Public perceptions of Australian assistance dogs: happier and better used than companion dogs

Gibson, Paris Emmanuelle, and Oliva, Jessica Lee (2021) Public perceptions of Australian assistance dogs: happier and better used than companion dogs. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. (In Press)

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Abstract

Previous studies have revealed cultural differences in perceptions of assistance dogs, but this has not been investigated in almost 20 years. This study aimed to develop an understanding of the Australian public’s perceptions toward both assistance and companion dogs. A questionnaire was completed by 258 Australians asking about their interest in, attitudes towards, and perceived happiness of the two types of dogs. Results revealed participants were equally interested in them, but More supportive of the use of assistance dogs, and perceived them as happier. Qualitative analyses revealed participants commonly endorsed the practical benefits of assistance dogs and the emotional benefits of companion dogs. Differences in happiness ratings can potentially be explained by the common endorsement that companion dogs are sometimes neglected while assistance dogs enjoy working and constant companionship with their handler. However, several participants expressed concern regarding the restrictive nature of the assistance work. There was an increase in concerns raised for the welfare of both dogs as compared to previous studies, suggesting a rise in concern about dog welfare and the ethics of keeping dogs for human benefits.

Item ID: 68728
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1532-7604
Keywords: Attitudes; working dogs; animal welfare; sustainability
Copyright Information: © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Accepted Version: CC BY-NC-ND
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2021 00:48
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5299 Other psychology > 529999 Other psychology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology @ 100%
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