Updating the Human-Animal Bond

Updating the Human-Animal Bond

Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale (MDORS) (Dwyer, Bennett and Coleman, 2006)

by David Anderson on 01/06/15

Dwyer, Fleur; Bennett, Pauleen C; Coleman, Grahame J.

Development of the Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale (MDORS). Anthrozoös, 19(3) 2006:243-56.

Tables 1 and 2 are Parts 1 and 2 of the MDORS, and appear on p.250 and 251, respectively. A five point Likert scale is used.

See also the description of Dwyer’s thesis on the Monash University Department of Psychology website, www.med.monash.edu.au/psych/research/carg/staff/fd.html (accessed 10 June 2004).


Used in:

Bennett, Pauleen Charmayne; Rohlf, Vanessa Ilse.

Owner-companion dog interactions: relationships between demographic variables, potentially problematic behaviours, training engagement and shared activities. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 2007 Jan; 102(1-2): 65-84.

The items in the new questionnaire, which consist of Section B, the nine-item interaction subscale, demographic questions and three additional items, are listed in Table 1, p.68.


Handlin, Linda, Nilsson, Anne, Ejdebäck, Mikael, Hydbring-Sandberg, Eva; Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin.

Associations between the psychological characteristics of the human-dog relationship and oxytocin and cortisol levels. Anthrozoös. 2012 Jun; 25(2): 215-228.


Meyer, Iben; Forkman, Björn.

Dog and owner characteristics affecting the dog-owner relationship. Journal of Veterinary Behavior. 2014 Jul-Aug; 9(4): 143-150.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/j.jveb.2014.03.002

Abstract: The nature of the relationship between companion dogs and their owners has important impact on the effect of life for both dog and owner. Identifying factors that affect the dog-owner relationship will assist the understanding of how the successful relationship is achieved and how the less successful relationship is mended, with potential benefits for the welfare of both species. In the present study, we investigated the effect of several dog and owner characteristics, including the personality of the dog, on the dog-owner relationship as measured by the Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale (MDORS). Data were collected by inviting owners of dogs that had been tested on the Danish Dog Mentality Assessment (DMA) to answer an online questionnaire. We were able to match 421 owner answers with their dogs’ DMA test results. The questionnaire consisted of the 28 items of the MDORS, as well as questions about the owners and their dogs. Using factor analysis, 5 dog personality traits could be derived from the dogs’ test results on the DMA. The predictive value of questionnaire-based owner and dog variables and the 5 dog personality traits on the dog-owner relationship was tested using multiple linear regressions: 1 for each of the 3 subscales of the MDORS. Overall, the variables investigated only predicted a small proportion of the variance in MDORS scores, and owner characteristics appeared to influence the dog-owner relationship more than dog personality traits did. We found that children in the family and using the dog only for company were negatively associated with the owners’ perception of the relationship with their dogs. The only dog characteristics to predict the dog-owner relationship were fearfulness and fear-related behavior problems.

Correspondence to Meyer, Department of Large Animal Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Groennegaardsvej 8, Frederiksberg 1870, Denmark; [email protected].

Human-Avian Bond Survey (Anderson, 2014).

by David Anderson on 10/19/14

Anderson, Patricia K.

Social dimensions of the human–avian bond: parrots and their persons. Anthrozoös. 2014 Sep; 27(3): 371-387.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175303714X13903827488006 


            The 48-question survey on the human-avian bond revises an initial survey (Anderson, 2003). Subjects of the questions included are listed on p.372-373, including (…“five Likert scale questions [my birds are family members, beds are sentient beings with thoughts and feelings, my bird uses human language meaningfully, I understand my bird’s natural body language and vocalizations, and birds have souls or spirits]). Likert scale response options were: Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree, Strongly Disagree.” The methods included ethnographic observation at a veterinary clinic specializing in avian medicine and qualitative analysis using grounded theory on essays completed by respondents.

Strange Animal Situation Test (Grandgeorge et al., 2011)

by David Anderson on 10/07/14

Grandgeorge, Marine; Deleau, Michel; Lemonnier, Eric; Hausberger, Martine.
            The strange animal situation test. Anthrozoös. 2011 Dec; 24(4): 393-408.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175303711X13159027360023

Abstract: Many tools assess the reactions of humans encountering familiar or unfamiliar partners or environments. Companion animals belong to our everyday environment and influence our lives. Whereas many standardized tools test companion animals' reactions to humans, few evaluate humans' reactions to companion animals. We present here a test with a guinea pig that can be applied to a wide range of people in the home environment. This standardized test and simple coding system enabled us to characterize individual behavioral profiles of children and compare them in relation to different factors (e.g., gender, age, pet ownership). We observed 59 children (32 girls, 27 boys), aged between 6 and 12 years old. Our results show that most children first looked at the guinea pig (72%), smiled when they saw it (49%), and then went directly towards it without looking at their parent (79%). Many children touched the animal without hesitation (86%). Moreover, this test reveals more than the mere interest of children in guinea pigs. Indeed, a cluster analysis
differentiated four behavioral profiles that reflected aspects of the children's experience, gender, and lifestyles. When encountering the unfamiliar guinea pig, children could be "confident" (go straight to the animal and touch it; 64%), “anxious" (look at parent; 12%), "indirect" (hesitate and touch; 14%), or "careful" (emit vocal and/or verbal behaviors; 10%). The potential future application of this research is to compare behavioral profiles quantitatively over the long term, taking into account the development and experiences of people with typical development and those with atypical development (e.g., autistic disorders).


Stuffed Animal Attachment Questionnaire, SAQ (Cromer & Freyd, 2004)

by David Anderson on 10/07/14

Cromer, L.D.; Freyd, J.J.

            Stuffed animals, pets, and dissociation; poster presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference, February 12 to 16, 2004, Seattle, USA.

            As cited in Barlow et al., 2012, for which see below.

Developed by Cromer and Freyd, “SAQ is a 20-item, self-report questionnaire using 4-point Likert-type scales for responses: from 0 (Not at all true) to 3 (Very true). It inquires into participants’ attitudes towards stuffed animals as heirlooms and keepsakes, as having a personality, and as capable of providing love.” From p.115.


Used in:

Barlow, M. Rose; Hutchinson, Cory Anne; Newton, Kelsy; Grover, Tess; Ward, Lindsey.

Childhood neglect, attachment to companion animals, and stuffed animals as attachment objects in women and men. Anthrozoös. 2012 Mar; 25(1): 111-119.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175303712X13240472427159

            Also used the Pet Attachment and Life Impact Scale, PALS (Cromer & Freyd, 2004) and the Multidimensional Neglectful Behavior Scale (Straus, Kinard &Williams 1995)

Staats Pet Scale: Reasons for and Beliefs about Pet Ownership (Staats, Kelly & Pierfelice, 2006)

by David Anderson on 10/07/14

Staats, Sara; Sears, Kelli; Pierfelice, Loretta.

Teachers’ pets and why they have them: An investigation of the human animal bond. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 36(8); 2006: 1881-1891.

The questions used in this measure are given in Table 1, Poll questions, item choices, and response percent, p.1884-6.


Used in:

Staats, Sara; Wallace, Heidi; Anderson, Tara.

Reasons for companion animal guardianship (pet ownership) from two populations. Society and Animals. 16(3); 2008: 279-291.


Assessing the Human-Animal Bond

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From Solomon's Songbook

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