 2000;Messent, 1983;Wells, 2004). This so-called social catalysis, or lubrication, effect does not, however, appear to be a generic one; rather it seems related to features of the animal. ...
    ... This so-called social catalysis, or lubrication, effect does not, however, appear to be a generic one; rather it seems related to features of the animal. Young dogs, with their endearing features and clumsy movements, are more likely than older animals to evoke social responses (Wells, 2004). Likewise, dogs that are generally perceived in a positive light, for whatever reason (e.g., reputed temperament, color), are more likely to facilitate social interactions than those that are less popular (Wells, 2004). ...
    ... Young dogs, with their endearing features and clumsy movements, are more likely than older animals to evoke social responses (Wells, 2004). Likewise, dogs that are generally perceived in a positive light, for whatever reason (e.g., reputed temperament, color), are more likely to facilitate social interactions than those that are less popular (Wells, 2004). ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Since the late 1970s, scientific evidence has accumulated showing that pet ownership can have positive effects on people’s physical and mental wellbeing. This paper reviews the current state of affairs regarding the relationship between companion animals and human health, focusing on both the physical and psychological health outcomes related to human–animal interactions. Although designed to set the general scene on the link between animals and human wellbeing, research specific to older adults is highlighted where relevant. A particular emphasis is placed on disorders prevalent in modern-day society, notably cardiovascular disease and depression. The possible mechanisms by which companion animals might be able to enhance human wellbeing and quality of life are discussed, focusing on routes including, amongst others, the provision of companionship, social lubrication, and improvements to physical fitness. The role of the social bonding hormone, oxytocin, in facilitating attachment to our pets and the implications for human health is also discussed. Inconsistencies in the literature and methodological limitations are highlighted throughout. It is concluded that future human–animal interaction experiments should aim to account for the confounding variables that are inherent in studies of this nature.
  • ... In 2018, for example, Americans spent over 72 billion dollars on their pets, more than they spent on all sporting events combined (American Pet Products Association 2019; Kutz 2017). And numerous studies have documented how pet ownership contributes to positive outcomes in mental health and companionship, and potentially even improved physical health (Friedmann and Thomas 1985;Jennings 1997;Wells 2009). ...
    ... This would be expected because some animals encourage more prosocial behavior than others. For instance, research suggests that owning a dog provides occasion for owners to get out of the house on walks or go to dog parks where they may interact with other owners (McNicholas and Collis 2000;Wells, 2004Wells, , 2009. Dogs are also more likely to be owned by larger families with children (Murray et al. 2010), which is also associated with religious participation. ...
    ... This would be expected because some animals encourage more prosocial behavior than others. For instance, research suggests that owning a dog provides occasion for owners to get out of the house on walks or go to dog parks where they may interact with other owners (McNicholas and Collis 2000;Wells, 2004Wells, , 2009. Dogs are also more likely to be owned by larger families with children (Murray et al. 2010), which is also associated with religious participation. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Over 60 percent of Americans have some sort of family pet. Although studies have explored the personality and demographic correlates of pet ownership, none have considered whether religious characteristics may influence not only pet ownership, but the kind of pet Americans own. Drawing on data from the 2018 General Social Survey, we examine the religious antecedents of pet ownership in general as well as owning a cat or a dog, taking into account factors previously associated with owning certain pets (e.g., urban vs. rural residence, political affiliation). Although religious tradition and biblical literalism generally do not predict pet ownership, frequent worship attendees and the most conservative evangelicals report owning fewer pets. Religious characteristics also predict Americans’ ownership of particular pets. Most notably, we find a strong, negative association between worship attendance and cat ownership. We theorize potential mechanisms. On the one hand, certain personality types might simultaneously attract some Americans toward religious participation and away from pets, and cats in particular. Alternatively, to the extent that pet ownership is a partial substitute for human bonding and interaction, Americans more deeply embedded within a religious community may have less need (or time) for pets generally, and specifically more independent “roommate pets,” like cats.
  • ... Dogs in particular have been considered catalysts in human bonding by facilitating social interactions. The presence of a dog can elicit more friendly acknowledgements and conversations among strangers (Wells 2004), as well as more helping behavior and greater physical attraction to dog owners (McNicholas and Collis 2000). Second, pets also have therapeutic (Nimer and Lundahl 2007) and physical health benefits and can play a role in facilitating recovery and increasing owners' physical activity (Dembicki and Anderson 1996). ...
    ... Second, pets also have therapeutic (Nimer and Lundahl 2007) and physical health benefits and can play a role in facilitating recovery and increasing owners' physical activity (Dembicki and Anderson 1996). These benefits are not limited to trained therapeutic animals but extend to family pets (Wells 2004(Wells , 2007. Third, pet ownership or interactions with an animal can also be linked to psychological benefits such as reduced anxiety and stress (Wells 2007), greater self-esteem, and less fearful attachment styles (McConnell et al. 2011). ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    The benefits of pets on individual wellbeing is well established. But can pets also have benefits for romantic relationships? Using mixed methods, three studies explored the link between pet ownership and romantic relationship quality. First, using a grounded theory approach, we qualitatively investigated participants’ personal beliefs of how their pets influence their romantic relationships by coding open-ended responses. Results suggested that pets are seen as having predominantly positive (86.5%) effects, followed by few neutral (8%) and negative (4.5%) effects (study 1). We next compared a community sample of pet owners’ reports of relationship quality with those of non-pet owners. Results suggested that pet ownership was associated with several relationship benefits (greater overall relationship quality, partner responsiveness, adjustment, and relational investment) compared with couples without pets (study 2). Finally, we examined one possible reason for why pets may benefit relationships: A pet might provide the opportunity to practice empathic abilities, which is a crucial ability in the maintenance of positive relationships. Results showed that the number of years an individual owned a pet was positively correlated with empathic concern, which in turn was linked to several relationship benefits (commitment, couple identity, and relationship maintenance behaviors; study 3). In sum, three studies provided initial evidence that there is indeed a positive association between two important relationships in peoples’ lives: their partners and their pets.
  • ... Another potential benefit of dogs in the workplace is that they may have a positive effect on the social interactions among employees. Anecdotal reports suggest that pets enhance the social atmosphere at work [74], and research conducted outside of the workplace indicates that dogs can increase the frequency of conversations among people [75]. Other studies have been conducted to assess the role of dogs in changing the interactions between strangers and among groups of people who are familiar with one another. ...
    ... Several studies have shown that when an individual is accompanied by a dog, the frequency of social encounters with strangers increases. One such study compared the approaches of strangers when a female confederate (an actor who is part of the experiment and knows the aims of the study) was alone and when she was accompanied by different types of dogs (e.g., adult Rottweiler, adult Labrador retriever, or juvenile Labrador retriever), a teddy bear, or a potted plant [75]. Over 30% of strangers talked to the female confederate when she was accompanied by an adult or juvenile Labrador retriever compared to less than 5% of strangers when she was alone or accompanied by the teddy bear, potted plant, or Rottweiler. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Pet dogs, therapy dogs, and service dogs can be seen in workplaces with increasing frequency. Although dogs may provide many benefits to employees and employers, their presence may introduce additional hazards and concerns to the work environment. Therefore, decisions to accept dogs in the workplace may include many considerations including the health, safety, and well-being of employees, legal and cultural sensitivities, and animal welfare. The present paper serves to introduce the issue of dogs in the workplace and outline the potential benefits and challenges to their presence. The legal accommodations afforded to certain types of dogs in workplace settings are discussed, and the research findings pertaining to the potential benefits of dogs on human health and well-being are summarized. The paper concludes with considerations for human resource management personnel in the areas of diversity, employee relations, ethics and corporate responsibility, organizational and employee development, safety and security, and legal considerations, as well as suggested topics for future research.
  • ... Similarly, Wong [23] reported that all respondents except one considered their guide dog as a companion and friend. Previous studies have also suggested that the presence of a dog can facilitate social contacts by increasing the social attractiveness of his or her handler [32][33][34]. ...
    ... GD group respondents stated more often that a guide dog facilitates finding new social contacts compared with the NGD group. This finding may be because of the lack of real experience with a guide dog in the NGD group, as previous studies have shown that canine companions can stimulate prosocial behavior of strangers, and thereby raise the social attractiveness of the animal handlers [32][33][34]. Guide dogs should not interact with people in the public to keep levels of distraction low. However, strangers may still be attracted by the dog, and thus want to approach or pat it, and thereby initiate contact with the animal handler [30]. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Blindness has previously been associated with impaired quality of life (QOL). Guide dogs may not only support blind people in their independency, but also facilitate social relationships and overall health. This study sought to investigate whether blind people from Austria with a guide dog, when compared with blind people without a guide dog, differ in their QOL, annual medical costs, and attitudes towards the human–guide dog relationship. Participants (n = 36) filled out an online accessible questionnaire that consisted of the World Health Organization (WHO)QOL-BREF and additional self-designed questions. Guide dog ownership was not associated with a better QOL. However, yearly medical cost expenditures were descriptively lower in guide dog owners, who were also more likely to believe that guide dogs can increase their independency and exert positive effects on health. Moreover, guide dog owners more likely considered a guide dog as a family member than non-guide dog owners. Although within the framework of this study, owning a guide dog was not significantly associated with increased QOL, some differences between the groups regarding health beliefs, attitude towards the dog, and relationship with the dog were identified. Accounting for the emerging prevalence of visual impairment, further research into this topic is warranted.
  • ... In terms of possible metacontingencies, aggregate products of these recurrent IBCs that could be selected by the surrounding environment (e.g., other family members as audiences) are the child's acquisition of new verbal or nonverbal behavior (e.g., a mother that observes the dog-training episode and at the end praises the "performance" of the group), the dog's acquisition of socially-valued behavior (e.g., a "well behaved" dog that gets to stay in the family), social facilitators, or reduction of stress levels of the members involved (e.g., Greenebaum, 2010;Kwan & Bain, 2013;Odendaal & Meintjes, 2003;Wells, 2004;Westgarth et al., 2015). Research on the positive effects of dogs' inclusion in families in terms of, for instance, strengthening family ties and intimacy, supports this interpretation (e.g., Cloutier & Peetz, 2016;Power, 2008;Tannen, 2004;Turner, 2005). ...
