Updating the Human-Animal Bond

Updating the Human-Animal Bond

Bonding with Dog Checklist, BoDC (Martinez et al., 2018)

by David Anderson on 06/21/18

Martinez, Sarah C.; Cano, Annmarie; Casey, Rita J.; Johnson, Amy; May, Dana; Wurm, Lee H.

            Development of the Bonding with Dog Checklist (BoDC). Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin. 2018; 6(1): 32-46.

            Abstract: The growing interest in the mechanisms through which human-animal interaction (HAI) benefits humans suggests that new measures are needed to assess human bonding, especially to non-owned animals (i.e., animals that are not the human’s pet). The current study addressed this need by developing and testing a new measure to assess human bonding behavior with non-owned animals, during an animal-assisted intervention that incorporated shelter dogs. An observational measure, a 12-item Bonding with Dog Checklist (BoDC), was created based on prior work on dog bonding and attachment. Participants in the study were incarcerated adolescents residing in two juvenile detention centers (N = 131). An Exploratory Factor Analysis resulted in a final 7-item measure with a single factor structure and good inter-item reliability (alpha = .864). Raters used the 7-item BoDC to assess bonding of youth with dogs as they trained or walked shelter dogs during a 10-week intervention. Seventeen rates were trained in use of the observational measure and attended weekly supervison meetings. BoDC scores increased over the sessions and the BoDC was moderately correlated with a measure of dog attachment in the first half of the intervention, providing some evidence for construct validity. These results provide preliminary evidence for the BoDC as a reliable and valid measure to assess human bonding to animnals that are not their personal companions.

            Correspondence to Cano, Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, 5057 Woodward Ave, Detroit MI 48202 USA; [email protected].

            The 12 initial BoDC obversational measures are listed in Table 1 (page 38) and the seven final measures are listed in Table 2 (page 39). A dog attachment measure was adapted from the Companion Animal Bonding Scale (Poresky et al., 1987) and the Pet Relationship Scale (Kafer et al., 1992). The selected items did not assume a pre-existing or companion-type relationship with the animal. See page 37.

Coleman Dog Attitude Scale, C-DAS (Coleman et al., 2016)

by David Anderson on 07/04/16

Coleman, Jennifer A.; Green, Brooke; Garthe, Rachel C.; Worthington, Everett L., Jr.; Barker, Sandra B.; Ingram, Kathleen M.

         The Coleman Dog Attitude Scale (C-DAS): Development, refinement, validation, and reliability. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 2016 Mar; 176; 77-86.

          DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2016.01.003

          Abstract: Human–animal interactions have been studied for many years. As the human–animal interaction field continues to grow, the need for measures that adequately assess fundamental human–animal domains (e.g., relationships, interactions, attachments, bonds) also increases. Specifically, attitudes toward dogs is an important construct given that dogs are commonly owned pets and there is a preponderance of human–animal interaction research focusing on dogs. The current study involved the development, refinement, reliability, and validation of a scale measuring attitudes toward dogs (the Coleman Dog Attitude Scale; C-DAS). Items for the scale were developed through a previous unpublished study that assessed individuals’ attitudes toward dogs using the tripartite model (i.e., thoughts, feelings, and behaviors) of attitude structure. Experts winnowed down items to develop a 63-item scale for Study 1. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted on data from undergraduate students (N?=?502). A one-factor solution was produced and the measure was refined to a 24-item scale. The C-DAS had an alpha of 0.98. In Study 2 (N?=?219 undergraduates), a 2-week test-retest reliability analysis was conducted (r? =?0.75) and evidence of construct validity was assessed. The C-DAS had an alpha of 0.98 at Time 1 and 0.99?at Time 2. In Study 3 (N?=?125), a community sample was utilized to conduct a confirmatory factor analysis and adduce additional evidence for construct validity. In this sample, the C-DAS had an alpha of 0.98. The C-DAS was deemed to have adequate psychometric support to be used in further research. Scores on the C-DAS predicted behavioral intentions of interacting with dogs, but did not consistently predict donating to a charity related to dogs or volunteering to help children who have a fear of dogs. The C-DAS showed significant, though weak, associations with measures of connections to animals and nature, and a strong association to measures of attitudes toward pets, providing some additional evidence of construct validity. The C-DAS has the potential to allow researchers to control for attitudes toward dogs in future studies examining human-animal interactions.

