Development of the Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale (MDORS)
With increasing scientific and clinical attention being paid to the formation, nature and consequences of human-companion animal relationships, there is a need to develop scales with which to assess such relationships in a rigorous, empirically valid manner. Accordingly, the aim in this study was to develop a psychometrically sound, multi-dimensional questionnaire with which to assess human-companion dog relationships. A multi-step process involving over 1,000 participants resulted in the development of a scale with 28 items, the Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale or MDORS. The MDORS has three sub-scales, Dog-Owner Interaction, Perceived Emotional Closeness, and Perceived Costs, that appear to be relatively stable and interpretable across participant groups and that appear to represent important and diverse aspects of the human-companion dog relationship. It is envisaged that the future use of this scale will allow researchers to significantly increase our understanding of human-companion dog relationships by permitting direct comparisons across participant groups drawn from different demographic or cultural contexts. It may also permit clinicians to analyze relationships between dog owners and their dogs in more detail and depth than is possible using existing scales.