    ... Regarding the dogs' role of facilitating social interactions (Fine, 2004;McNicholas & Collis, 2000), anthrozoological research has also found that companion dogs act as "social lubricants" (Gunter, 1999), evoking more friendly attention from others and helping to initiate conversations (McNicholas & Collis, 2006;Wells, 2004). Accordingly, studies suggest that companion dogs benefit romantic relationships by playing a role in stress relief for couples and providing the opportunity to practice empathy (Cloutier & Peetz, 2016;Walsh, 2009). ...
    Article
    Mounting interest in the evolutionary and contemporary aspects of human-dog association has resulted in growing research efforts from different disciplines with differing methodologies and areas of emphasis. Despite its potential to contribute to the understanding of human-dog interactions, behavior-analytic research efforts are scarce. We are illustrating how the behavior-analytic three-level selection by consequences framework could be applied to inform research on human-dog interactions. Therefore, the notions of interlocking behavioral contingencies and metacontingencies are applied to interpret specific interactions and suggest potential lines of research. We first analyze the development of cooperative hunting of prehistoric humans and dogs, and its implications for interspecific social-communicative skills. Second, we discuss contemporary family practices that involve the interactions between parents, children and family dogs via an analysis of a prototypic social episode. Lastly, we provide an overview of the main approaches that have contributed to the understanding of the human-dog interactions (e.g., anthrozoological), and show how their findings can be placed within the behavior-analytic framework. We conclude that the coherence of the selectionist framework is a major strength that not only can contribute to synthesize a large amount of scattered research on human-dog relationships conducted across various fields, but can also inform further research and applications.
  • ... Another possible explanation is that dog ownership increases human social interaction, thereby improving the social well-being of dog owners and reducing their loneliness. Dogs may act as catalysts for social interaction [10,11,68,69]. An ancillary finding in our study to support this explanation was that most dog owners had met people in their neighbourhood because of their dog and some even considered such people as potential sources of advice. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Background: Dog ownership is suggested to improve mental well-being, although empirical evidence among community dog owners is limited. This study examined changes in human mental well-being following dog acquisition, including four measures: loneliness, positive and negative affect, and psychological distress. Methods: We conducted an eight-month controlled study involving three groups (n = 71): 17 acquired a dog within 1 month of baseline (dog acquisition); 29 delayed dog acquisition until study completion (lagged control); and 25 had no intentions of acquiring a dog (community control). All participants completed the UCLA Loneliness Scale (possible scores 0-60), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule and Kessler10 at baseline, three-months and eight-months. We used repeated measures ANCOVAs to analyse data with owner age and sex included as covariates. Post-hoc tests were performed for significant effects (p < 0.05). Results: There was a statistically significant group by time interaction for loneliness (p = 0.03), with an estimated reduction of 8.41 units (95% CI -16.57, - 0.26) from baseline to three-months and 7.12 (95% CI -12.55, - 1.69) from baseline to eight-months in the dog acquisition group. The group by time interaction for positive affect was also significant (p = 0.03), although there was no change in the dog acquisition group. Conclusions: Companion dog acquisition may reduce loneliness among community dog owners. Our study provides useful direction for future larger trials on the effects of dog ownership on human mental well-being. Trial registration: This trial was retrospectively registered on 5th July 2017 with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ( ACTRN12617000967381 ).
  • ... Dogs may provide motivation for physical activity similar to having a walking partner ( Feng et al., 2014). Walking with a dog can facilitate social interactions between people and conversations with strangers more than when walking alone ( Wells, 2004). The importance of physical activity for the dog's wellbeing can also be an appropriate stimulus to increase dog walking ( Hoerster et al., 2011). ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Little is known about factors that influence owners' decisions walking their dogs on or off a leash in public places. We examined the effect of the type of public place, dog's age, sex and size, and human gender on off-leash dog walking. Observations of 1850 dogs and their owners were made in streets and parks in Brno (Czech Republic). Multiple logistic regression analysis showed no significant effect of human gender on the frequency of unleashed dogs in streets and parks. Off-leash dog walking was 2.8 times more likely in parks than in streets. Adult dogs were unleashed 1.9 times more likely than puppies in streets and parks. Larger dogs were unleashed 3.4 times less likely than smaller dogs in streets and 2.8 times more likely in parks. Male dogs were unleashed 1.7 times less likely than female dogs in streets. The dog's sex had no effect on off-leash dog walking in parks. The age and sex of dogs walked by men and women in public places were not significantly different. Larger dogs were walked by men 1.9 times more likely than by women. Results indicate that off-leash dog walking is affected by the type of public place and dog's age, sex and size. © 2017 Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry Brno. All rights reserved.
  • ... Both adults and children using wheelchairs were acknowledged, spoken to, and smiled at more often by passers-by when in the presence of a dog (Eddy et al., 1988 ;Mader et al., 1989 ), although in more recent research, this appar- ent "social facilitation" of approachability or like- ability was found to depend on the type of animal involved. Experimenters with puppies were acknowl- edged more than those with adult dogs, and a person was acknowledged less in the presence of a Rottweiler than a Labrador Retriever (Fridlund & MacDonald, 1998;Wells, 2004 ). Even more interesting from a fi tness point of view was the fi nding of another recent study conducted in France in which an attrac- tive male experimenter loitered in a pedestrian area and attempted to persuade young female passers-by to give him their phone numbers. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Pets have become such a common component of modern family life that we tend to take them for granted. Nevertheless, from an evolutionary standpoint, pets present us with a paradox comparable to-though even more puzzling than-that posed by the phenomenon of adoption. In the latter case, one can at least argue that adoptive parents may derive deferred fitness benefits from the future contribution of adopted children to the family economy (Kramer, 2005). But in the case of adopted pets, such contributions appear to be minimal at best, whereas the level of investment in their care and sustenance is sometimes considerable. The paradox further intensifies when one considers that pet keeping is not confined to modern, affluent societies, but is widespread among subsistence hunters and horticulturalists whose opportunities to engage in nonfitness enhancing behavior would appear to be much more constrained. This chapter critically examines theories that purport to explain how pet keeping evolved and why it continues to persist and flourish in a wide range of cultures. Given the current state of knowledge, few firm conclusions can be drawn at this time regarding the possible adaptive consequences of pet keeping. However, it is possible to highlight future areas of research that may help to illuminate the functional significance (if any) of this intriguing behavior.
  • ... Several studies indicate that dogs can facilitate social interactions, though the effects are contingent upon factors such as the breed of dog and the sex of the person (McNicholas and Collis 2000). For example, Wells (2004) found that a single woman standing in public with a puppy or adult Golden Retriever elicited more approaches and conversations than did the same woman standing with an adult Rottweiler, stuffed teddy bear, or potted plant; other women and individuals who were alone (rather than in a dyad) were also more likely to approach her. Further, in another study a man with a dog was more likely to obtain an unfamiliar woman's phone number during a meeting in a public space than the same man without a dog (Gueguen and Ciccotti 2008). ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    What role do companion animals play in the dating lives of single adults? As dogs and cats are increasingly viewed as family members, a person's pets may wield significant influence in partner choice. Here, we provide descriptive quantitative data on the role pets play in mate appraisal and mate selection; we also test two hypotheses regarding the role of pets in single Americans’ dating lives. We hypothesized that single women will place more value on a how a potential mate interacts with their pet, than will single men. We also hypothesized that dogs will serve more prominent roles as “social tools” in the dating arena than cats, given that dogs are more social and dogs require more constant care. Thus, dogs may be a better measure of a potential mate's caregiving capacity. Data were obtained from a 2014 survey sent to a random selection of people in the US registered on the online dating site Match.com who had indicated pet information in their dating profiles. A sample of 1,210 individuals responded, 61% of whom were women. Dogs and cats were the most common pets for both sexes. In support of our first hypothesis, on eight of 11 dependent variables (such as whether one has ever been attracted to someone because of a pet), women were more discriminating of a potential partner's associations with pets than were men. Consistent with our second hypothesis, dogs served more commonly as social barometers in the dating arena than cats did, with respect to nine of 11 dependent variables (such as whether one would date someone because of a pet). We discuss the findings with respect to changing family profiles, including lower fertility and expanded roles of companion animals as extended kin. We conclude with the limitations of this study and suggestions for future research.
  • ... Several studies with an experimental design have been undertaken to compare social encounters experienced by people walking alone or with a dog, finding that those walking with a dog are far more likely to experience social contact and conversation with strangers than solitary walkers . Another study examined the behavior of pedestrians (n=1,800) when approaching a female experimenter who was sometimes alone and sometimes in the company of a dog (Labrador retriever pup, Labrador adult, rottweiler adult) (Wells, 2004). It was observed that the experimenter was more likely to be ignored whenever she was alone, compared with times in which she was walking one of the dogs. ...
  • ... Bepaalde ras-specifieke verschijnselen steken de kop op, en personen vergezeld van een Rottweiler worden bijvoorbeeld minder aangesproken dan wanneer zij vergezeld zijn van een Golden Retriever (Wells, 2004 Serpell, Coppinger, Fine & Peralta, 2010). In een notendop kan men stellen dat therapeuten door observatie gecombineerd met kennis van het normaal gedrag van het dier, in staat moeten zijn om ontevredenheid of angst bij het dier op te sporen. ...
    Thesis
    Full-text available
    De voorbije decennia is er een groeiende belangstelling voor de studie van mens-dier interacties. Vanwege hun veronderstelde positieve invloed is er de laatste jaren een opmars bezig in de betrekking van dieren in psychotherapie (“Animal Assisted Therapy”). Terwijl toepassingen in individueel georiënteerde therapie zich uitbreiden, blijft het gebruik van dieren in systeemtherapie echter onderbelicht. Naar aanleiding van Walsh’s suggestie wordt in deze scriptie ingegaan op de verschillende manieren waarop dieren betekenisvol kunnen zijn voor systeemtherapeuten. Door literatuurstudie te combineren met open interviews bij individueel of systemisch gerichte therapeuten en cliënten met een hond aanwezig in de therapie, worden verschillende principes bestudeerd. Enerzijds kan het belangrijk zijn om huisdieren van de cliënt mee op te nemen in het systeem. Dit betekent mogelijk om hen fysiek in de therapiesetting te brengen. De voordelen hiervan worden geïllustreerd aan de hand van verhalen uit de praktijk. Anderzijds kan een therapeut ervoor kiezen een eigen dier in te zetten in de therapie. Via de beleving van zowel therapeuten als cliënten worden gebruikte strategieën, invloeden van een hond en mogelijke werkingsmechanismen verkend. Daarnaast worden enkele praktische zaken en problemen besproken. Op basis van deze bevindingen wordt de relevantie voor systeemtherapeuten om dieren al dan niet te betrekken geconcludeerd en worden enkele overwegingen in deze beslissing aangehaald. Hoewel het gebruik van dieren in de therapie voordelen met zich mee kan brengen, dient men in het achterhoofd te houden dat het geen wonderstrategie is. Soms kan datgene dat met een dier teweeggebracht wordt, bereikt worden met andere methodes. Het inzetten van een dier biedt niet altijd een meerwaarde en men kan er daarom voor kiezen geen dier in de therapie te gebruiken. Bovendien dient er voldoende aandacht uit te gaan naar dierenwelzijn, een belangrijk aspect dat soms over het hoofd gezien wordt. Er wordt afgesloten met een algemene conclusie en suggesties voor verder onderzoek. Aangezien de betrekking van dieren in systeemtherapie in zijn kinderschoenen staat, is verder gecontroleerd onderzoek nodig. Indien een dier de effectiviteit van de therapie vergroot, is nog de vraag welke mechanismen juist verantwoordelijk zijn voor dit effect.