            Correspondence to Coleman, Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 896 W Franklin St., PO Box 842018, Richmond, VA.

Person-Animal Wellness Survey, PAWS (Johansson, 1999)

by David Anderson on 07/16/15

Person-Animal Wellness Survey, PAWS (Johansson, 1999)

Developed and used in:

Johannson, Eunice E.

            Human-animal bonding : an investigation of attributes. 1999. [x], 132 leaves

            Unpublished thesis (PhD in School Psychology)—University of Alberta, Canada, 1999.

            The Questionnaire: Person-Animal Wellness Survey (PAWS) is published as Appendix A, leaves 125-127. Discussion of the survey is on leaves 33-35.

            Abstract: This study used the triangulation approach to examine the nature of relationships between people and their family dog. The objective was to gain insight into the attributes of human-animal bonding. It investigated whether evidence of human-animal bonding might be revealed in the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors reported by participants and observed by the researcher. In-depth case studies were conducted with twenty children and their family dogs. The children selected were between the ages of eight and eighteen, from a Western Canadian city (Edmonton, Alberta), with possession of their family dog for at least one year. The author developed and used a questionnaire, semi-structured interview and behavioral observation cue list to obtain the childrens views and learn more about their relationships with their family dog. Analysis of the interview and behavioral observation material was conducted by developing a matrix for display and matching of patterns. To evaluate potential usefulness of the questionnaire a sampling of 92 participants (children and adults) was added following completion of the case studies. Based on correlational and factor analysis, results suggested nine factors for grouping the characteristics of human-animal bonding. Further analyses revealed human-animal bonding to be a multidimensional phenomenon, characterized by emotional-psychological, social, behavioral, and commitment dimensions. Results of the study are discussed in relation to theory on human attachment and bonding and its relevance to understanding and advancing knowledge of the human-animal bonding phenomenon. Findings of this study indicate implications for further research and application in the areas of school and counselling psychology.

             Available through the website http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/obj/s4/f2/dsk1/tape7/PQDD_0025/NQ39548.pdf (Accessed 1 Dec 2014).

            Abstract also in Dissertation Abstracts International, Section A: Humanities & Social Sciences. 2000 Mar; 2000: 60(8-A): 2798-2798.


Modified by

Wedl, Manuela; Schöberl, Iris; Bauer, Barbara; Day, Jon; Kotrschal, Kurt.
            Relational factors affecting dog social attraction to human partners. Interaction Studies: Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems. 2010; 11(3): 482-503.

            DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/is.11.3.09wed

           Abstract: We previously showed (Kotrschal et al., 2009) that owner personality and human-dog relationship predicted the performance of a human-dog dyad in a practical task. Based on the same data set we presently investigate the effects of individual and social factors on the social attraction of dogs to their owners. Twenty-two male and female owners and their intact male dogs were observed during a "picture viewing" test, where we diverted the owner's attention away from their dog whilst it was permitted to move freely around the room. Owner personality axis "neuroticism" and dog personality axis "vocal and aggressive" were, respectively, positively and negatively related to the time the dog stayed in proximity to the owner. Quality of relationship and attachment also had significant effects on this proximity. We conclude that personality and the nature of the human-dog relationship may all influence dogs' social attraction to their owners.

           Wedl et al. translate and modify the “Dog Attitude Scale” (Johannson EE. Human-animal bonding, 1999) and the “Questionnaire for Anthropomorphic Attitudes” (Topal J, Miklosi A, Csanyi V. Dog-human relationship affects problem solving behavior in the dog. Anthrozoös. 1997; 10: 214-223).

           The 30 items of the set of questionnaires developed are given in Table 1, p.489, and Table 2, p.490).

