Nicola J Rooney

Nicola J Rooney
University of Bristol | UB · School of Veterinary Sciences

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54
Publications
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (54)
Article
Livestock guarding dogs (LGDs) are utilized worldwide as a non-lethal strategy to alleviate human-wildlife conflict. However, while studies show their effectiveness, resulting in reductions of livestock loss, there is limited research into the factors that influence individual dog variation. One factor which may be important is the proximity of the...
Article
Livestock guarding dogs (LGDs) are used all over the world to help in carnivore conservation by mitigating human-wildlife conflict. In Namibia, LGDs are used in cheetah conservation to prevent depredation of stock and reduce retaliatory killings. However, behavioral problems in the dogs, such as chasing wildlife and harassing livestock, exist leadi...
Article
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Periodontal disease is one of the most common conditions affecting dogs worldwide and is reported to be particularly prevalent in racing greyhounds. A range of potential risk factors have been hypothesised. Previous research has suggested that regular tooth brushing can reduce both calculus and gingivitis, but the frequency required is unclear. Her...
Article
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A species-specific composite pain scale is a prerequisite for adequate pain assessment. The aim of this study was to develop a multidimensional pain scale specific to rabbits ( Oryctolagus cuniculus ) called the Bristol Rabbit Pain Scale (BRPS). The scale was developed over five phases using a unique combination of methods: focus groups and behavio...
Article
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The growing body of working dog literature includes many examples of scales robustly developed to measure aspects of dog behavior. However, when comparing behavior to working dog ability, most studies rely on training organizations' own long-established ratings of performance, or simply pass/fail at selection or certification as measures of success...
Article
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Rating scales are widely used to rate working dog behavior and performance. Whilst behaviour scales have been extensively validated, instruments used to rate ability have usually been designed by training and practitioner organizations, and often little consideration has been given to how seemingly insignificant aspects of the scale design might al...
Article
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Self-assessments of performance are commonly used in the human workplace, although compared to peer or supervisor ratings, they may be subject to positive biases or leniency. The use of subjective ratings scales in animal sciences is also common, although little consideration is usually given to possible rater bias. Dog handlers, work very closely...
Article
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Objectives To gain insight into veterinary nurse knowledge of pain recognition and control in rabbits. Materials and Methods We used a survey to establish current attitudes amongst veterinary nurses towards pain management in pet rabbits and factors that might shape those attitudes. The survey was advertised at national and international veterinar...
Article
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Training new medical odors presents challenges in procuring sufficient target samples, and suitably matched controls. Organizations are often forced to choose between using fewer samples and risking dogs learning individuals or using differently sourced samples. Even when aiming to standardize all aspects of collection, processing, storage and pres...
Article
Background In the last 20 years, two studies on the veterinary use of perioperative analgesia in small mammals reported a limited use of analgesics in rabbits but suggested an increasing use over the years. The aim of this study was to better understand how pain is treated and ameliorated in rabbits while under veterinary care. Methods An online s...
Article
Owner-independent assessments of Diabetes Alert Dog (DAD) behaviour post-placement are currently lacking. Here we describe the first study to simultaneously collect objective DAD behavioural data from CCTV footage and concurrent owner glucose levels via a Flash Glucose Monitoring System (FGMS). Using a pre-defined behavioural ethogram, both trained...
Article
Background Little research has been carried out into how guinea pigs are cared for in the UK, and information regarding potential welfare issues is sparse. This study was designed to examine the five welfare needs, collecting data on the extent to which these are each met by a sample of UK guinea pig owners. Methods A survey of 4590 owners was con...
Article
Rabbits are popular companion animals. There are numerous welfare issues affecting the majority of the population, including the fact that most rabbits are fearful when handled. Pet Remedy ™ (Unex Designs) is an herbal product containing valerian, marketed as a natural calming aid. Its efficacy for domestic rabbits is previously untested. We descri...
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Poaching associated with the ivory trade is estimated to cause an 8% annual loss in the world elephant population. Although international trade in ivory was banned by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species in 1989, elephant populations continue to suffer. Together with global price data on ivory transactions, information on...
Article
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Background: The greyhound is a sighthound known for its speed and agility. Greyhounds were selectively bred as functional racing animals but increasingly are kept as pets in the UK, often after their racing careers are over. The VetCompass™ Programme collates de-identified clinical data from primary-care veterinary practices in the UK for epidemio...