  • ... Similar effects were found in children with visible disabilities, in a mall or at a playground (Mader et al., 1989). Additionally, people without disabilities received more positive attention from strangers in public when they were accompanied by dogs (Wells, 2004). These results were found in a cultural context of Western civilization, and cannot be generalized to cultures with different perceptions of animals (see Zinsstag et al., Chapter 2, this volume). ...
  • ... This finding is supported by studies that have found dogs to be facilitators for human social interactions, which could play a role in the association between pet ownership and psychological health. 35,[37][38][39] For example, Antonacopoulos and Pychyl found that dog walkers who talked to people they met while walking their dog were slightly less lonely than dog walkers who did not engage in conversations with others. 37 Participants in the present study described the dog's behavior while walking as either a barrier to dog walking if their dog is disobedient during walks or as a motivator if their dog is well behaved. ...
    Article
    Promoting dog walking among dog owners is consistent with One Health, which focuses on the mutual health benefits of the human-animal relationship for people and animals. In this study, we used intervention mapping (a framework to develop programs and resources for health promotion) to develop a clearer understanding of the determinants of dog walking to develop curricular and educational resources for promoting regular dog walking among dog owners. Twenty-six adult dog owners in Ontario participated in a semi-structured interview about dog walking in 2014. Thematic analysis entailing open, axial, and selective coding was conducted. Among the reasons why the participating dog owners walk their dog were the obligation to the dog, the motivation from the dog, self-efficacy, the dog's health, the owner's health, socialization, a well-behaved dog, and having a routine. The main barriers to dog walking were weather, lack of time, the dog's behavior while walking, and feeling unsafe. We compared interview results to findings in previous studies of dog walking to create a list of determinants of dog walking that we used to create a matrix of change objectives. Based on these results, we developed a print resource to promote regular dog walking among dog owners. The findings can be used by veterinary educators to inform course content that specifically educates veterinary students on the promotion of dog walking among dog owners and the benefits to both humans and animals. The study also offers veterinarians a further understanding upon which to initiate a conversation and develop educational resources for promoting regular dog walking among dog-owning clients.
  • ... Not only are pets a form of social support in their own right but also they promote socialization with people, increasing owners' avenues for social support. For example, Wells (2004) found that a female experimenter was more likely to receive positive glances or engage in positive conversations when accompanied by a Labrador Retriever than when she was alone or had another object such as a teddy bear. Interestingly, even when using a highly trained dog to ensure that the dog itself does not solicit attention from passers-by, the mere presence of a dog increases positive interactions between its owner and strangers (McNicholas, & Collis, 2000). ...
  • ... It has been evidenced that the adaption of comparable socio-communicative abilities in dogs and humans has contributed to the development of special social skills that allow dogs to comprehend human social and communicative behavior [2]. Dogs not only perform well in reading and interpreting human gestures but seem to facilitate pro-social human behavior by increasing their owner's social attractiveness, stimulating conversations and friendly behaviors from strangers [3,4]. Over the past decades, a growing body of research has underlined their role as social companions in human health promotion [5,6]. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Research into the effects of animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) has primarily addressed human health outcomes. In contrast, only few publications deal with the therapy dog experience of AAIs. This paper provides an overview on potential welfare threats that therapy dogs may encounter and presents the results of a review of available studies on welfare indicators for therapy dogs during AAIs. Previous investigations used physiological and behavioral welfare indicators and dog handler surveys to identify work-related stress. Research outcomes are discussed in the light of strengths and weaknesses of the methods used. Study results suggest that frequency and duration of AAI sessions, novelty of the environment, controllability, age and familiarity of recipients modulate animal welfare indicators. However, this review reveals that currently, clear conclusions on how the well-being of dogs is influenced by the performance in AAIs are lacking due to the heterogeneity of programs, recipient and session characteristics, small dog sample sizes and methodological limitations. This paper further aimed to identify unresolved difficulties in previous research to pave the way for future investigations supporting the applicability of scientific findings in practice.
  • ... Success in acquiring knowledge and skills related to dogs may have motivated 4-H dog club participants to extend their knowledge, leading to higher scholastic competence scores compared with those in the school group. Furthermore, the presence of a dog can increase social interaction between humans, with the potential to expand social networks and promote psychological health in pet owners (McNicholas & Collis, 2000;Wells, 2004). Thus, the involvement of dogs in 4-H activities may have facilitated positive social interaction with peers and adults, contributing to higher global self-worth scores. ...
    Article
    Stress management, resilience, learning-to-learn, self-esteem, and empathy are life skills that play a pivotal role in the psychosocial development of youth who are prepared to manage everyday challenges, and are caring toward people and animals. We hypothesized that 4-H dog club membership is associated with improved life skills of youth participating in these activities compared with youth who do not. We surveyed Washington and Idaho youth (n = 150, 6–17 years old, M = 11.5) in three conditions: 4-H clubs conducting dog-focused activities (4-H dog clubs), 4-H clubs conducting activities not involving dogs (4-H non-dog clubs), and school youth not involved in 4-H (school group). Life skills, and attitude toward and attachment to pets, were assessed using the Emotional Quotient Inventory: Youth Version (Short), Self-Perception Profile for Children, Social Skills Improvement System Rating Scales, Pet Attitude Scale, and Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale. Analysis of covariance was used to evaluate main effects of condition and covariates (age, sex, number of siblings, and dog(s) at home), and two-way interaction effects on questionnaire scores. Condition affected scores: youth in 4-H dog clubs had higher stress management scores (p < 0.01) compared with those in 4-H non-dog clubs and school group conditions, and higher scholastic competence (p < 0.05) and global self-worth (p < 0.01) scores compared with those in the school group. Much of the variation in scores remains unexplained by the predictors investigated. Thus, the extent to which the results represent an interest in 4-H dog activities due to pre-existing characteristics as opposed to changes resulting from the 4-H experience is unclear. Nevertheless, 83% of study participants had at least one dog, and condition effects were detected after accounting for dogs at home, suggesting that 4-H activities involving dogs had beneficial effects over and above any benefits resulting from dog contact per se.
  • ... Black (2012) in his study about the relation between companion animals and loneliness among rural adolescents found values up to 60% of adolescents with problem of loneliness. Companion animals can facilitate social interactions between people, for example, when we are walking with a dog there is more chance to begin conversations with complete strangers than when we are walking alone (Culp, Clyman, & Culp, 1995;McNicholas & Collis, 2000b;Messent, 1983;Ozdemir & Tuncay, 2008;Wells, 2004). Barlow, Cromer, Caron, and Freyd (2012) cite a research by other authors (Beck & Madresh, 2008) about human-animal relationship in which it was found that companion animals are seen as objects of love, friendship, and attachment, representing, according to participants, a safer relationship than a relationship with a romantic partner. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Pets are part of many adolescent’s lives. Objectives: To identify in a large national representative sample of Portuguese adolescents (HSBC study), the percentage of adolescents that have pets, what kind of feelings pets provide, differences by gender and age (through school grades) and to verify whether adolescent health, well-being, life satisfaction and psychological symptoms are associated with having a pet. Methods: The 2014 study provided national data of 6026 Portuguese adolescents (52.3% of which were girls), whose mean age was 13.8 years, randomly selected from those attending 6th, 8th and 10th grades. Measures included asking the participant if he/she had pets, which pet was, and the relationship they had with the pet, ISS, perception of well-being, life satisfaction and psychological symptoms. Results: The large majority of Portuguese adolescents had a pet. Adolescents who referred having a pet reported more frequently having dogs and cats. As for positive feelings related to pets, results showed that pets give them feelings of happiness, companionship, nurturing, tranquility, security and responsibility always/almost always, especially in girls and younger boys. The results also showed that having a dog was associated with a higher socio-economic status, better perception of well-being, more life satisfaction and less psychological symptoms. Conclusion: Since research shows that young people who have pets report higher rates of well-being/health perception, that information should be used to conduct more studies and change policies in ways that benefit adults and children.
  • ... Additionally, a number commented on potential benefits to other residents and staff. This reflects previous research showing that pets can act as social facilitators by encouraging conversation (Wells, 2004) including between homed and homeless persons. As Irvine (2012) stated "Strangers will initiate a conversation with a person accompanied by a dog where they would not do so with a person alone." ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Pets provide companionship and social facilitation among excluded populations, including homeless people. However, having a pet may restrict access to services, including accommodation. The aims of this study were to assess pet provision among homelessness accommodation providers, and to assess reasons for pet provision or exclusion. An online survey consisting of multiple choice questions and free text boxes was distributed to a UK-wide sampling frame of homelessness service providers in July 2016. Of 523 contacts, 117 replied (response rate 22.4%). Of the respondents, 36.8% (43/117) provided services to pets. In contrast, 76.9% (90/117) reported having requests to accommodate pets. Common reasons for choosing to accept pets included perceived benefit to the owner (36/43, 83.7%) or animal (25/43, 58.1%). Most organizations which allowed pets (35/43, 81.4%) had a policy to ensure the animals’ welfare and restrict damage or nuisance. Of the 74 organizations which did not allow pets, health and safety of staff and other residents were the most common concerns. This study shows that demand for pet-friendly accommodation for homeless people far outstrips supply. In view of the important role that pets play for these vulnerable people, homelessness service providers should be encouraged and assisted to accommodate pets where feasible.
