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A modified combined C-BARQ and QoL for both the companion dog and its owner. An embryo to a companion dog welfare assessment?

Doane, Marie, Sarenbo, Sirkku
Applied animal behaviour science 2019 v.213 pp. 91-106
Canadians, aggression, animal behavior, animal welfare, anxiety, demographic statistics, dogs, factor analysis, fearfulness, human-animal relations, models, pet ownership, pets, quality of life, questionnaires, surveys, welfare assessment, Canada, Sweden, United States
The results of this pilot study demonstrate that it is possible to construct a reliable questionnaire from prior validated surveys. This questionnaire displays possible suitability for further development into a tool for a comprehensive dog welfare assessment. The welfare model used is assuming that canine welfare consists of three major considerations, the dogs’ behavior, the dogs’ quality of life (QoL dog) and the owner’s quality of life as pertaining to being a dog owner (QoL Owner). A questionnaire was constructed and tested. Three different parts from reliable and validated sections of previous surveys were included: 1) a modified C-BARQ, 2) QoL for the dog, and 3) QoL owner. 185 satisfactory answers were obtained from the respondents, dog owners in Sweden, Canada and USA. Principal component factor analysis rendered 13 extracted factors similar to the original questionnaires, suggesting that the construct is valid. Eleven of the thirteen factors showed moderate internal consistency of Cronbach’s alpha >0.7, the remaining two factors were relatively low with Cronbach’s alpha >0.6.Several significant correlations between the extracted factors were found. Quality of life as a dog owner (QoL owner) was significantly affected by stress caused by dogs displaying fear, excitability and separation anxiety. No significant correlations were found between any factors describing aggressive behaviors and the dogs QoL or QoL owner. Several significant correlations were found between the extracted factors and the demographics, for instance, the Swedes are more active with their dogs compared to Americans and Canadians. Further investigations should be commenced to validate the results in a larger population.