Measuring Owners’ Bond to Their Dogs

Our first study was conducted through online surveys in June and July 2014. 1291 dog owners and 213 dog trainers or walkers took part in the study. I want to thank all people who shared and filled in the survey! Without you, this study would not have been possible. I was really moved by some of the stories you shared with me, and grateful for all the feedback you gave me.

One of the aims of the study was to create a new questionnaire for measuring dog owners’ bond to their dogs. We used questions (items) from nine different questionnaires (scales) measuring owners’ attachment, bond, relationship satisfaction, and commitment to their pets. From the beginning, we had 158 items, whereof 71 remained after deleting duplicates and irrelevant ones.

The purpose of our analysis was thus to further reduce the number of items to make the scale easier to fill in for dog owners, and to look at what structures of the bond the scale measured.

Through our analysis, the number of items was reduced to 53, and we found four sub-structures which would most appropriately be labelled as Emotional Support, Relationship Satisfaction, Enjoyment and Burden.

However, our analysis only constituted the first part out of two. Our future studies will use the reduced scale, containing 53 items, to see if the same sub-structures emerge in other groups of dog owners and dog trainers, and possibly, to make the scale even shorter.

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