  • ... Spending more time could be consistent with activities related to dog walking and to social interaction. In a previous study, younger individuals have more social interaction when walking with their dogs than when walking alone (61,62). Dog-walking may also play a role in the social facilitation older dog owners experienced while walking dogs (63). ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Introduction: Diminishing cognitive and physical functions, worsening psychological symptoms, and increased mortality risk and morbidity typically accompany aging. The aging population's health needs will continue to increase as the proportion of the population aged > 50 years increases. Pet ownership (PO) has been linked to better health outcomes in older adults, particularly those with chronic conditions. Much of the evidence is weak. Little is known about PO patterns as people age or the contribution of PO to successful aging in community-dwelling older adults. This study examines PO patterns among healthy community-dwelling older adults and the relationship of PO to cognitive and physical functions and psychological status. Methods: Participants in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (> 50 years old, N = 378) completed a battery of cognitive, physical function, and psychological tests, as well as a PO questionnaire. Descriptive and non-parametric or general/generalized linear model analyses were conducted for separate outcomes. Results: Most participants (82%) had kept pets and 24% have pets: 14% dogs, 12% cats, 3% other pets. The most frequent reasons for having pets included enjoyment (80%) and companionship (66%). Most owners had kept the pet they had the longest for over 10 years (70%). PO was lower in older decades (p < 0.001). Pet owners were more likely to live in single-family homes and reside with others (p = 0.001) than non-owners. Controlling for age, PO was associated independently with better cognitive function (verbal leaning/memory p = 0.041), dog ownership predicted better physical function (daily energy expenditure, p = 0.018), and cat ownership predicted better cognitive functioning (verbal learning/memory, p = 0.035). Many older adults who did not own pets (37%) had regular contact with pets, which was also related to health outcomes. Conclusion: PO is lower at older ages, which mirrors the general pattern of poorer cognitive and physical function, and psychological status at older ages. PO and regular contact with pets (including PO) are associated with better cognitive status compared with those who did not own pets or had no regular contact with pets independent of age. Dog ownership was related to better physical function. Longitudinal analysis is required to evaluate the association of PO and/or regular contact with maintenance of health status over time.
  • ... Social relationships with animals may benefit people indirectly by stimulating positive social interactions and relationships with other humans, including therapists and hospital staff. Numerous experimental studies have demonstrated that people of all ages, including those with physical disabilities, enjoy more frequent and more positive interactions with strangers when accompanied in public by a dog than when unaccompanied (Guéguen & Ciccotti, 2008;Mader, Hart, & Bergin, 1989;McNicholas & Collis, 2000;Wells, 2004). Community-based surveys have further established that pet ownership is positively associated with social interaction among neighbors and with perceptions of neighborhood friendliness. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Studies of the effects of animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) face a number of theoretical and practical challenges. Proposed theoretical processes for the effects of AAIs include those that address primarily the animal’s ability to facilitate human–human social engagement, those that emphasize animals’ apparent capacity to trigger social attachments and provide nonhuman social support, those that categorize certain animals as supernormal stimuli, those that advance a biophilia hypothesis that living organisms have an innate ability to attract and hold human attention, and those that promote an integrative biopsychosocial model. Each of these generates potentially testable hypotheses, and the field would benefit from systematic efforts to address their validity. Practical challenges to AAI research include issues of study design and methodology, the heterogeneity of both AAI recipients and the animals participating in these interventions, the welfare of these animals, and the unusual pressure from the public and media to report and publish positive findings. Such challenges need to be carefully considered in designing and implementing future studies in the field.
  • ... Esta facilitación social estaría condicionada por el tipo de animal de compañía del que se trate (Serpell & Paul, 2011). Por ejemplo, un estudio encontró que experimentadores con cachorros tenían más aceptación que con perros adultos; y que una persona recibía menos reconocimiento con un rottweiler que con una labrador (Wells, 2004). La tenencia de mascotas también ha sido asociada con interacciones sociales, intercambios de favores, compromiso cívico, percepciones amistosas del vecindario y sentido de comunidad (Wodd, Giles-Corti, Bulsara, & Bosch, 2007). ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Los crecientes avances en antrozoología han permitido incrementar nuestro conocimiento sobre los potenciales beneficios derivados de la interacción humano-animal de compañía. Sin embargo, aún resta esclarecer los mecanismos y circunstancias que favorecen que estos beneficios tengan lugar. Se desarrolló un estudio descriptivo del que participaron un total de 549 tenedores de mascotas, quienes respondieron un inventario online que constaba de un cuestionario sociodemográfico, una evaluación de personalidad abreviada basada en el Modelo de los cincos grandes (Ten Item Personality Inventory) y la Escala de Beneficios Percibidos (EBP). La única dimensión de la personalidad asociada a los puntajes de EBP fue Apertura a la experiencia; a su vez, esta fue la única dimensión de personalidad asociada con considerar animal de compañía como miembro de la familia. La comparación entre custodios de perros y gatos no evidenció diferencias en EBP. Mientras que la edad de los participantes no mostró diferencias en los puntajes de EBP, las mujeres puntuaron significativamente más alto que los hombres. Se concluye destacando que la relación con perros y gatos es percibida como beneficiosa en igual medida, y que si bien esta percepción no se relacionaría con la edad del custodio, sí estaría relacionada con ciertos rasgos de personalidad, como mayor flexibilidad a cambios o interés por valores no convencionales, los cuales pueden favorecer la conexión entre especies. La marcada percepción diferencial de beneficios por parte de los custodios mujeres, es discutida en función de las limitaciones del estudio destacando un posible sesgo muestral. Palabras clave Antrozoología, Beneficios animales de compañía, Mascotas, Personalidad. Abstract The growing advances in anthrozoology have led to an increase in our knowledge on the potential benefits derived from the interaction between guardians and their animals. However, the mechanisms and circumstances that make this benefits take place are still to be elucidated. A descriptive study was carried out, in which 549 companion animal keepers participated and filled an online survey that consisted of a sociodemographic questionnaire, an abridged personality evaluation based on the Big Five model (Ten Item Personality Inventory; TIPI) and the Perceived Benefit Scale (PBS). The only personality dimension associated with PBS score was Openness to experience; moreover, this was the only personality dimension associated with the fact of considering the companion animal as a family member. The comparison between dog and cat guardians showed no difference in the BPS score. Whereas the participants' age showed no difference in the BPS score, women scored significantly higher than men did. As a conclusion, we highlight the fact that the relationship with dogs and cats is perceived beneficial in the same degree, and that, even though this perception has no relationship with the guardian's age, it would be related to certain personality traits, such as higher flexibility to changes or interest on no conventional values, which might strengthen the connection between species. The marked differential perception of the benefit by female guardians is discussed in function of the study limitations, taking into consideration a possible sample bias.
  • ... 17 En estos hallazgos resulta más 17 Esta facilitación social dependería en parte del tipo de animal (Serpell, 2011). Por ejemplo, un estudio encontró que experimentadores con cachorros tenían más aceptación que con perros adultos; y que una persona recibía menos reconocimiento con un rottweiler que con una labrador (Wells, 2004 (Serpell & Paul, 2011, en Emlen et al., 1991 (Serpell, 1996). ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Resumen: La tenencia de mascotas ha generado interrogantes socioeconómicos y evolutivos en tanto éstas no desempeñan tareas claramente utilitarias. Estos interrogantes pueden acentuarse considerando que el apego a estos animales resulta un fenómeno extendido ampliamente a través de la historia y en todo el mundo. Una hipótesis plantea que las mascotas funcionarían como parásitos sociales manipulando respuestas humanas para elicitar cuidados; la tenencia de estos animales iría en detrimento de la aptitud humana y configuraría un comportamiento desadaptativo. Contrariamente, basada en investigaciones sobre los beneficios de la tenencia de mascotas, otra hipótesis caracteriza el vínculo humano-animal de compañía como un caso de mutualismo, y la tenencia de mascotas como genuinamente adaptativa. Se exponen y articulan desarrollos de ambas perspectivas y se argumenta a favor de la hipótesis mutualista.
  • ... Interpersonal interactions seem to be facilitated by the mere presence of a friendly dog. For instance, dog companionship increases human social attractiveness, stimulating smiles, conversations, and prosocial behavior from strangers (Eddy et al. 1988; Gueguen and Ciccotti 2008;Wells 2004). Positive effects have also been described for human physiological health parameters. ...
    Chapter
    The practice of implementing dogs into therapeutic environments is an emerging field. Despite the increasingly growing scientific interest on human health outcomes, research efforts into the canine perspective of animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) have been scarce. The demands therapy dogs encounter during their performance in therapeutic environments however go beyond the challenge of accepting close social contact with strangers. Physiological and behavioral welfare indicators and dog handler surveys to identify stress related to AAIs have been used across the scientific literature. However, the current body of research presents a conflicting picture, making it difficult to generalize study results. Research indicates that frequency and duration of AAI sessions, novelty of the environment, controllability, age, and familiarity of recipients modulate animal welfare indicators. The biopsychosocial model of dog health in AAIs is proposed as a multidimensional framework of human–animal interaction effects on dogs. Moreover, training methods, attachment to handler, and inequity aversion in dogs are discussed as factors likely to affect welfare. This chapter highlights that clear conclusions on how the well-being of dogs is influenced by the performance in AAIs cannot be drawn due to the heterogeneity of programs, recipient and session characteristics, small dog sample sizes, and methodological limitations.
  • ... Tomando en consideración la dimensión social, los estudios señalan que las mascotas ejercen un efecto de lubricante social, facilitando el acercamiento y la mejora de las relaciones, efecto que permanece posteriormente aunque ya no esté presente la mascota [3] [18], un incremento de visitas de los amigos y un mayor número de actividades familiares [19], la mejora de las habilidades sociales [20], produce un efecto positivo sobre el desarrollo social y la empatía [21] [22], y favorece la confianza en los extraños [22] [23]. Estos efectos también se producen cuando se utilizan mascotas en contextos hospitalarios con pacientes psiquiátricos [24]. ...
    Article
    INTRODUCCIÓN. En varios estudios se ha desvelado que las relaciones entre humanos y animales pueden jugar un papel importante en el desarrollo socioemocional de los niños OBJETIVO. El presente estudio pretende identificar la relación existente entre la variable dependiente empatía y las variables independientes actitudes hacia las mascotas, trato hacia las mascotas y tener o no tener mascota, en un grupo de preadolescentes. MÉTODO. Se presenta un estudio de tipo ex post facto. Se han aplicado tres cuestionarios: El Interpersonal Reactivity Index en su versión castellanizada, El Pet Attitude Scale - Modified y El Children´s Treatment of Animals Questionnaire. RESULTADOS. Hemos constatado que existen relaciones de covariación entre algunas de las variables estudiadas lo que nos ha permitido proponer una serie de cuatro modelos causales y decidir cuál de ellos obtiene los mejores indicadores de bondad de ajuste. DISCUSIÓN Y CONCLUSIONES. El contacto con animales en el hogar ejerce influencia sobre el desarrollo de la empatía en los niños.
