“Dog Moms” Use Authoritative Parenting Styles

Shelly Volsche & Peter Gray
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

The purpose of the present research was to determine what type of relationship exists between owner
to dog attachment and the degree of aversion used in training pet dogs. We hypothesized that
attachment to one’s dog would be negatively associated with the degree of aversion used in dog
training. Data collection took place via online, self-report surveys. The sample consisted of 653
respondents, age 19-82 (μ=46.83, M=49) representing each of the 50 United States. Of that
population, 90.8% were female and 88.7% identified as white. Additionally, 79.3% did not have
children in the home with all but two of those being childless, and more than half of the population
(65.5%) considered themselves their dog’s “parent” or “guardian.” Contrary to expectations, a weak
positive correlation (r=.224, p<.001) was found between participants’ attachment and the reported
frequency of aversion used in training their dogs. This paper discusses the interpretations of these
findings, including with respect to changing human-dog relationships in the United States.

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