SMH; CATHARINE MUNRO AND PETER HAWKINS; November 22, 2009
NOT all dog owners love their pets. Just as human relationships fail, so do those between people and pooches, leading to pet neglect and abandonment, Australian scientists say.
Psychologist Pauline Bennett is leading a Monash University team in developing a diagnostic tool to match dog breed with owner.
Dr Bennett said research showed that most people loved their dogs ”to bits” but that was not always the case. ”People buy dogs on the basis of how cute they are as puppies and they don’t think about the fact they are going to have to live with them for 15 years,” she said.
The university’s Anthrozoology Research Group, made up of psychologists, veterinarians and zoologists with an interest in canines, has already developed a test.
It assesses the financial cost and emotional and practical downsides of having a dog in the house.
There are questions such as ”How often do you feel that looking after your dog is a chore?” and ”How often do you tell your dog things you don’t tell anyone else?”
The study of 1016 people, by Vanessa Rohlf, a PhD student in psychology, shows the more activities an owner and dog do together, the more responsible the owner is in caring for the pet. ”The more they interacted with their dog, the more likely they were to annually vaccinate their dog and the more likely they were going to groom it,” Ms Rohlf said. ”A lot of councils tend to restrict areas that people can take their dogs to … maybe councils should look at relaxing bylaws.”
Sydney’s Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, is promoting a controversial policy to expand areas where people can let their dogs off the leash.
A doggie matchmaker brought Erskineville woman Megan Rutledge and her standard poodle Roxy together.
”The breeder did personality testing on me and the dog and matched my personality to her, asking questions like ‘How will it fit into your family home?”’ she said.