Relationship between Dog Walking Behaviour and Owner-Dog Attachment Using the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale

Sandra Foltin (University Duisburg-Essen, Germany)
Udo Ganslosser (Institution of Zoology & Evolutionary Research, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germany)

Article ID: 4526


Human-dog attachment is a special relationship and has been studied from various perspectives. Attachment or social bonding has a positive effect on the psychological and physiological wellbeing of a dog owner, increasing physical health and quality of life. Attachment is idiosyncratic, induced by neuroendocrinological functions like an oxytocin increase after an interaction, but also based on subjective perceptions of the quality of bonding and relationship. Dog-owner attachment was measured in this study using the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale in its validated German version as a tool to compare owner perception with factual movement data of their dog. The question posed was whether the perceived dog behaviour impacted on the attachment score as assessed through the LAPS. The authors could show that perceived problematical or unwanted conduct, like hunting behaviour, had a negative effect on LAPS scores whereas perceived obedient behaviour had a positive effect upon attachment. The authors found that actual walking data of the dogs were not in congruence with owner assessments. Thus, owner reports alone possibly will not be a sufficient measure of dog-human relationships and animal behaviour.


Bonding; Canine; Companionship; Ownership; Pets; Perception; Questionnaire; Welfare

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