Article
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Objective: To quantify Diabetes Alert Dog (DAD) performance by using owner-independent measures. Research Design and Methods: Eight owners of accredited DADs used a FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System (FGMS). Concurrent Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) footage was collected for between 5 and 14 days in each owner's home or workplace. Th...
Article
Hundreds of thousands of dogs are housed in kennels worldwide, yet there are no standard protocols for assessing the welfare of dogs in these environments. Animal science is focusing increasingly on the importance of animal-based measures for determining welfare states, and those measures that have been used with kennelled dogs are reviewed in this...
Article
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Aims Domestic dogs are trained to a wide variety of roles including an increasing number of medical assistance tasks. Glycaemia alert dogs are reported to greatly improve the quality of life of owners living with Type 1 diabetes. Research into their value is currently sparse, on small numbers of dogs and provides conflicting results. In this study...
Chapter
Domestic dogs are members of the class Mammalia, order Carnivora, and family Canidae. Although within the order Carnivora, dogs have evolved to eat an omnivorous diet. Their nutritional requirements include specific amino acids, glucose precursors, fatty acids, and dietary fibre are important dietary elements. Dogs are generally social animals. Mos...
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Objective: To provide an overview of pain and analgesia in rabbits with the aim of developing a more accurate understanding of these topics. To illustrate and discuss the areas that have advanced in recent years and those that still require further research. Databases used: Three key subject resources were used: Web of Science, Medline and CAB Abst...
Article
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Background Dogs are ubiquitous in human society and attempts to manage their populations are common to most countries. Managing dog populations is achieved through a range of interventions to suit the dog population dynamics and dog ownership characteristics of the location, with a number of potential impacts or goals in mind. Impact assessment pro...
Article
The causes of fear and anxiety in working dogs are multifactorial and may include inherited characteristics that differ between individuals (e.g. Goddard and Beilharz, 1982; 1984a,b), influences of the environment (Lefebvre et al., 2007), and learned experiences during particular sensitive periods (Appleby et al., 2002) and throughout life. Fear-re...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The Review & Assessment of Best Practice Rearing, Socialisation, Education and Training Methods for Greyhounds in a Racing Context was commissioned by Greyhound Racing New South Wales and undertaken by Working Dog Alliance Australia. The review found that there were improvements needed in the areas of participant education as well as rearing and tr...
Article
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Background: The welfare of pet rabbits is an area of growing interest in Europe and the UK. This study analyses questionnaire results from a diverse population of 1254 rabbit owners from three different geographical areas in England with the aim of providing an accurate representation of how pet rabbits are currently housed and cared for and key a...
Article
Our understanding of the welfare of companion animals is both incomplete and fragmentary. For domestic dogs, most research has focused on animals that do not have stable relationships with people, such as dogs in laboratories and rehoming kennels. The welfare of pet dogs has received limited attention, presumably due to an assumption that owners ha...
Article
Repetitive behaviour is common in kennelled dogs, yet its motivational basis remains relatively unexplored. We examine the repetitive behaviour of 30 kennelled working dogs in ten contexts both coinciding with, and in the absence of, commonly occurring arousing stimuli, such as care staff, other dogs and food preparation. A large proportion (93%) o...
Article
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Previous studies have suggested that some pet dogs respond to their owners' hypoglycaemic state. Here, we show that trained glycaemia alert dogs placed with clients living with diabetes afford significant improvements to owner well-being. We investigated whether trained dogs reliably respond to their owners' hypoglycaemic state, and whether owners...
Article
The methods by which owners train their pet dogs range widely, with some exclusively using rewards, and others using a combination, or only punishment-based methods. This paper examines links between the way in which owners reported to have trained their dogs and observations of the dogs’ subsequent behaviour. It also explores associations between...
Article
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In the UK, numerous pedigree dogs of many breeds experience compromised welfare due to the direct and indirect effects of selective breeding. Many breeds are selected to have physical conformations which, although perceived by some to be desirable, have direct negative effects upon their welfare. Dogs are regularly bred whose heads are too large an...
Article
Research conducted by the Anthrozoology Institute and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory has shown that many working dogs exhibit high levels of physiologic stress in response to kenneling (Hiby et al., 2006; Rooney et al., 2007a). Furthermore, these dogs tend to perform poorly during training, establishing links between welfare and work...
Article
It is widely recommended that kenneled dogs are provided with environmental enrichment such as toys or feeding devices. However, the adoption of enrichment for military working dogs is impeded by a widespread belief that it reduces their motivation to work. Handlers of 22 working German Shepherd dogs were asked to rate their dogs on 11 attributes p...
