Miura, A., Bradshaw, J.W.S. and Tanida, H.V.
Attitudes towards assistance dogs in Japan and the UK: a comparison of college students studying animal care
Anthrozoos, 15, (3), .
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Previous studies have indicated that the primary problems associated with ownership of assistance dogs lie not with the dogs themselves, but with people's attitudes and behavior towards them, including interference with the dog while it is working, and denial of access to public facilities. However, there has been little systematic study of the attitudes of the general public towards assistance dogs. Our study was carried out to compare the knowledge and attitudes of young people in Japan and the UK towards assistance dogs, in order to provide a basis for the future development of assistance dog provision in Japan.
Forty-four Japanese and 42 British college students completed questionnaires in which they were asked about their knowledge of, and attitudes towards, assistance dogs. A similar percentage (about 20%) of the British and Japanese students reported that they were unhappy about allowing the dogs access to places where food is sold. However, the British participants were more likely to be positive about the idea of using dogs to assist people with disabilities than were the Japanese. Attitudes towards assistance dogs varied among the Japanese students. Some considered assistance dogs happier than pet dogs, because pet dogs are sometimes neglected, while others expressed sympathy for assistance dogs because they are strictly trained and exploited by humans. When asked their opinions about the idea of using dogs as assistance dogs, 98% of the British students, but only 41 % of the Japanese students, agreed with the idea. Our results suggest that perception of assistance dogs, and also understanding of the well-being of people with disabilities, were both more well-informed and realistic among the British students than among the Japanese students
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