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The role of pet dogs in casual conversations of elderly adults

By J. Rogers, L. A. Hart, R. P. Boltz

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Abstract

Casual conversations were recorded as elderly persons routinely walked their dogs through a familiar mobile home park in the United States. Control observations included walks without dogs by owners and non-owners of dogs. All owners talked to and about their dogs. Transcribed conversations indicated that dogs were a primary focus of conversation. A majority of sentences to dogs were imperatives; the owners were instructing the dogs. Dog owners frequently included dogs' names or nicknames in their sentences when they spoke to the dogs and made reference to the dogs' wishes or needs. Speaking to dogs was also associated with frequent repetition of sentences. Passersby talked to the owners about their dogs whether or not the dogs were present. When dog owners spoke with other people, their conversations often concerned activities that were occurring in the present, whereas conversations of non-owners focused on stories about past events. Dog owners reported taking twice as many daily walks as non-owners. Dog owners also reported significantly less dissatisfaction with their social, physical and emotional states.

Publication Title Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 133
Issue 3
Pages 265-77
ISBN/ISSN 0022-4545 (Print)0022-4545 (Linking)
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/00224545.1993.9712145
Language eng
Author Address School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California.
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Tags
  1. Animals
  2. Dogs
  3. Females
  4. Human-animal bond
  5. Humans
  6. Interpersonal relations
  7. Loneliness
  8. Males
  9. peer-reviewed
  10. Psychiatry and psychology
  11. Social Isolation
  12. verbal communication
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  1. peer-reviewed