Article
We have explored the validity of urinary cortisol/creatinine ratios (C/C) and behavioural measures as indicators of acute psychological stress in the domestic dog, by monitoring 1 year old male Labrador Retrievers (N=31) prior to and following their introduction to novel kennels in a training establishment. Baseline early morning urine samples were...
Article
To date, there are few validated tests for quantifying the ability of working dogs, and none documented for use on specialist search dogs. Such tests are essential to the empirical examination of ways to improve the efficiency of search dogs, a process critical to meet the increased demand for search dogs in a climate of global terrorist threat. Th...
Article
Behaviour and urinary cortisol/creatinine ratios (C/C) were monitored in twenty-six dogs, on days 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 10 following their admission to a rehoming kennel. Half had been relinquished from homes, and half were either strays or returns to the shelter. Drinking and grooming increased with time, while panting and paw-lifting decreased, but o...
Article
Social cognition, in particular the derivation of social information from observation of interactions between members of a social group, has been widely investigated in primates, but it has received little attention in other social mammals, although it has been anecdotally reported in the domestic dog, Canis familiaris. We recorded the behaviour of...
Article
The behavioural characteristics of specialist search dogs were examined using a survey of 244 dog handlers and trainers. The English Springer Spaniel was the most common breed, followed by the Labrador Retriever, cross breeds and the Border Collie. Individuals of these four breeds varied significantly on 5 out of 30 characteristics, as rated by the...
Article
The ideal and actual characteristics of specialist search dogs have been examined in questionnaire surveys of 244 dog handlers and trainers from the six main UK dog-using Government agencies. The ten most important characteristics were (ideal level in brackets): acuity of sense of smell (very high), incentive to find an object which is out of sight...
Article
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Historically, pet dogs were trained using mainly negative reinforcement or punishment, but positive reinforcement using rewards has recently become more popular. The methods used may have different impacts on the dogs’ welfare. We distributed a questionnaire to 364 dog owners in order to examine the relative effectiveness of different training...
Article
Full-text available
It is often claimed that certain behavioral problems in domestic dogs can be triggered by the games played by dog and caregiver (owner). In this study, we examine possible links between the types of games played and dimensions of the dog-owner relationship that are generally considered to affect such problems. Fifty dog-owner partnerships were film...
Article
It has often been suggested that intraspecific dominance relationships are established through play. By analogy, it is also claimed that the outcome of competitive games can affect dog–human relationships. This paper experimentally tests the latter idea. Fourteen Golden Retrievers were each subjected to two treatments; 20 sessions of a tug-of-war g...
Article
Play signals are known to function in the solicitation and maintenance of intraspecific play, but their role in interspecific play is relatively unstudied. We carried out two studies to examine interspecific signalling when humans play with domestic dogs, Canis familiaris. In the first, we recorded dog–owner play sessions on video to identify actio...
Article
Play signals are known to function in the solicitation and maintenance of intraspecific play, but their role in interspecific play is relatively unstudied. We carried out two studies to examine interspecific signalling when humans play with domestic dogs, Canis familiaris. In the first, we recorded dog–owner play sessions on video to identify actio...
Article
In the popular literature, it is often assumed that a single conceptual framework can be applied to both dog–dog and dog–human interactions, including play. We have, through three studies, tested the hypothesis that dog–dog and dog–human play are motivationally distinct. In an observational study of dogs being walked by their owners (N=402), dogs w...
Thesis
p>Dog-human play was characterised as distinct from dog-dog play. Focal sampling of 402 dog walkers and a survey of 2585 dog owners revealed that dogs housed in multi-dog households played as frequently as did dogs in single-dog households, indicating that interspecific play is unlikely to be a substitute for intraspecific play. An experimental stu...
Article
Full-text available
Executive summary 1. What is the problem? Many pedigree dogs remain healthy for much of their lives, yet there can be no doubt that numerous dogs of many different breeds experience compromised welfare due to the effects of selective breeding practices. Many breeds have high rates of diseases with hereditary causes, and some have anatomical featu...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction It is often claimed that certain dominance-related problems in dogs can be triggered by the games played by dog and owner. In particular it is thought that allowing a dog to win uncontrolled games such as Tug-of-War will increase the likelihood of it attempting to become dominant over its owner. However questionnaires (Goodloe & Borche...

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