“Dog Moms” Use Authoritative Parenting Styles

Shelly Volsche, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Peter B. Gray, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


The purpose of the present research was to determine what type of relationship exists between owner to dog attachment and the degree of aversion used in training pet dogs. We hypothesized that attachment to one’s dog would be negatively associated with the degree of aversion used in dog training. Data collection took place via online, self-report surveys. The sample consisted of 653 respondents, age 19-82 (µ=46.83, M=49) representing each of the 50 United States. Of that population, 90.8% were female and 88.7% identified as white. Additionally, 79.3% did not have children in the home with all but two of those being childless, and more than half of the population (65.5%) considered themselves their dog’s “parent” or “guardian.” Contrary to expectations, a weak positive correlation (r=.224, p<.001) was found between participants’ attachment and the reported frequency of aversion used in training their dogs. This paper discusses the interpretations of these findings, including with respect to changing human-dog relationships in the United States.