The rise of the furbaby : investigating the psychological reasons behind owner’s attachment to their dogs

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Fortune, Amy
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The aim of this study was to explore the psychological reasons behind owner’s attachment to their dogs by investigating whether dogs are being used to fulfil an absent maternal/ paternal need, whether an owner’s personal attachment style affects how attached they become to their dog and also whether owners are developing attachment to their dog as a way to cope with certain types of psychological stress. This was a mixed method correlational study employing snowball, convenience and self-selecting sampling in order to recruit participants who were required to fill out a five part online questionnaire. 172 participants took part in this study. Inferential statistical analysis reported no significant results for all hypotheses although descriptive statistics showed small non-significant trends that lend support to each hypothesis. Qualitative analysis was also performed to get a deeper understanding into attitudes held by people with and without children in relation to pet attachment. Author keywords: pet attachment, attachment theory