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Relationship between owner sensitivity in dog task solving and dog attachment security in the Strange Situation Test

Relationship between owner sensitivity in dog task solving and dog attachment security in the Strange Situation Test
Relationship between owner sensitivity in dog task solving and dog attachment security in the Strange Situation Test
The study aims were twofold: to determine if owner behaviour affected dog exploratory behaviours in a dog task solving experiment, and, secondly, if this was related to dog attachment security in Ainsworth et al.’s (1978) Strange Situation Test. Dogs (n = 52) were clustered (K = means cluster analysis) into 4 attachment groups (Secure, n = 15; Insecure/Anxious, n = 11; Insecure/Passive, n = 15; and, Avoidant, n = 11). All occurrences of owner behaviour: control of dog (restraining, grabbing paws), ordering and praise were measured. Owner support was measured from 1 (non-supportive or dissociative) to 7 (involved, yet sensitive to dog’s task solving attempts). Owner quality of assistance was measured from 1 (low quality - high interruption of the dog’s problem solving attempts and invasive behaviours) to 7 (high quality - low interruption, low physical control) (per Matas et al. 1978). The results found that owners of secure dogs were significantly less controlling and more sensitive in the provision of support. These secure dogs were significantly more orientated and intensely involved in the task than insecure dogs. In contrast, high levels of owner control were significantly related to avoidant dogs, which had the lowest levels of task intensity and orientation. In conclusion, it appears that positive owner/dog interaction based on sensitive owner support and non-invasive assistance was related to activation of the dog’s exploratory system, and this was significantly related to the secure dog cluster. In contrast, interactions based on low levels of owner support, highly controlling and invasive owner behaviour were related to lower levels of exploration, and the avoidant dog cluster. These results suggest that a strong dog/owner bond results from gentle, humane handling and the opposite, invasive and controlling handling is more likely to produce dog avoidance and non-activation of the exploratory system.
White, J.M.
d4a1f6eb-f555-41de-b545-f60c453da0c4
McBride, E.A.
8f13b829-a141-4b67-b2d7-08f839972646
Redhead, E.
d2342759-2c77-45ef-ac0f-9f70aa5db0df
White, J.M.
d4a1f6eb-f555-41de-b545-f60c453da0c4
McBride, E.A.
8f13b829-a141-4b67-b2d7-08f839972646
Redhead, E.
d2342759-2c77-45ef-ac0f-9f70aa5db0df

White, J.M., McBride, E.A. and Redhead, E. (1970) Relationship between owner sensitivity in dog task solving and dog attachment security in the Strange Situation Test. International Conference on Human-Animal Interaction, Tokyo, Japan. 04 - 07 Oct 2007.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

The study aims were twofold: to determine if owner behaviour affected dog exploratory behaviours in a dog task solving experiment, and, secondly, if this was related to dog attachment security in Ainsworth et al.’s (1978) Strange Situation Test. Dogs (n = 52) were clustered (K = means cluster analysis) into 4 attachment groups (Secure, n = 15; Insecure/Anxious, n = 11; Insecure/Passive, n = 15; and, Avoidant, n = 11). All occurrences of owner behaviour: control of dog (restraining, grabbing paws), ordering and praise were measured. Owner support was measured from 1 (non-supportive or dissociative) to 7 (involved, yet sensitive to dog’s task solving attempts). Owner quality of assistance was measured from 1 (low quality - high interruption of the dog’s problem solving attempts and invasive behaviours) to 7 (high quality - low interruption, low physical control) (per Matas et al. 1978). The results found that owners of secure dogs were significantly less controlling and more sensitive in the provision of support. These secure dogs were significantly more orientated and intensely involved in the task than insecure dogs. In contrast, high levels of owner control were significantly related to avoidant dogs, which had the lowest levels of task intensity and orientation. In conclusion, it appears that positive owner/dog interaction based on sensitive owner support and non-invasive assistance was related to activation of the dog’s exploratory system, and this was significantly related to the secure dog cluster. In contrast, interactions based on low levels of owner support, highly controlling and invasive owner behaviour were related to lower levels of exploration, and the avoidant dog cluster. These results suggest that a strong dog/owner bond results from gentle, humane handling and the opposite, invasive and controlling handling is more likely to produce dog avoidance and non-activation of the exploratory system.

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Published date: 1 January 1970
Venue - Dates: International Conference on Human-Animal Interaction, Tokyo, Japan, 2007-10-04 - 2007-10-07
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Local EPrints ID: 146139
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/146139
PURE UUID: 750c0328-e0d4-41f4-8888-941b4359e78b

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Date deposited: 20 Apr 2010 15:54
Last modified: 15 Jun 2020 16:34

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