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Why do even committed dog owners fail to comply with some responsible ownership practices?

By V. I. Rohlf, P. C. Bennett, S. Toukhsati, G. Coleman

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Abstract

Various dog management behaviors must be performed by owners to promote both the welfare of dogs and community health, safety, and amenity. While most Australian dog owners are compliant with practices known to characterize responsible dog ownership, even responsible owners sometimes fail to act responsibly. In addition, there remains a minority of owners who, for unknown reasons, do not comply with any recommended practices. The aim of this study was to use the results of an online survey comprising 1016 dog owners to investigate relationships between demographic, attitudinal, dog-owner relationship variables, and responsible dog ownership behaviors. These behaviors included confinement, registration, microchipping, desexing, participation in formal obedience training, and regular socialization practices. Compliance was generally high in this self-selected sample, but it was not unanimous, ranging from 98% for confinement of dogs to 64.3% for attendance at obedience classes. A series of sequential logistic regression analyses revealed that management behaviors could be predicted from attitudinal and dog-owner relationship variables independently of demographic information. The influence of normative expectations was a recurrent predictor of owners' compliance with many of the management behaviors. This has important implications. Educational campaigns to promote specific practices amongst otherwise responsible dog owners are most likely to be effective if these specific attitudes are addressed.

Date 2010
Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 23
Issue 2
Pages 143-155
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175303710X12682332909972
Language English
Author Address Animal Welfare Science and Centre, School of Psychology Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine, Monash University, Caulfield East, Victoria 3145, Australia.pauleen.bennet@med.monash.edu.au
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Tags
  1. Anthrozoology
  2. Attitudes
  3. Australasia
  4. Australia
  5. Commonwealth of Nations
  6. Communities
  7. Demography
  8. Developed countries
  9. Dogs
  10. Education
  11. Health
  12. Health services
  13. Mammals
  14. Oceania
  15. OECD countries
  16. peer-reviewed
  17. Pets and companion animals
  18. predictions
  19. predictors
  20. registration
  21. safety
  22. Social psychology and social anthropology
  23. training
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed