Assessing companion dog behaviour in a social setting
2015 (English)In: Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, ISSN 1558-7878, Vol. 10, no 4, 315-323 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
There is a growing and important need for large-scale characterisation of dog behaviour, for example to conduct genetic analyses or to assess welfare. An extensive number of standardised tests and questionnaires are used for this, but few focus on the normal behaviour in situations which are frequently encountered in the everyday life of companion dogs. The aim of this study was to develop and validate a fast, but standardised method to characterise behavioural variation in pet dogs, based on a brief observation in a situation often encountered by many dogs, namely during training classes. The spontaneous behaviour of dogs was video-recorded during 3 minutes in a standardised setting, while their owners were occupied filling in a short questionnaire, and during 30 seconds of walking on leash. Behaviours, including contact seeking behaviour with both the owner, a stranger and other dogs, together with general activity and interaction with a novel object were later analysed and further processed in two separate Principal Component Analyses (PCA). The PCs from the two test parts correlated significantly with each other and aspects of both home and test environment influenced several components in both PCAs. Age and sex also showed significant effects on test outcome, e.g. age affected how social and explorative the dog was and females jumped more on their owner, whilst males pulled the leash more. In addition, dogs that were perceived as cooperative by their owner, looked more at their owner and pulled the leash less. In conclusion, this simple test captures essential parts of the normal, everyday behaviour profile of dogs, such as owner- and dog-directed social behaviour, which are not usually measured in the commonly used test batteries for dogs.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015. Vol. 10, no 4, 315-323 p.
companion dog, behaviour, method, assessment, social, exploration
Behavioral Sciences Biology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-118692DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2015.04.003ISI: 000356965900006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-118692DiVA: diva2:816423
FunderEU, European Research Council, 322206