Paola Valsecchi

Paola Valsecchi
Università di Parma | UNIPR · Department of Life Sciences

About

121
Publications
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (121)
Article
Full-text available
In the present study we investigated the influence of positive and negative arousal situations and the presence of an audience on dogs’ behavioural displays and facial expressions. We exposed dogs to positive anticipation, non-social frustration and social frustration evoking test sessions and measured pre and post-test salivary cortisol concentrat...
Article
Full-text available
The judgement bias test represents one of the most applied tools to evaluate animals’ optimistic/pessimistic attitude and to infer their emotional and welfare state accordingly. The judgement bias test (JBT) has been used several times with dogs (Canis familiaris), in most cases using a spatial test that evaluates the dog’s attitude towards a bowl...
Article
Full-text available
Whether animals have emotions was historically a long-lasting question but, today, nobody disputes that they do. However, how to assess them and how to guarantee animals their welfare have become important research topics in the last 20 years. Infrared thermography (IRT) is a method to record the electromagnetic radiation emitted by bodies. It can...
Poster
Full-text available
Artificial selection changed dogs’ morphological and behavioural traits for purposes beyond companionship. Worldwide, dogs are often, but not always, kept as pets, and as such, they live in close contact with humans. Hence, information on the behaviour of problematic breeds is relevant. In this study, we employed the C-BARQ questionnaire to assess...
Article
Through domestication and subsequent selection dogs’ morphological and behavioural traits have been selected for functional purposes beyond companionship. Since dogs are kept as pets worldwide and live in close contact with humans, gathering information on the behavioural characteristics of breeds either potentially problematic or obtained through...
Article
Full-text available
It is now widely agreed that a positive affective state is a crucial component of animal well-being. The judgment bias test represents a widespread tool used to assess animals' optimistic/pessimistic attitude and to evaluate their emotional state and welfare. Judgment bias tests have been used several times with dogs (Canis familiaris), in most cas...
Article
Full-text available
This study assessed the feasibility and reproducibility of a previously validated temperament test (TT) for shelter dogs. The test was developed to measure dog behaviour in the kennel, and traits of sociability towards people and other dogs, docility to leash, playfulness, cognitive skills, and reactivity. We introduced the use of differently sized...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this work was to investigate the effect of dog breed groups, i.e., primitive, hunting/herding and Mastiff like (Study 1) and development, i.e., 4-month-old puppies vs adults (Study 2) on a quantity discrimination task. The task consisted of three conditions: C1—dogs were asked to choose between a large and a small amount of food; C2—the...
Article
The management of free-roaming dog populations is an important matter both for the local administrations that have to manage this problem and for the defenders of the animals' rights. This review's first objective is to analyse the legal status of the free-roaming dogs in some European countries. A second purpose of this work is to ask questions an...
Article
Full-text available
Jealousy appears to have clear adaptive functions across species: it emerges when an important social relationship with a valued social partner is threatened by third-party that is perceived as a rival. Dyads of dogs living together and their owners were tested adapting a procedure devised to study jealousy in young human siblings. Owners at first...
Article
Full-text available
Jealousy is a good candidate for comparative studies due to its clear adaptive value in protecting social bonds and affective relationships. Dogs are suitable subjects for investigating the evolution of jealousy, thanks to their rather sophisticated socio-cognitive abilities — which in some cases parallel those reported for human infants — and than...
Article
Full-text available
While dog owners ascribe different emotions to their pets, including jealousy, research on secondary emotions in nonhuman animals is very limited and, so far, only one study has investigated jealousy in dogs (Canis familiaris). This work explores jealousy in dogs one step further. We conducted two studies adapting a procedure devised to assess jeal...
Data
Breed of dogs participating in study1. (DOCX)
Data
Breed of dogs participating in study 2. (DOCX)
Article
Full-text available
A considerable number of studies have reported differences among dog breeds with respect to their genetic profile, cognitive abilities or personality traits. Each dog breed is normally treated as a homogeneous group, however, researchers have recently questioned whether the behavioural profile of modern breeds still reflects their historical functi...
Article
It is believed that domestic dogs rarely form packs with age-graded hierarchical structures similar to those found in wolves. Dog-wolf comparisons in captivity suggest that human control has reduced dog dependency on cooperation with conspecifics, resulting in a more despotic dominance order. However, free-ranging dogs are under stronger natural se...
Article
We assessed how water rescue dogs, which were equally accustomed to respond to gestural and verbal requests, weighted gestural versus verbal information when asked by their owner to perform an action. Dogs were asked to perform four different actions (“sit”, “lie down”, “stay”, “come”) providing them with a single source of information (in Phase 1,...
Article
Full-text available
Dogs have become the focus of cognitive studies looking at both their physical and social problem-solving abilities (Bensky et al. in Adv Stud Behav, 45:209-387, 2013), but very little is known about the environmental and inherited factors that may affect these abilities. In the current study, we presented a manipulation task (a puzzle box) and a s...
Article
Full-text available
A number of studies have recently investigated personality traits in non-human species, with the dog gaining popularity as a subject species for research in this area. Recent research has shown the consistency of personality traits across both context and time for adult dogs, both when using questionnaire based methods of investigation and behaviou...
Data
Questionnaire selection method. Description of the questionnaire selection procedure. (DOCX)
Book
Full-text available
I cavalli scelgono da quale elemento del branco imparare nuovi comportamenti, i pesci sanno contare e persino i moscerini della frutta sanno orientarsi in distese desertiche. ThinkAnimal utilizza un linguaggio semplice ma competente per introdurre il lettore al concetto di cognizione e mente animale. Per cognizione si intende la capacità di rappre...
Article
The present study aimed at evaluating possible behavioural differences between guide dogs living in a kennel and interacting with a trainer and those living in a house and interacting with a blind person and their family, when they are faced with an unsolvable task. Fifty-two Labrador retrievers were tested: 13 Trained Guide dogs at the end of thei...
Poster
Full-text available
Guide dogs change environments, stimuli and human reference figures many times throughout their lives, which may require them to adapt their behavior to new circumstances. The first goal of this study was to check for eventual behavioral differences between guide dogs at the end of training and those living with a blind person (and their family). O...
Article
Full-text available
Infrared thermography (IRT) represents a non-invasive method to investigate stress responses in animals. Despite the large existing literature about stress responses in dogs, the potential use of IRT in assessing dogs' stress reactions has not been investigated so far. This study evaluates the usefulness of IRT to assess dogs' emotional responses t...
Article
Various studies have assessed the role of life experiences, including learning opportunities, living conditions and the quality of dog-human relationships, in the use of human cues and problem-solving ability. The current study investigates how and to what extent training affects the behaviour of dogs and the communication of dogs with humans by co...
Poster
Full-text available
During water rescue training, dogs must be highly attentive to their handler and ready to obtain information from him/her; they are strongly rewarded for carefully looking at the handler during the obedience exercises. We explore the potential effect of training experience on the behaviour of gazing towards humans and on problem-solving strategies...
Article
Full-text available
Mating and reproductive outcome is often determined by the simultaneous operation of different mechanisms like intra-sexual competition, mating preferences and sexual coercion. The present study investigated how social variables affected mating outcome in a pack of free-ranging dogs, a species supposed to have lost most features of the social syste...
Chapter
The study of the human-dog relationship is relatively recent, and the prevalent framework, borrowed from the human infant literature, is embedded in attachment theory. The current chapter starts with a brief introduction on different social bonds in animals, particularly mammals, followed by a presentation of Bolwby’s ethological attachment theory...
Article
In numerous species social learning is predominant and adaptive, yet, we know little of its neurobiological mechanisms. Social learning is modulated by motivations and emotions, in a manner that is often sexually dimorphic. Additionally, stress hormones acutely modulate the related social cognitive process of social recognition. Whether this is tru...
Article
Full-text available
Most mammals scent‐mark, and a variety of hypotheses have been put forward to explain this behaviour. Most of our knowledge about scent marking in domestic dogs comes from studies carried out on laboratory or companion dogs, while few studies have been carried out on free‐ranging dogs. Here, we explored the functional significance of different scen...
Article
Full-text available
Dogs appear to be sensitive to human ostensive communicative cues in a variety of situations, however there is still a measure of controversy as to the way in which these cues influence human-dog interactions. There is evidence for instance that dogs can be led into making evaluation errors in a quantity discrimination task, for example losing thei...
Data
Videos of the demonstrations witnessed by dogs in each group. (WMV)
Article
Temperament tests are widely accepted as instruments for profiling behavioral variability in dogs, and they are applied in numerous areas of investigation (e.g. suitability for adoption or for breeding). During testing, to elicit a dog's reaction toward novel stimuli and predict its behavior in everyday life, model devices such as a child-like doll...
Article
Sociality comes with specific cognitive skills that allow the proper processing of information about others (social recognition), as well as of information originating from others (social learning). Because sociality and social interactions can also facilitate the spread of infection among individuals the ability to recognize and avoid pathogen thr...
Article
Full-text available
Recent evidence indicates that dogs’ sociocognitive abilities and behaviour in a test situation are shaped by both genetic factors and life experiences. We used the ‘unsolvable task’ paradigm to investigate the effect of breed and age/experience on the use of human-directed gazing behaviour. Following a genetic classification based on recent genome...
Article
Full-text available
Dogs are highly skilled in understanding a large variety of human social cues and use them appropriately to solve a number of different cognitive tasks. They rely on human signals even when these are contradictory or misleading and ultimately prevent them from correctly solving a task. In the following two experiments, we investigated whether the o...
Article
Eavesdropping on third-party interactions has been observed in a number of species and is considered an important source of information in decision-making processes relating to fighting and mate choice. Human beings, however, use publicly available information flexibly in many different contexts including assessing others’ altruistic tendencies, wh...
Article
Full-text available
P , 0.001). The gazing behavior differed in all image categories (P , 0.001). The total fixation time was longest for images of dogs (534 6 80 ms) and shorter for alphabetic characters (94 6 120 ms), and in between for images of humans (446 6 81 ms) and toys (294 6 86 ms). We conclude that the eye tracking system can be used for assessing dogs' vis...
Article
Full-text available
collocandolo in una prospettiva evoluzionistica. Dopo una breve introduzione sui legami sociali nel mondo animale, ed in particolare nei mammiferi, viene illustrato il fenomeno dell’ attaccamento secondo la prospettiva etologica ed evoluzionistica sviluppata da Bolwby. Infine l’articolo si focalizza sulla natura e sulle caratteristiche del legame u...
Conference Paper
Understanding hand preference as an index of cerebral lateralisation has been motivated a considerable amount of researches. As non-human primates are phylogenetically close to humans, they are ideal models to investigate the precursors of brain hemispheric specialisation in our species. Few studies have examined the relationship between target pos...
Conference Paper
A few studies have examined the relationship between target’s laterality and hand preference in non-human primates. This study aims to verify whether monkeys handedness affects their choice of a target or whether target position determines a retrieval using the hand closest to it. Using a two alternative choice test, seven pig-tailed macaques were...
Article
Full-text available
In conflicts between social groups, the decision of competitors whether to attack/retreat should be based on the assessment of the quantity of individuals in their own and the opposing group. Experimental studies on numerical cognition in animals suggest that they may represent both large and small numbers as noisy mental magnitudes subject to scal...
Article
Full-text available
Topál et al. (Reports, 4 September 2009, p. 1269) showed that dogs, like infants but unlike wolves, make perseverative search errors that can be explained by the use of ostensive cues from the experimenter. We suggest that a simpler learning process, local enhancement, can account for errors made by dogs.
Article
Full-text available
Mongolian gerbils are socially monogamous, group-living rodents, with a social organization based on a stable reproductive pair. In the present study, the effects of social bonds in gerbil female social behaviour as a function of partner presence were investigated. Female aggression was tested against same-sexed intruders as a function of pairing w...
Article
Groups of experimentally naive Swiss mice, 20 days old, were exposed to a varying quality of socially transmitted information needed to solve a food-finding problem. The problem consisted of opening a rotating door of an apparatus. Mice that lived with a demonstrator opening the apparatus and mice that lived with an adult manipulating but not openi...
Article
Consensus decisions about the nature and timing of group activities allow animals to maintain group cohesiveness, but also entail costs because individuals often differ with respect to their optimal activity budgets. Two mechanisms whereby animals reach a consensus include ‘consistent leadership’, in which a single dominant individual makes the dec...
Article
Full-text available
Current knowledge about social behavior of free-ranging domestic dogs is scarce, and the possibility that they could form stable social groups has been highly debated. We investigated the existence of a social-dominance hierarchy in a free-ranging group of domestic dogs. We quantified the pattern of dyadic exchange of a number of behaviors to exami...
Article
Cooperative intergroup aggression provides an example of a costly cooperative behaviour whose benefits spill over to noncooperative animals as well. Consequently, investigating factors that promote individual participation in intergroup contests should prove useful for understanding how cooperation may persist in animal societies despite cheating....
Article
Recently there has been a considerable increase in the number of studies on dogs’ socio-cognitive abilities. As noted by Miklo` si (2004), dogs are interesting study subjects for the possibility of looking at both the genetic influence on behavior by studying breed differences, and the ontogenetic factors, by taking into consideration various aspec...
Article
This study investigates ontogenetic aspects of attachment behaviour in guide dogs using the Strange Situation Test (SST). Seventeen dogs were tested three times in different periods of the guide dog training program. The first test was carried out when the dogs were 11–15 months old and before entering the training program; the second test took pla...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Dogs are considered highly social animals, but for many decade dogs’ social cognition and communication were not studied separately from other canids. Many new researches carried out with domestic dogs had shown that in the course of domestication they developed utmost interspecific social cognition. It is presumably based on the similarities betwe...
Article
Full-text available
Both genetic factors and life experiences appear to be important in shaping dogs' responses in a test situation. One potentially highly relevant life experience may be the dog's training history, however few studies have investigated this aspect so far. This paper briefly reviews studies focusing on the effects of training on dogs' performance in c...
Article
Current knowledge about social behavior of free-ranging domestic dogs is scarce, and the possibility that they could form stable social groups has been highly debated. We investigated the existence of a social-dominance hierarchy in a free-ranging group of domestic dogs. We quantified the pattern of dyadic exchange of a number of behaviors to exami...