Dog Owner Attitude Questionnaire (Rohlf et al., 2010)

by David Anderson on 07/16/15

Dog Owner Attitude Questionnaire (Rohlf et al., 2010)

Rohlf, Vanessa I.; Touksahti, Samia; Coleman, Grahame J.; Bennett, Pauleen C.

           Dog obesity: can dog caregivers' (owners') feeding and exercise intentions and behaviors be predicted from attitudes? Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. 2010 Jul; 13(3): 213-236.

            DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10888705.2010.483871

            Abstract: Dog obesity is a common nutritional disorder affecting up to 40% of the companion animal (pet) dog population in Australia and other developed nations. A clear understanding of factors determining relevant caregiver (owner) behaviors underpins effective treatment for this disorder. The theory of planned behavior can be used to understand factors contributing to human behavior. This article describes research informed by this theory. The research examined relationships between owners' behavioral beliefs and barriers, normative beliefs and perceptions of control, owners' feeding and exercise behaviors toward their dogs, and the body condition scores (BCSs) of dogs. The study recruited a sample of 182 dog and owner dyads. The researcher independently assessed BCSs. Owners completed a questionnaire measuring relevant feeding and exercise beliefs and behaviors. This revealed significant correlations between many psychological variables and BCSs and between psychological variables and specific owner behaviors: for example, the relationship of low levels of intentions to feed appropriately to ambivalent beliefs toward feeding appropriately and low perceived control. Careful consideration of the specific variables identified will permit the development of more effective interventions.
            The Dog Owner Questionnaire was developed to assess beliefs toward feeding and exercise behaviors. The final version comprises three sections: pet and pet owner demographic information; nine items on the respondents’ feeding and exercise behaviors; and 66 items to elicit owners’ attitudes toward feeding and exercise behavior. Belief categories were designed to measure the constructs of Intentions, Behavioral beliefs, Perceived barriers, Normative beliefs and Control beliefs. A 7-point Likert scale was used. See p.217-218.
            Many of the survey questions are listed in the tables; the full Dog Owner Questionnaire is available from Rohlf, [email protected]. 

Companion Animal Selfobject Questionnaire (Brown, 2007)

by David Anderson on 07/16/15

Companion Animal Selfobject Questionnaire (Brown, 2007

Published in:

Brown, Sue-Ellen.

            Self psychology and the human-animal bond: an overview (Chapter 8), p.137-149, In: Blazina, Christopher, Boyra, Güler; Shen-Miller, David (editors). The psychology of the human-animal bond: a resource for clinicians and researchers. New York : Springer, 2011. Xxii, 421 p. ; 24 cm. : illus. ISBN: 9781441997609 (hard cover)

            The questionnaire is published on p.147-149.

Developed in:

Brown, Sue-Ellen.

Companion animals as selfobjects. Anthrozoös. 2007 Dec; 20(4): 329-343.

            DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/089279307X245654

            The 16 Self psychology interview questions are published as Table 1, p.331.

Abstract: This research examined whether self psychology could be systematically applied to human-animal relationships. Twenty-four semi-structured interviews were conducted, which consisted of 16 questions designed to illuminate selfobject needs. The interviews were intended to identify whether the horse/dog/cat/rabbit was a selfobject, that is, a provider of self-cohesion, self esteem, calmness, soothing, and acceptance, for the participant and, if so, whether the primary type(s) of selfobject was mirroring, idealizing, or twin-ship. Results revealed that self psychology could be applied successfully to human-animal relationships, that it could usually be determined whether the animal served a selfobject function, and that selfobject type was generally able to be established. In this sample, animals rivaled and even surpassed humans in their ability to provide important selfobject needs.

Brown, Sue-Ellen.

Companion animals as selfobjects. Selbstpsychologie: Europäische Zeitschrift für psychoanalytische Therapie und Forschung = Self Psychology: European Journal for Psychoanalytic Therapy and Research. 2009; 10(38): 343-364.

This is a reprint of the preceding article.


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