  • ... sie fördern bei Menschen jeden Alters, gesund oder krank, soziale Interaktionen, verbal und nonverbal. Dazu gehört auch, dass Personen in Begleitung eines freundlich aussehenden Hundes mehr positive soziale Aufmerksamkeit von anderen bekommen, häufiger angesprochen oder angelächelt werden (Eddy, Hart, & Boltz, 2001;Hart, Hart, & Bergin, 1987;Wells, 2004) und ihnen mehr Vertrauen entgegengebracht wird (Gueguen & Ciccotti, 2008). In einer experimentellen Studie wurde zudem gezeigt, dass sich die Anwesenheit eines freundlichen Hundes auch positiv auf die Wahrnehmung und Vertrauenswürdigkeit von Psychotherapeuten auswirkt (Schneider & Harley, 2006). ...
  • ... McNicholas and Collis (2000) found the presence of a pet dog to be associated with significantly more interactions with strangers. Pets in the workplace have also been associated with facilitated social interaction (Wells and Perrine, 2001), and Wells (2004) found that a Labrador puppy elicited significantly longer conversations from passersby than a teddy bear or a potted plant. Other authors have suggested that pets not only act as social lubricants, but may also serve as catalysts for social networks (Wood & Giles-Corti, 2005;Wood, Giles-Corti, Bulsara, & Bosch, 2007). ...
    Thesis
    Full-text available
    Though there is an expanding focus on the beneficial role of pets in the fields of nursing and veterinary medicine, the social sciences have been behind in paying attention to the significant role that pets play in human lives. Much has been made of findings that pet dogs may have a significant impact on physiological measures of health. However, dogs have also been associated with psychological measures of well-being, both through animal-assisted therapy and in the general population of dog owners. Whether the mechanism is touch, exercise, attachment, nonevaluative social support, or some combination of these, the human connection to the non-human animal world merits further investigation. Previous results have been mixed, and studies suffer from a lack of large sample sizes or sufficient control conditions, among other weaknesses. The current study attempts to address some of the gaps in the literature by assessing the impact of the presence of pet dogs on their owners" responses to a negative mood induction procedure. Controlling for dog ownership as well as for the presence of the dog, and collecting demographic information from each participant in addition to measures of self-esteem, depression, social support, attitudes towards pets, and attachment to pets, this study found that among single female dog owners, positive attitudes towards animals were associated with positive mood prior to the mood induction. In addition, dog owners accompanied by their dogs experienced significantly lower despondency scores compared to non-owners prior to the mood induction. However, the presence of a pet dog was associated with increases in anxiety and apprehension subsequent to the mood induction, suggesting the importance of considering contextual factors when evaluating the emotional benefits of dog ownership.
  • ... Companion animal ownership may also benefit us less directly by stimulating positive social interactions and relationships with other people. Several experimental studies have demonstrated that people of all ages, including those with physical disabilities, enjoy more frequent and more positive interactions with strangers when accompanied in public by a dog, than when unaccompanied (Guéguen & Ciccotti 2008;Mader et al. 1989;McNicholas & Collis 2000;Wells 2004). Community-based surveys have also determined that pet ownership is positively associated with social interaction among neighbours and with perceptions of neighbourhood friendliness. ...
    Chapter
    Companion animals (or pets) form a distinctive category of domestic animals defined by their primary use as nonhuman social support providers. Companion animals have an ancient history that may precede and anticipate the original domestication of animals. Currently, more than 60% of European and American households keep pets, and their numbers are increasing rapidly in several emerging economies. The results of research over the past four decades suggest that relationships with companion animals may be beneficial to human health and well-being, though the extent of the benefits will likely depend on relationship quality. Exposure to positive relationships with pets in childhood may also predispose people to develop more empathic responses to animals later in life. In spite of these benefits, pet ownership also imposes costs, particularly in terms of environmental damage, risk to public health and threat to animal welfare. The future of these exceptional human–animal relationships will depend on striking a positive balance between the benefits and the costs.
  • ... It was observed that animal visits reduce feelings of loneliness by increasing social interactions with the other group members. Wells (2004) conducted experiment on the behavior of 1800 strangers toward a female experimenter in six different situations. In different situation she was accompanied by a Labrador retriever puppy, a grown-up Labrador, a grown-up Rottweiler, a teddy bear, a plant and being alone as control conditions. ...
    Research
    Full-text available
    The aim of this study is to find out the effect of human and animal bond on emotional regulation and level of depression. From ages the relationship has been formed between humans and animals based on work, sports and companionship. These animals affect us in lot of ways and they become important part of our family portraits. To see this, sample was taken of 60 adolescents (18-25) out of which, 30 who owned the pet and 30 who did not own the pet, by using Emotional regulation questionnaire (ERQ) and Beck's depression inventory (BPI). The result shows no significant correlation among pet owners and non-pet owners. Thus, other factors also play a major role and further research needs to be done.
  • Article
    In human–animal studies, dogs are often framed as promoters of interactions among strangers. Yet very few of these studies discuss how racial structure shapes human-to-human engagement. Similarly, race scholarship and urban studies have failed to incorporate human–animal studies fully to better understand racial dynamics and inequality in U.S. cities. I use in-depth interview data from an 18-month study of Creekridge Park, an urban, multiracial, and mixed-income neighborhood in Durham, North Carolina, to explore the role of dogs for white residents. I focus on identifying if dogs helped bridge social differences between white residents and their Black and Latinx neighbors in a racially and economically diverse neighborhood. I find that while my white respondents shared many examples of dogs facilitating neighborly relationships and friendship, these relationships were largely between same-race individuals. By reinforcing a white, urban, middle-class habitus, white residents used dogs to maintain interracial boundaries and feelings of safety, as well as navigate racial-ethnic differences between themselves and their Black and Latinx neighbors. These findings point to the necessity of more research that addresses racial structure and human–animal studies to better understand contemporary urban spaces.
  • Chapter
    The next two chapters focus on the relationship older adults, and men in particular, have with their companion animals including the benefits, the challenges, and the programs designed to help preserve this bond. This chapter provides background on older adults - who they are and the challenges they face. It then explores the psychological and physiological benefits of pet ownership for this population. The chapter ends with challenges of pet ownership for older adults; providing the background for the next chapter that describes intergenerational service learning and one example, Pets Forever, a course designed to support pet ownership for older adults.
  • Article
    Several studies have shown the psychological benefits of plants on people's health, emotions, and well-being. However, the effect of flowers on social relations, and particularly helping behavior, has never been tested. In three field studies, confederates held a bunch of flowers or a T-shirt, or they had nothing in their hands while walking in a shopping mall and accidentally dropping a card-holder on the floor (Study 1) or while waiting at a pedestrian crossing (Study 2). Results showed that more participants warned the confederates of their loss and more drivers stopped when the confederates held a bunch of flowers. This effect of the presence of flowers was found with both male and female participants. In Study 3, we compared the effect of a potted plant to that of flowers and observed a significant effect of flowers only. The positive emotions associated with the presence of flowers and their symbolism were used to explain our results.
  • Article
    Dog-walking promotes physical activity and positive social interactions, and thus dog-walking has implications for people's physical and mental health. As a result, experts in public health have endorsed designing and managing public space to support dog-walking. Nevertheless, the presence of dogs in public space is subject to negotiation and can be controversial. Generally, municipal governments or local councils exercise political jurisdiction over both dogs and public space. As a case study, we systematically collected and analyzed a local newspaper's portrayals of issues relating to dog-walking in public space. Our purpose was to understand how public and policy agendas were being represented by local media, during a period of time when local policies on dog ownership and dog-supportive public space were being reviewed and revised. The analysis involved three phases: 1) thematic content analysis; 2) issue framing analysis; and 3) policy analysis. Thematically, we found that social conflict predominated. In terms of issue framing, local policy and individual dog owner behavior were both problematized. Over time, the policy agenda evolved to emphasize the design and management of public space, especially park land. Policy-makers presented this emphasis on public space as a proactive strategy to reduce social conflict and to promote compliance with existing rules on dog ownership. When it comes to promoting dog-walking to benefit animal welfare and human health, our findings underscore the importance of paying close attention to local policies and media coverage. In fact, we found that endogenous conflict and public controversies can actually represent significant opportunities to bring about positive changes in the lives of humans and nonhuman animals.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Children’s experiences of death are a potentially vital component of their developing sense of relatedness to non-human others and nature. Environmental education theory and practice would benefit from a broader understanding of how children view death and loss within ecological systems as well as within human–animal–nature relationships, but such research is currently lacking. This paper focuses on children’s own descriptions of the deaths of companion animals – a largely ignored category of non-human others in environmental education – and explores three emergent, ecological themes. These themes indicate that death experiences within the home space are significant in ecological learning.
  • Article
    Despite the prevalence of dogs as family pets and increased scientific interest in canine behavior, few studies have investigated charac- teristics of the child or dog that influence the child–dog relationship. In the present study, we explored how behavioral and some self-report measures influence a child's reported attachment to their dog, as assessed by the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale (LAPS). We tested specifically whether children (n = 99; mean age = 10.25 years, SD = 1.31) reported stronger attachment to dogs that were perceived as being more supportive (mea- sured by a modified version of the Network of Relationships Inventory), that were more successful in following the child's pointing gesture in a standard two-object choice test, or that solicited more petting in a sociability assess- ment. In addition, we assessed whether children's attachment security to their parent and being responsible for the care of their dog influenced re- ported attachment to the dog. Overall, perceived support provided by the dog was highly predictive of all subscales of the LAPS. The dog's success in following the child's pointing gestures and lower rates of petting during the sociability assessment were associated with higher ratings on the General Attachment subscale of the LAPS, but not on the other subscales. Caring for the dog did not predict the child's reported attachment to the dog, but did predict the dog's behavior on the point-following task and petting during the sociability task. If the child cared for the dog, the dog was more likely to be successful on the pointing task and more likely to be petted. These results indicate a dyadic relationship in which the child's care for the dog is associ- ated with the dog's behavior on the behavioral tasks, which in turn is related to the child's reported attachment to their dog. The direction of influence and nature of this dyad will be a fruitful area for future research.
