Handlers' expectations and perceived compatibility regarding the partnership with their first guide dogs

Lloyd, Janice, Budge, Claire, and Stafford, Kevin (2021) Handlers' expectations and perceived compatibility regarding the partnership with their first guide dogs. Animals, 11 (10). 2765.

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Abstract

The main function of a guide dog is as a mobility aid, but they can also fulfill psychosocial roles as companions, social facilitators, and objects/providers of affection. This study examined the outcome of 50 peoples' (handlers) partnerships with their first guide dog. Overall compatibility and the fulfilment of the handlers' expectations regarding mobility and social factors related to guide dog usage were measured, and relationships between putative risk factors and the out-come of matching success were identified. The findings demonstrate that the dogs are generally exceeding expectations. The high average ratings of compatibility were notable, particularly with respect to the emotional compatibility between handler and dog. Comparing responses of those who felt the handler-dog pairing was a good match with those who felt it was a mismatch revealed it was the working aspects of the relationship that differentiated the two groups. However, the many aspects of life with a guide dog, beyond the complexities of the working relationship, suggest that a more nuanced compatibility measure accommodating both positive and negative aspects of the relationship could assist with matching, training and follow up of the handler-dog team to maximize success.

Item ID: 69435
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2076-2615
Keywords: guide dogs; attachment; compatibility; expectations; guide dog matching; guide dog partnership; human-animal bond
Copyright Information: Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2021 22:28
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3009 Veterinary sciences > 300999 Veterinary sciences not elsewhere classified @ 34%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420699 Public health not elsewhere classified @ 33%
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5205 Social and personality psychology > 520599 Social and personality psychology not elsewhere classified @ 33%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200499 Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified @ 34%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280101 Expanding knowledge in the agricultural, food and veterinary sciences @ 33%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology @ 33%
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