Volume 10

The Influence of Pet Gender and Instructors’ Gender on Students’ Perceptions of Comfort and Approachability to Pet-Owning Professors

Douglas James Anastasia

College students may psychologically benefit from the presence of a pet dog in a professor’s office, while instructors may be perceived as more approachable to their student body simply by having their pet dog present. Research indicates that people are sometimes perceived more positively simply by the accompaniment of a pet dog. While past research has found differences among students’ perceptions of approachability to pet owners with different pet animals, the present study will examine the effects of a dog’s gender, along with the gender of a college instructor on college students’ perceptions of the dog owning instructor. Participants included 136 college students from a small New England state college. Participants were randomly assigned to read a scenario and view two pictures: an instructor and a dog. Gender of professor was evident in the photograph, but gender of the dog was referenced in the corresponding written scenario. After viewing the photographs and reading a brief written scenario, participants then responded to a questionnaire. Results indicated that dog gender and instructor gender did not influence college students’ perceptions of comfort and approachability toward faculty members.

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