  • Article
    Background Dog-assisted therapy (DAT) is increasingly applied in neurorehabilitation of patients with severe neurological impairments. To date, there are only anecdotal reports investigating its effects. Objectives This study was aimed to evaluate the potential of DAT in pediatric inpatient neurorehabilitation for severely neurologically impaired children and adolescents, to identify characteristics of patients receiving this therapy, characteristics of the therapy sessions, and to evaluate feasibility and extent of goal achievement. Methods We retrospectively analyzed 850 DAT sessions performed between 2010 and 2017 at an inpatient neurorehabilitation center. The dataset included 196 children and adolescents (Md = 5.50, 0.58–20.33 years) suffering from severe neurological impairments (disorders of consciousness in 37 patients) of various etiologies. We extracted information regarding patient and session characteristics, analyzed the predefined goals with content analysis, and examined to what extent the goals were met during DAT. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results Patients received an average of 4.34 therapy sessions. A total of 247 of 392 predefined goals (63%) were reached during DAT. The most frequently achieved goal was “enhancing fun” (83%), followed by “establishing contact and communication” (81%), and “relaxation” (71%). Only one critical incident regarding the dogs' safety occurred. Conclusion DAT is a feasible approach and appears to facilitate emotional, social, and psychological goals in children and adolescents with severe neurological impairment.
  • Article
    To facilitate the visually impaired participate in the society,it is essential that the guide dogs which accompany them should be accepted as well. In this study, we attempted to identify any problems associated with promoting societal participation of guide dogs, by analyzing impressions of the general public concerning guide dogs focusing mainly on morphological aspects. We used the Eye Tracker System (Manufactured by Tobii) to analyze line-of-sight measurements. In addition to it, we used the interval AHP method for subjective appraisal. From the results, it became clear that: (1) compared to high awareness of the name ‘guide dog’, its role and attributes are less understood. (2) the public tend to have more favorable impressions on the visually impaired when they are accompanied by guide dogs.(3) Labrador retriever especially pale colored one is the best favored by the public.
  • Article
    Animal-Assisted Activity Programs have been shown to improve physiological and mental health outcomes among program participants. The purpose of this study was to assess the significance of gender, depression, and companion animal attitudes as predictors of interest in participation in an animal-assisted activity program. The participants were 62 residents (average age 82 years) at assisted-living centers who responded to survey measures including the Pet Attitude Scale (PAS), Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), and a newly developed scale to measure interest in an animal assisted activity program. Pet attitudes and gender significantly predicted willingness to participate in the program. These results provide a contribution to the literature, which has not yet documented predictors of interest in participation in such a program among elderly citizens.
  • Article
    When disasters strike, companion animals (pets) matter. Emergency planning for them is a key aspect of disaster preparedness, especially considering that people may delay evacuation out of concern for their pets. Temporary boarding options for pets are important; however, caregivers (owners) must ultimately return to permanent housing. Surprisingly little attention has been paid to housing recovery in the disaster literature on pet ownership, and no studies have examined the potential for increased vulnerability among tenants with pets. This study analyzed online rental listings in a city that was severely flooded in 2013. In the following year, demand for pet-friendly rental housing outweighed supply. Landlords frequently stipulated restrictions on the allowable sizes, species, or breeds of pets. Dogs were often banned outright. To keep their pets, prospective tenants needed to exercise flexibility in location and pay higher surcharges. The implications of housing insecurity for tenants with pets have broad relevance, not just in disaster circumstances. Giving up a companion animal to secure housing can negatively impact resilience, whereas living in unsafe environments to avoid pet relinquishment may increase vulnerability.
  • Chapter
    Lisa Maria Glenk analysiert die Spezifika der Mensch-Hund-Beziehung hinsichtlich ihrer Passung auf TGI sowie die Auswirkungen auf die einbezogenen Hunde. Sie thematisiert zum Beispiel die von einer üblichen vertrauten Hund-Halter_in-Bindung abweichende ‚Fremdheit‘ der Hund-Klient_in-Beziehung in vielen tiergestützten Maßnahmen. Aus einer ersten Analyse einschlägiger internationaler experimenteller Daten zum Wohlbefinden von Interventionsbegleithunden – institutionszugehörige und Besuchshunde – extrahiert die Autorin zentrale Voraussetzungen für eine Gewährleistung von „animal welfare“ in TGI und formuliert eine Reihe wichtiger offener Forschungsfragen zu dieser bisher leider kaum beachten Dimension tiergestützter Arbeit.
  • Article
    Therapy and visitation dogs are becoming more common on college campuses to provide comfort and support to students, but little attention has been given to the concerns of faculty and staff who share space with the dogs in their workplaces. The purpose of this study was to assess the perceptions of faculty and staff with regard to both the benefits and the hazards (e.g., dander, bites, fleas) and risks associated with the presence of visitation dogs in their workplaces. One hundred and thirty-eight employees who worked in buildings with resident visitation dogs completed an online survey about their perceptions of the hazards and risks of the dogs and the effects of dogs on the wellbeing of both students and employees. In general, employees perceived that the dogs presented minimal risks, and most employees believed that they can reduce stress and provide comfort to students on campus. There were a few employees, however, who reported that the dogs did not improve the work environment and conferred no benefits to the staff or students. The findings of the present survey support the mostly positive attitudes that people have for dogs in the workplace, but they also highlight a potential challenge: accommodating individuals who believe very strongly that dogs do not belong in work environments.
  • Thesis
    Full-text available
    La relación humano-perro tiene una historia evolutiva particularmente extensa. Los primeros perros fueron utilizados como guardianes, guías y compañeros de caza, asumiendo luego roles cruciales en el desarrollo de la agricultura. Aunque tratados como subordinados, gradualmente fueron convirtiéndose en valorados compañeros. Actualmente constituyen el prototipo de animal de compañía, destacándose sus posibilidades de establecer una estrecha relación bidireccional con los humanos. Sin embargo, los vínculos entre humanos y animales han sido tradicionalmente excluidos de consideraciones académicas serias. Con el surgimiento de la antrozoología, hace poco más de 30 años, el estudio de las interacciones humano-animal comenzó su ininterrumpido crecimiento, principalmente en los países más desarrollados. Con el objetivo de describir la relación humano-perro en Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, se realizó un estudio transversal, mediante encuestas, que involucró a 425 participantes (hombres: 119; mujeres: 306) mayores de 21 años (M = 42.96, DE = 16.08), todos los cuales habían residido con sus perros de compañía por más de un año. Los participantes completaron un cuestionario sociodemográfico y seis medidas de la relación humano-perro: Interacción Dueño-Perro, Cercanía Emocional Percibida, Costos Percibidos, Antropomorfismo, Voluntad de Adaptación y Beneficios Percibidos. Todos los aspectos de la relación se asociaron entre sí excepto por Costos Percibidos, que sólo se asoció positivamente con la Voluntad de Adaptación y negativamente al Antropomorfismo. La tendencia al antropomorfismo fue el aspecto relacional que más se asoció con la percepción de relaciones humano-perro exitosas, en tanto resultó la única faceta de la relación asociada con la percepción de menores costos y de mayores beneficios. Por otro lado, el antropomorfismo no se relacionó con la cantidad de personas o hijos en la vivienda, mientras que sí lo hizo intensamente con la Cercanía Emocional Percibida. Las mujeres manifestaron mayores niveles de proximidad emocional y antropomorfismo, pero no difirieron de los hombres en las demás variables relacionales. La edad de los custodios se asoció con menor percepción de costos y de intensidad en las interacciones con el perro. La menor edad de los hijos se asoció con menor cercanía emocional y mayor percepción de costos. Los perros de mayor tamaño resultaron más beneficiosos, aunque no más costosos para sus custodios. La raza de los perros y su estado reproductivo no mostraron relación con la intensidad de la relación, más que una leve asociación entre raza de perro y comportamientos ligados a la identidad social o estatus del custodio. Los resultados destacaron que la relación con los perros era concebida como un vínculo de familia, de elevada proximidad afectiva e intensidad en las interacciones, por el que los custodios estaban dispuestos a afrontar múltiples costos. Las descripciones realizadas permitieron identificar estrategias para fomentar relaciones humano-perro más exitosas, así como intervenciones ligadas al bienestar de humanos y perros. En suma, esta investigación se propone contribuir a destacar la relevancia y legitimidad del estudio de las interacciones humano-animal.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Abstract: University students have been found to have higher rates of psychological distress than that of the general population, which reportedly rises significantly upon starting university and does not return to pre-university levels throughout their time in university. It is therefore highly important to find ways to improve student health and well-being. One way that may help is by interacting with animals. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether interacting with a dog would have a positive effect on university students' mood and anxiety. This study assigned 82 university students to either the experimental condition (dog interaction, n = 41) or to the control condition (dog video, n = 41). The students completed the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule-Expanded Form (PANAS-X), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Pet Attitude Scale before their assigned conditions, to evaluate their mood and anxiety levels and attitudes to animals. The participants again completed the STAI and PANAS-X Form after their condition, to assess for possible changes in anxiety and mood. The findings of the study indicated that all participants, regardless of condition, experienced a reduction in their anxiety and an improvement in their mood across time. However, directly interacting with a dog resulted in greater declines in anxiety and improved mood scores, more so than watching a video. Consequently, it appears there are psychological benefits to be gained by students from interacting with dogs and it is hoped this study will help to inform future best practices in designing student dog interventions.
  • Article
    This article is a compilation of studies of recent years, in relation to dogs as facilitators of socialization among strangers, and the influence that pets have in the modern urban space. With the creation of dog parks In this work, after obtaining a notion of canine demography in Costa Rica, and the creation of the first dog park of the country, is discussed the need for creating such places. Public spaces for socialization and interaction of dogs, can benefit their owners, neighbors and the broader community, significantly increasing the levels of social capital and active life.
  • Article
    This longitudinal study examined the effect of acquiring a dog using both an indirect and a direct measure of loneliness. The loneliness levels of 31 adults who acquired a dog and a control group of 35 non-dog guardians (non-dog owners) were assessed at baseline and 8 months. Results revealed that changes in loneliness over time differed for the two groups when loneliness was assessed through a 1-item direct measure. Participants who acquired a dog experienced reduced loneliness levels from baseline to 8 months and were less lonely at 8 months than non-dog guardians, even though the two groups did not differ at baseline. On the other hand, when loneliness was assessed through a multi-item indirect measure, acquiring a dog had no effect on loneliness. These results highlight the importance of the type of measure used to assess loneliness when examining changes in loneliness following the acquisition of a companion animal.
