Factors of Human-dog Relationship New Research

Manuela Wedl and Kurt Kotrschal, VerhaltensbiologInnen at the University of Vienna and Konrad Lorenz Research Station Grunau, examined to determine which individual and social factors, the proximity between dogs and their owners. Here, the scientists focused not only on the animals, but primarily on the personality of the people involved. Their results, they published in the journal "Interaction studies".

The VerhaltensbiologInnen investigated with ethological and psychological methods, such as humans and dogs in a new situation in an unfamiliar room responded. Basis for behavioral analysis were 22 human-dog pairs, ten men and twelve women (23 to 68 years old) with their un-neutered males (1.5 to six years old). Was examined to determine which individual and social factors, the proximity between dogs and their owners, such as the personality of the dog and owner, the gender of the owners and the quality of the human-dog relationship.

A starting point for analysis was similar to this example: owner and dog to keep itself together in a new space. The owner / the owner has been considered by the task of images in space and to evaluate, in his / her attention distracted by the dog. The dog was able to move freely while in space. Such test situations were videotaped and then coded. The personality of the owners of the VerhaltensbiologInnen determined using the “five-factor model,” the personality of the dog observer ratings and the human-dog relationship by principal component analysis.

Research focuses on human personality structure
The personalities of the owners were – as already mentioned – according to the “Big Five”, extra version, agreeableness, openness to experience, conscientiousness and neuroticism assessed. The latter property is people with low emotional stability, which look rather pessimistic about the future. “The higher the owner was now on the neuroticism axis, the more man’s dog kept as a social supporter’s looked and the more important it was for him to spend time with his dog, the longer the dog near the owner, while it looked at the pictures, “said study author and assistant project Manuela Wedl the result. In addition, the personality of the dog also had an effect on the spatial proximity between dog and owner. The more “vocal and aggressive,” the dog, the less he stayed close to the owner / the owner.

The findings suggest that the intensity of the relationship within human-dog pairs is relatively balanced: people have very strong bound-bound dogs. Furthermore, the VerhaltensbiologInnen have pointed out that in any “application”, such as in animal-assisted activities, or team training, a systematic approach is appropriate. The behavioral research should focus not only on the dog, but also on the personality of the people involved.

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