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Obstacles and anticipated problems with acquiring assistance dogs, as expressed by Japanese people with physical disabilities

By Mariko Yamamoto, Lynette A. Hart, Mitsuaki Ohta, Koji Matsumoto, Nobuyo Ohtani

Category Journal Articles

In western countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, many people with disabilities benefit from the help their assistance dogs provide. In contrast, assistance dogs have not become widespread in Japan. This study explores the perspectives of Japanese people with disabilities, including the obstacles they have experienced when considering acquiring an assistance dog. A paper-based questionnaire was used to investigate the experiences of people with orthopedic, hearing, or visual disabilities. The results showed that a minority of participants with orthopedic (13.9%), hearing (31.6%), or visual (16.0%) disabilities hoped to live with an assistance dog. Younger people (18-59 years of age) hoped to have one more often than older people (over 60 years of age), which was related to their frequency of going out of the house. Younger people were more active in going outside regularly; older women were the least active. People with orthopedic disabilities were less active than those with other disabilities. Younger people were also more experienced in keeping dogs, and liked playing with them more. Younger women showed the greatest interest in living with an assistance dog, and older women the least interest; targeting information and encouragement to younger women may be most productive for placing dogs. Among people who did not hope to acquire an assistance dog, 6.1-11.6% of them felt sorry for dogs that are required to go through training, and 8.3-16.1% of them answered that they hated dogs. Our results indicated that Japanese are influenced by cultural, historical, and environmental contexts, and are not yet fully familiar with and accepting of the concepts of working dogs that are typical in the western countries. Most of the participants who hoped to live with an assistance dog had not actually applied for one. They gave the following reasons: there were inevitable negative aspects of living with dogs and sources of information, training systems, and policies by the governments and/or assistance dog organizations were cumbersome and inconvenient. The overall strategies to provide assistance dogs to people with disabilities need to be more accessible and accommodate the specific needs of the people who have disabilities.

Date 2014
Publication Title Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin
Volume 2
Issue 1
Pages 59-79
URL https://www.apa-hai.org/haib/download-info/obstacles-with-acquiring-assistance-dogs/
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Age
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animals
  4. APEC countries
  5. Asia
  6. Assistance animals
  7. Attitudes
  8. Canidae
  9. Canine
  10. Carnivores
  11. Culture
  12. Developed countries
  13. Disabilities
  14. Disorders
  15. Dogs
  16. Emotions
  17. Environment
  18. Gender
  19. Hearing impairment
  20. Humans
  21. Japan
  22. Mammals
  23. Men
  24. Non-communicable diseases and injuries
  25. OECD countries
  26. open access
  27. Orthopedics
  28. peer-reviewed
  29. Pets and companion animals
  30. physical activity
  31. Primates
  32. prophylaxis
  33. Psychiatry and psychology
  34. Psychotherapy
  35. Relationships
  36. sex differences
  37. Social psychology and social anthropology
  38. therapy
  39. training of animals
  40. vertebrates
  41. vision
  42. Women
  43. Young Adult
  1. open access
  2. peer-reviewed