  • Dogs as human companions: a review of the relationship
    • L A Hart
    Hart, L. A. 1995. Dogs as human companions: a review of the relationship. In The Domestic Dog: Its Evolution, Behaviour and Interactions with People, 162-178, ed. J. Serpell. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Interactions between people and their pets: form and function
    • A H Katcher
    Katcher, A. H. 1981. Interactions between people and their pets: form and function. In Interrelationships between People and Pets, 41-67, ed. B. Fogle. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
  • Talking, looking and blood pressure: Physiological consequences of interaction with the living environment
    • A H Katcher
    • E Friedmann
    • A M Beck
    • J J Lynch
    Katcher, A. H., Friedmann, E., Beck, A. M. and Lynch, J. J. 1983. Talking, looking and blood pressure: Physiological consequences of interaction with the living environment. In New Perspectives on Our Lives with Companion Animals, 351-359, eds. A. H. Katcher and A. M. Beck. Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press.
    • K Lorenz
    Lorenz, K. 1971. Studies in Animal and Human Behaviour, Volume II. London: Methuen.
  • Could Type A (coronary-prone) personality explain the association between pet ownership and health?
    • J Mcnicholas
    • G M Collis
    McNicholas, J. and Collis, G. M. 1998. Could Type A (coronary-prone) personality explain the association between pet ownership and health? In Companion Animals in Human Health, 173-186, eds. C. C. Wilson and D. C. Turner. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Social facilitation of contact with other people by pet dogs
    • P R Messent
    Messent, P. R. 1983. Social facilitation of contact with other people by pet dogs. In New Perspectives on Our Lives with Companion Animals, 37-46, eds. A. H. Katcher and A. M. Beck. Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press.
  • Some recent work on the psychotherapeutic value of caged birds with old people
    • R A Mugford
    • J G Comisky
    Mugford, R. A. and M'Comisky, J. G. 1975. Some recent work on the psychotherapeutic value of caged birds with old people. In Pets, Animals and Society, 54-65, ed. R. S. Anderson. London: Bailliere Tindall.
  • The relationship between attachment to companion animals and self-esteem
    • S L Triebenbacher
    Triebenbacher, S. L. 1998. The relationship between attachment to companion animals and self-esteem. In Companion Animals in Human Health, 135-148, eds. C. C. Wilson and D. C. Turner. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Companion Animals in Human Health
    • C C Wilson
    • D C Turner
    Wilson, C. C. and Turner, D. C. 1998. Companion Animals in Human Health. London: Sage Publications.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    A 10-month prospective study was carried out which examined changes in behaviour and health status in 71 adult subjects following the acquisition of a new pet (either dogs or cats). A group of 26 subjects without pets served as a comparison over the same period. Both pet-owning groups reported a highly significant reduction in minor health problems during the first month following pet acquisition, and this effect was sustained in dog owners through to 10 months. The pet-acquiring groups also showed improvements in their scores on the 30-item General Health Questionnaire over the first 6 months and, in dog owners, this improvement was maintained until 10 months. In addition, dog owners took considerably more physical exercise while walking their dogs than the other two groups, and this effect continued throughout the period of study. The group without pets exhibited no statistically significant changes in health or behaviour, apart from a small increase in recreational walking. The results provide evidence that pet acquisition may have positive effects on human health and behaviour, and that in some cases these effects are relatively long term.
  • Book
    The original edition was the first book to provide a comprehensive overview of the ways in which animals can assist therapists with treatment of specific populations, and/or in specific settings. The second edition continues in this vein, with 7 new chapters plus substantial revisions of continuing chapters as the research in this field has grown. New coverage includes: Animals as social supports, Use of AAT with Special Needs students, the role of animals in the family- insights for clinicians, and measuring the animal-person bond. *Contributions from veterinarians, animal trainers, psychologists, and social workers *Includes guidelines and best practices for using animals as therapeutic companions *Addresses specific types of patients and environmental situations.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Although the socializing role of dogs for people has been well documented, the effectiveness of less active animals in precipitating social interactions is not known. This study examined whether a rabbit or a turtle when accompanied by a young woman confederate sitting in a park would attract unfamiliar adults and children and result in social interchange. For comparison, the woman also sat blowing bubbles or with an operating television set. Behaviors of the approaching adults and children were noted, and conversations were tape recorded. Social approaches were frequent when the woman was sitting with the rabbit or blowing bubbles, were numerous when she was sitting with the turtle, and were virtually absent when she was watching television. The rabbit attracted the most adults. Approaching adults and children talked primarily about the stimulus and themselves and made few references to the confederate. In a friendly community setting and without special effort or obvious need by the confederate, unobtrusive animals evoked social approaches and conversations from unfamiliar adults and children.
  • Article
    The evidence that people form strong attachments with their pets is briefly reviewed before identifying the characteristics of such relationships, which include pets being a source of security as well as the objects of caregiving. In evolutionary terms, pet ownership poses a problem, since attachment and devoting resources to another species are, in theory, fitness-reducing. Three attempts to account for pet keeping are discussed, as are the problems with these views. Pet keeping is placed into the context of other forms of interspecific associations. From this, an alternative Darwinian explanation is proposed: pets are viewed as manipulating human responses that had evolved to facilitate human relationships, primarily (but not exclusively) those between parent and child. The precise mechanisms that enable pets to elicit caregiving from humans are elaborated. They involve features that provide the initial attraction, such as neotenous characteristics, and those that enable the human owner to derive continuing satisfaction from interacting with the pet, such as the attribution of mental processes to human-like organisms. These mechanisms can, in some circumstances, cause pet owners to derive more satisfaction from their pet relationship than those with humans, because they supply a type of unconditional relationship that is usually absent from those with other human beings.
  • Article
    This study investigated the effects of animal-assisted therapy (A-AT) on self-reported depression in a college population. Forty-four participants were selected on the basis of scores on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). They then were assigned to one of three groups: A-AT in conjunction with psychotherapy (directive group), A-AT only (nondirective group), and control. Standardized regressed BDI posttest scores were used as dependent variables in one-way analysis of variance with treatment as the independent variable. Results revealed significant differences among groups, F(2,41)=3.69, p<.05. Duncan's Multiple Ranges Test indicated that standardized regressed BDI post-test scores differed significantly between nondirective (M=5.67) and control groups (M=10.18).
  • Article
    Five major British daily newspapers (4 broadsheets and 1 tabloid) and their related Sunday editions were monitored over a 5-year period (1988 to 1992 inclusive) to locate articles on dog attacks on humans. From 1989 to 1991 (inclusive) there was intense media interest in dog attacks whereas in 1988 and 1992 there was little. In 1989 and 1990, German Shepherds and Rottweilers were most often reported as the attacking dog but the Rottweiler suffered disproportionate negative publicity. Breed registration figures reflected the media interest with a dramatic drop in Rottweiler numbers. In 1991, the American Pit Bull Terrier was most often in the news and the government hastily introduced new dog legislation, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. It is suggested that the media, public, and government response is an overreaction to the generally held ideal that the dog's position in society is as a loyal and faithful companion. The dog's position in society therefore appears to be inherently unstable. With real or even perceived increases in unacceptable behavior by these animals, the species, or at the very least certain breeds of dog, could rapidly lose public favor and acceptance.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    In order to examine pet ownership and pet attachment as factors supporting the health of the elderly, a national probability sample of Americans 65 years of age and older was drawn. Participants answered telephone survey questions regarding pet ownership, life stress, social support, depression, and recent illness. In multiple regression analyses, pet ownership failed to predict depression and illness behavior, while pet attachment significantly predicted depression but not illness experience. In a group with particularly great distress (the bereaved), pet ownership and strong attachment were significantly associated with less depression only when the number of available confidants was minimal.
  • Article
    Approaches by human passers-by to a Golden Retriever puppy with a human companion were tallied as the puppy aged from ten weeks to 33 weeks. Over this period, approaches were most numerous when the puppy was youngest, with females approaching more than males during the first half of sampling, but equaling male approaches during the second half. Both the number of human approaches and the proportions of males and females were independent of the sex of the puppy's human companion. The results suggest a human, and especially a female, preference for canine juvenescence.
  • Article
    Social stimulation is a valuable aspect of therapeutic activities at long-term care facilities, designed to decrease social isolation, maintain or stimulate mental abilities, and increase awareness of the external environment. A study was undertaken at two such facilities to compare the effectiveness of Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) with Non-Animal Therapy (NAT) at providing social stimulation, that is, at providing opportunities for patients to engage in social interaction and to initiate social behaviors. While studies have indicated that AAT can improve resident outlook or affect, few have directly studied the social behaviors that might lead to such improvements, or the role the animals themselves might play. We observed 33 patients, both alert and semi- to non-alert, during regular recreational therapy sessions. Most patients were women (29 vs. four men), and geriatric (in their 70's and 80's). Non-Animal Therapies included Arts and Crafts and Snack Bingo, while AAT involved animals from local animal shelters being brought by volunteers to group sessions. Social behaviors naturally divided into Brief Conversations, Long Conversations, and Touch. We determined frequencies and rates of the behaviors, who initiated the behaviors and whether the behaviors were directed at other people or at the animals. Overall, during AAT residents were involved in as much or more conversation with others, including the animals, as residents in Non-Animal Therapy, and were more likely to initiate and participate in longer conversations. The finding that different kinds of therapies seem to encourage different kinds of conversation might be an important consideration when investigating health benefits. The most dramatic differences between therapy types were found in rates of touch: touching the animals during AAT added significantly to resident engagement in, and initiation of, this behavior. Since touch is considered an important part of social stimulation and therapy, the enhancement of this social behavior by the animals is an important, and perhaps undervalued, effect.
