On the role of technology in human-dog relationships: a future of nightmares or dreams

van der Linden, Dirk, Davidson, Brittany I., Hirsch-Matsioulas, Orit and Zamansky, Anna (2022) On the role of technology in human-dog relationships: a future of nightmares or dreams. IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society. ISSN 2637-6415 (In Press)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1109/TTS.2022.3207991


Digital technologies that help people take care of their dogs are becoming more widespread. Yet, little research explores what the role of technology in the human-dog relationship should be. We conducted a qualitative study incorporating quantitative and thematic analysis of 155 UK dog owners reflecting on their daily routines and technology's role in it, disentangling the what-where-why of interspecies routines and activities, technological desires, and rationales for technological support across common human-dog activities. We found that increasingly entangled daily routines lead to close multi-species households where dog owners conceptualize technology as having a role to support them in giving care to their dogs. When confronted with the role of technology across various activities, only chores like cleaning up after their dogs lead to largely positive considerations, while activities that benefit themselves like walking together lead to largely negative considerations. For other activities, whether playing, training, or feeding, attitudes remain diverse. In general, across all activities both a nightmare scenario of technology taking the human’s role and in doing so disentangling the human-dog bond, as well as a dream scenario of technology augmenting human abilities arise. We argue that the current trajectory of digital technology for pets is increasingly focused on enabling remote interactions, an example of the nightmare scenario in our thematic analysis. It is important to redirect this trajectory to one of technology predominantly supporting us in becoming better and more informed caregivers.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: human-animal interaction, multi-species households, digital ecologies, pet dogs, dog welfare
Subjects: J900 Others in Technology
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Computer and Information Sciences
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2022 11:48
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2022 09:08
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/50192

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