In another study buttressing the belief that people tend to get dogs that match their personalities, British researchers say they concluded that disagreeable people prefer to own aggressive dogs.
The study, by a research team from the University of Leicester’s School of Psychology, was based on personality tests, filled out by participants.
Participating humans, we mean.
For the dogs, researchers seemed to mostly fall back on old stereotypes.
Researchers say they found that younger people and people with low levels of agreeableness were more likely to prefer dog breeds that were rated more aggressive. As examples of those breeds, they cited bull terriers or boxers.
Here’s where I’m going to have to be disagreeable. While I’m certain a trained psychologist with a clipboard and a questionnaire can confirm disagreeability in humans, I have my doubts about their labeling dogs aggressive, epecially if, as it seems, that is based entirely on perceptions, which are often misperceptions, about breeds.
Did the scientists actually meet any disagreeable people and their aggressive dogs? (Perhaps it was wisest not to.) Or did they just work from a checklist of allegedly aggressive dogs — Rottweilers? Akitas? Pit bulls? Dobermans. German shepherds?
I don’t dispute the conclusion the study reached; it seems somewhat obvious. I just question what they base the label of “aggressive” dog on. If it’s solely breed, and perceptions of breeds, that’s not science; it’s stereotyping.
And you’ve got to wonder too — assuming there is a connection between disagreeable people and aggressive dogs, whether dogs belonging to disagreeable people started out that way, or became aggressive while living disagreeable people?
Humans generally make dogs aggressive — sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally. An aggressive dog usually has a disagreeable human behind it. (Check out some of the comments we’ve received from supporters of dogfighting for proof of that.)
According to the scientists, disagreeable people are typically less concerned about others’ well-being and may be suspicious, unfriendly and competitive.
The study, published in the June edition of the journal Anthrozoos, found no link between liking an aggressive breed of dog and delinquent behavior, or that having an aggressive type of dog is a “status display,” lead researcher Vincent Egan said in a university news release:
“This type of study is important, as it shows assumptions are not the whole picture. It is assumed owners of aggressive dogs … or dogs perceived as aggressive … are antisocial show-offs.”
If one is relying on “dogs perceived as aggressive” to build their database, isn’t one making some assumptions oneself?
(Photos: We don’t think Rush Limbaugh has a dog, so we went on Google and picked him out a Chihuahua. No slur to Chihuahuas is intended)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, animals, behavior, breeds, disagreeable, dog owners, dogs, humans, match, misperceptions, perceptions, personality, pets, pyschologists, reflect, research, study, university of leicester
The techniques matchmaking services use to help humans meet their mates are increasingly being used by animal shelters, and for pretty much the same reason — in hopes of ensuring lasting bonds.
The ASPCA’s “Meet Your Match” program has been adopted by at least 200 shelters across the country since it was created in 2000, including at the The Minnesota Valley Humane Society.
“The reason we started doing it is because many people come in for a certain breed of dog, and the program helps to gear people to look more at personality rather than breed,” adoptions coordinator Michelle Bauer told the Pioneer-Press.
The color-coded system matches dogs to adopters, based on an evaluation of both. Dogs are evaluated in five areas, including friendliness, playfulness and energy level, and then assigned a color — green, orange or purple.
The dog adopter, after a survey that includes questions about his or her own lifestyle, living arrangements and energy level, gets assigned one of three colors. Those dogs of the same color are considered the best matches, but potential adopters aren’t restricted to that choice.
Last year, 848 dogs were adopted from the Minnesota Valley Humane Society; 37 of them were returned. Shelter officials hope the program will reduce the number that are returned.
Dogs are divided into three basic categories: the high energy ones (couch potato, constant companion, teachers pet), medium energy ones (wallflower, busy bee, goofball) and high energy ones (life of the party, go-getter and free spirit).
My dog, I think, is a goofball, midway — or a little more — through the transition to couch potato, much like his owner.
You can find it all further explained in a section of the ASPCA’s website.
The Maryland SPCA, not affiliated with the ASPCA, uses a similar system to categorize the personality and energy levels of its adoptable dogs. The dog above, for example,Davidson, a Labrador mix, is classified as a “swinging tap dancer … comfortable going on long walks or just lying around the house.” He’s currently available for adoption at the Maryland SPCA.
(Photo courtesy Maryland SPCA)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoptable, adoption, aspca, attributes, behavior, bond, busy bee, coding, color, couch potato, dogs, free spirit, go-getter, goofball, green, match, matches, matchmaking, minnesota valley humane society, orange, personalities, purple, rescues, shelters, teachers pet