Dog-Directed Parenting Styles Mirror Dog Owners’ Orientations Toward Animals

Ineke R. van Herwijnen*, Joanne A.M. van der Borg, Marc Naguib, Bonne Beerda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Parents raise children in consistent ways, and these parenting styles affect child wellbeing and societal adjustment. Recently, we identified such parenting styles in the owner–dog relationship. Dog owners of the authoritarian- correction orientated (AUC) type stand out for demandingness. Authoritative dog owners adopt either an intrinsic-value orientated style (AUI), of high responsiveness and attention to a dog’s needs, or an authoritative-training orientated style (AUT) of high demandingness and responsiveness in teaching a dog how to behave socially. The causes for dog owners to favor certain dog- directed parenting styles are presently unknown. Orientations toward animals could play a role, and these have previously been determined in dog owners, capsulizing views on dog ownership. A dominionistic orientation values the dog for its utility, a humanistic orientation humanizes dogs, and a protectionistic orientation acknowledges the dog’s species-specific interests. We wanted to know how these views on dog ownership are associated with dog-directed parenting styles. Therefore, orientations toward animals and dog-directed parenting styles were determined from dog-owner reports collected online (n = 518). The Likert-scale items regarding the orientations toward animals were grouped using data reduction techniques. The scores for our newly formed orientations were then rank correlated to the dog-directed parenting styles, with all scores expressed as percentages of the theoretical maximum. A dominionistic orientation was associated with AUC, indicating that combined demandingness and non-responsiveness in dog-directed parenting partly results from the owner’s perceived need to dominate the dog. A humanistic/protectionistic orientation was associated with AUI, suggesting that the combination of parenting responsiveness and relatively low demandingness is an outcome of humanizing dogs. These findings support the idea that orientations toward animals partly underlie dog-directed parenting styles and may constitute a starting point for guiding owners away from less favorable dog-directed parenting styles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-773
Number of pages15
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • dog
  • human–animal interaction
  • orientations toward animals
  • owner–dog relationship
  • parenting styles

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