  • Article
    Every year sees an increase in the number of dogs admitted to rescue shelters. However well these dogs are cared for in the shelter it cannot be ignored that being in such a situation is stressful and the time spent in the shelter may change the dogs' behaviour which may in turn influence their chances of being bought from the shelter. This research examined the behaviour of stray and unwanted dogs on their first, third and fifth days in an Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) shelter. A questionnaire was also distributed to members of the public to determine how popular the USPCA was as a place from where to purchase a dog, and what factors about a dog's physical characteristics, behaviour and environment influenced potential buyers. Results revealed no significant difference between the behaviour of stray and unwanted dogs although the public viewed stray dogs as much less desirable than unwanted dogs. Time in the shelter had no adverse effects on the dogs' behaviour. Indeed those changes which did occur during captivity, dogs being more relaxed in the presence of people and eating food more quickly, may be considered as positive changes. The USPCA was viewed as a popular place from which to buy a dog. Off actors influencing the public's choice, the dog's environment and behaviour appeared more important than its physical characteristics. The presence of a toy in the dog's cage greatly increased the public's preference for the dog, although the toy was ignored by the dog. The welfare implications of sheltering dogs are discussed
  • Article
    Despite the widespread ownership of pet animals in American families, there is very little analysis of the role of pets in child development. This paper will examine the influence of pet animals on child development; the impact of pet loss and bereavement on children; the problem of child cruelty to animals and its relationship to child abuse; and the role of pets in both normal and disturbed families. The authors will also review their own research study of adult prisoners and juveniles in institutions in regard to their experiences with pet animals.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Topics include: importance of pets in quality of life and for some vulnerable individuals (effects of companion animals on loneliness and depression, socializing effects of animals, motivating effects of animals, effects of animals in mobilizing attention and calming); normalizing effects of animals (facilitating normal development, ameliorating emotional crises and extenuating circumstances); and individuality in human responses to animals (personal history with animals during the life cycle, attachment and compatibility). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Article
    Discusses the role of selection based on particular human propensities in the evolution of artifacts. Changes in teddy bear appearance since 1903 are related to K. Lorenz's (1950) suggestion that certain key features elicit nurturance and affection and that dolls and cartoon characters are influenced by this dynamic. (5 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Article
    The effect of the presence of a friendly animal on children's blood pressures and heart rates while resting and their cardiovascular responses to verbalization were examined. The presence of the dog resulted in lower blood pressures both while the children (N = 38) were resting and while they were reading. The effect of the presence of the dog was greater when the dog was present initially than when it was introduced in the second half of the experiment. We speculate that the animal causes the children to modify their perceptions of the experimental situation and the experimenter by making both less threatening and more friendly. This study provides insight into the use of pets as adjuncts in psychotherapy. (C) Williams & Wilkins 1983. All Rights Reserved.
  • Article
    It is known that pet dogs can act as catalysts for human social interactions, and it has been suggested that this may enhance feelings of well-being. Two studies were carried out to establish the robustness of this effect. In Study 1, a highly trained dog was used to ensure that the dog itself did not solicit attention from passers-by, and data were collected across a range of normal daily activities in which a dog could be included, not confined to conventional dog walking areas as in previous studies. Being accompanied by a dog increased the frequency of social interactions, especially interactions with strangers. In Study 2, also using a trained dog, a different (male) participant observer was dressed either smartly or scruffily. Although there were significantly more interactions when he was smartly dressed, the greatest effect was between the Dog present and No Dog conditions irrespective of the handler's dress. It is concluded that the social catalysis effect is very robust, which opens the way for investigating possible consequences of the effect for wellbeing and health.
  • Article
    Thesis (Ph. D.)--Queen's University of Belfast, 1996.
  • Article
    To compare risk factors for cardiovascular disease in pet owners and non-owners. Accepted risk factors for cardiovascular disease were measured in 5741 participants attending a free, screening clinic at the Baker Medical Research Institute in Melbourne. Blood pressure, plasma cholesterol and triglyceride values were compared in pet owners (n = 784) and non-owners (n = 4957). Pet owners had significantly lower systolic blood pressure and plasma triglycerides than non-owners. In men, pet owners had significantly lower systolic but not diastolic blood pressure than non-owners, and significantly lower plasma triglyceride levels, and plasma cholesterol levels. In women over 40 years old, systolic but not diastolic pressure was significantly lower in pet owners and plasma triglycerides also tended to be lower. There were no differences in body mass index and self-reported smoking habits were similar, but pet owners reported that they took significantly more exercise than non-owners, and ate more meat and "take-away" foods. The socioeconomic profile of the pet owners and non-owners appeared to be comparable. Pet owners in our clinic population had lower levels of accepted risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and this was not explicable on the basis of cigarette smoking, diet, body mass index or socioeconomic profile. The possibility that pet ownership reduces cardiovascular risk factors should therefore be investigated.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Autonomic responses were measured while 45 adult women performed a standard experimental stress task in the laboratory with only the experimenter present and 2 weeks later at home in the presence of a female friend, pet dog, or neither. Results demonstrated that autonomic reactivity was moderated by the presence of a companion, the nature of whom was critical to the size and direction of the effect. Ss in the friend condition exhibited higher physiological reactivity and poorer performance than subjects in the control and pet conditions. Ss in the pet condition showed less physiological reactivity during stressful tasks than Ss in the other conditions. The results are interpreted in terms of the degree to which friends and pets are perceived as evaluative during stressful task performance. Physiological reactivity was consistent across the laboratory and field settings.
  • Article
    Recent research on human-dog interactions showed that talking to and petting a dog are accompanied by lower blood pressure (BP) in the person than human conversation. To clarify whether cognition, conditioning, or tactual contact exerted the major influence in this so-called "pet effect," 60 male and female undergraduates with either positive or neutral attitudes toward dogs interacted with a dog tactually, verbally, and visually while BP and heart rate were recorded automatically. Results revealed that (a) subjects' BP levels were lowest during dog petting, higher while talking to the dog, and highest while talking to the experimenter and (b) subjects' heart rates were lower while talking or touching the dog and higher while both touching and talking to the dog. Touch appeared to be major component of the pet effect, while cognitive factors contributed to a lesser degree. Implications for coping with hypertension are discussed, and suggestions for further research are stated.
  • Article
    Blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate were recorded in 24 subjects during 3 9-minute measurement sessions in which they petted an unknown dog, petted a dog with whom a companion bond had been established, or read quietly. Based on the findings of this study, several conclusions were drawn: (1) There is a significant difference in changes over time in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure between petting a dog with whom a companion bond has been established and petting a dog with whom no bond exists; (2) the decreases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure that occur during petting a dog with whom a companion bond has been established parallel the relaxation effect of quiet reading; and (3) there is a " greeting response" to the entry of a dog with whom a companion bond has been established, which results in significantly higher systolic and diastolic pressures than the response either to an unknown dog or to reading.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The findings of this study confirm the independent importance of social factors in the determination of health status. Social data obtained during patients' hospitalization can be valuable in discriminating 1-year survivors. These social data can add to the prognostic discrimination beyond the effects of the well-known physiological predictors. More information is needed about all forms of human companionship and disease. Thus, it is important that future investigations of prognosis in various disease states include measures of the patient's social and psychological status with measures of disease severity. The phenomenon of pet ownership and the potential value of pets as a source of companionship activity or attention deserved more careful attention that that recorded in the literature. Almost half of the homes in the United States have some kind of pet. Yet, to our knowledge, no previous studies have included pet ownership among the social variables examined to explain disease distribution. Little cost is incurred by the inclusion of pet ownership in such studies, and it is certainly by the importance of pets in the lives of people today and the long history of association between human beings and companion animals. The existence of pets as important household members should be considered by those who are responsible for medical treatment. The need to care for a pet or to arrange for its care may delay hospitalization; it may also be a source of concern for patients who are hospitalized. Recognition of this concern by physicians, nurses, and social workers may alleviate emotional stress among such patients. The therapeutic uses of pets have been considered for patients hospitalized with mental illnesses and the elderly. The authors suggest that patients with coronary heart disease should also be included in this consideration. Large numbers of older patients with coronary heart disease are socially isolated and lonely. While it is not yet possible to conclude that pet ownership is beneficial to these patients, pets are an easily attainable source of psychological comfort with relatively few risks.
  • Article
    Social support and pet ownership, a nonhuman form of social support, have both been associated with increased coronary artery disease survival. The independent effects of pet ownership, social support, disease severity, and other psychosocial factors on 1-year survival after acute myocardial infarction are examined prospectively. The Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial provided physiologic data on a group of post-myocardial infarction patients with asymptomatic ventricular arrhythmias. An ancillary study provided psychosocial data, including pet ownership, social support, recent life events, future life events, anxiety, depression, coronary prone behavior, and expression of anger. Subjects (n = 424) were randomly selected from patients attending participating Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial sites and completed baseline psychosocial questionnaires. One year survival data were obtained from 369 patients (87%), of whom 112 (30.4%) owned pets and 20 (5.4%) died. Logistic regression indicates that high social support (p < 0.068) and owning a pet (p = 0.085) tend to predict survival independent of physiologic severity and demographic and other psychosocial factors. Dog owners (n = 87, 1 died) are significantly less likely to die within 1 year than those who did not own dogs (n = 282, 19 died; p < 0.05); amount of social support is also an independent predictor of survival (p = 0.065). Both pet ownership and social support are significant predictors of survival, independent of the effects of the other psychosocial factors and physiologic status. These data confirm and extend previous findings relating pet ownership and social support to survival among patients with coronary artery disease.
  • Article
    It is known that pet dogs can act as catalysts for human social interactions, and it has been suggested that this may enhance feelings of well-being. Two studies were carried out to establish the robustness of this effect. In Study 1, a highly trained dog was used to ensure that the dog itself did not solicit attention from passers-by, and data were collected across a range of normal daily activities in which a dog could be included, not confined to conventional dog walking areas as in previous studies. Being accompanied by a dog increased the frequency of social interactions, especially interactions with strangers. In Study 2, also using a trained dog, a different (male) participant observer was dressed either smartly or scruffily. Although there were significantly more interactions when he was smartly dressed, the greatest effect was between the Dog present and No Dog conditions irrespective of the handler's dress. It is concluded that the social catalysis effect is very robust, which opens the way for investigating possible consequences of the effect for well-being and health.
  • Article
    The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the presence of friends, spouses, and pets on cardiovascular reactivity to psychological and physical stress. Cardiovascular reactivity was examined among 240 married couples, half of whom owned a pet. Mental arithmetic and cold pressor were performed in one of four randomly assigned social support conditions: alone, with pet or friend (friend present for non-pet owners), with spouse, with spouse and pet/friend. Relative to people without pets, people with pets had significantly lower heart rate and blood pressure levels during a resting baseline, significantly smaller increases (ie, reactivity) from baseline levels during the mental arithmetic and cold pressor, and faster recovery. Among pet owners, the lowest reactivity and quickest recovery was observed in the pet-present conditions. People perceive pets as important, supportive parts of their lives, and significant cardiovascular and behavioral benefits are associated with those perceptions.