Article

Dog behaviour on walks and the effect of use of the leash

Authors:
  • Dogs Trust
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Abstract

This paper describes how often pet dogs interact with other dogs, people and the environment, whilst being walked. Such interactions may involve aggression or the transmission of infectious disease. We also assessed the effect of the use of a leash as a modifier of these outcomes. In study one, the behaviour of pet dogs being walked in popular public walking areas was observed (286 observations). Interactions with people were much rarer than interactions with dogs. Multivariable modelling suggested that percentage duration spent sniffing the ground was associated with the UK Kennel Club Breed Type, and whether the dog was observed urinating. Gundogs were observed to sniff more than other breed types. In study two, dogs (n = 10) were filmed twice walking along a pre-defined route, alternately once on leash and once off leash, in order to assess the effects of leash use on interactions between the subject dog and any other dog or person encountered. Multilevel modelling suggested that if either dog was on the leash, then the likelihood of an interaction with a dog occurring was reduced. There was no evidence for statistical interactions between these variables, therefore the effect of the leash on one dog did not seem to be influenced by whether the other dog was on or off leash. We conclude that in circumstances where interactions need to be prevented, such as to reduce spread of infectious diseases during an outbreak, both dogs should be leashed.

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... These results may raise welfare concerns as on leash walking may compromise the opportunity for dogs to elect their own pace and select their own points of interest to explore as owner walking speed is over all lower (Table 3) and the range of exploration is limited to the length of the leash. This is furthermore indicated by the fact that dogs take significantly longer to walk the identical route off leash than on leash [25]. Providing a dog with daily off leash exercise may be a precaution so the dog is less susceptible to psychological conditions such as depression [26]. ...
... To explore novel environments is essential for animals in order to collect information about features of their surroundings [30] and it assists them to collect different input [31] either through individual assessment [32] or by intra-or interspecific observational learning. The exploration behavior of dogs is clearly influenced by their prior learning and experience [33] and being always on a leash may inhibit their learning and development due to more restrictive walking patterns and limited exposure to information [5,25]. One possibility to explore is through olfactory information which could also be seen on the video coverage. ...
... One possibility to explore is through olfactory information which could also be seen on the video coverage. Studies show that more sniffing behaviors are performed whilst off the leash, suggesting that stimuli that promote sniffing are less accessible when on a leash [1,25]. Westgarth et al., (2010) found the median duration dogs spent sniffing whilst off leash was 16% compared to 4% while on a leash [25]. ...
Article
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The approximate figure of pet dogs reported in Europe 2020 is 87.5 million. These dogs live mainly either in enclosed properties or their exercise takes place in form of a daily round of walks with their owner, frequently on a leash. The importance of regular exercise for dogs is well known and benefits to physiological and psychological well-being through off leash explorative behavior has been documented. Off leash walks benefit health and welfare because the dog’s individual natural gait, social transaction ability and exploration behavior are thereby supported. In this study the behavior of free-ranging (off-leash) pet dogs was assessed whilst walking in familiar and unfamiliar areas with their owner and not being signaled or called to. Data were collected to measure distance travelled and duration dogs spent away from their owner during the walks to determine and compare speed and movement patterns of dog and owner respectively. The roaming behavior of the dogs was measured via GPS. All dogs displayed individual speed and exploration patterns and covered significantly longer distances at significantly higher speed compared to their owners. The majority of dogs, however, remained within a radius of 150 m of their owner all the time. Therefore, while it is inevitable for dogs to be on a leash in some situations whilst sharing our urban environment, safe and enriched areas for off leash activities are strongly recommend to ensure pet dogs’ physiological and psychological welfare by being able to explore in their own speed and employing their individual movement patterns.
... Dog ownership can be socially, emotionally, and physically beneficial for humans (Cutt et al., 2007;Day, 2010;Lail et al., 2011;Christian et al., 2013). In urban environments, parks are common areas for dogs (Canis familiaris) and owners to engage in health-promoting physical and social activities (McCormack et al., 2010;Westgarth et al., 2010;Toohey and Rock, 2011). Congregation in parks, however, also introduces the potential for gastrointestinal (GI) parasite transmission among dogs and between them and their human companions. ...
... Whereas the current study collected recreational data using a survey, Westgarth et al. (2010) compiled similar data from owners and dogs in dog-walking areas in the United Kingdom (UK) by first-hand observation, and also found that the majority of owners unleashed their dogs. ...
... In their related experiment comparing contact between a subject dog amongst other on-leash or off-leash dogs, they discovered that leashing had a significant dampening effect on the amount of contact between dogs, and they speculated that leashing could assist in preventing infectious diseases, such as in outbreak situations (Westgarth et al., 2010). Off-leash contact between dogs can have physical and social benefits of relevance to canine health, yet GI parasitism and off-leash frequency were previously found to be associated in our sample (Smith et al., 2014). ...
... Much of the research incorporating risk factors for GI parasitism in dogs has been demographic in nature, or based on geographical location, time of year, and husbandry practices [7][8][9][10]. Within the social sciences, investigations into the relationships between spatial and temporal patterns of dog-walking, dog-to-dog contact, and dog demographics have indirectly explored behaviours that could influence the risk of GI disease transmission in dogs [3,[11][12][13]. However, only a limited number of studies have investigated the extent to which parks might pose risks for infection and transmission of GI parasites in dogs [2,7,9,[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21], a relevant query given that in urban settings, parks figure prominently as dog-walking destinations [22]. ...
... Within the social sciences, investigations into the relationships between spatial and temporal patterns of dog-walking, dog-to-dog contact, and dog demographics have indirectly explored behaviours that could influence the risk of GI disease transmission in dogs [3,[11][12][13]. However, only a limited number of studies have investigated the extent to which parks might pose risks for infection and transmission of GI parasites in dogs [2,7,9,[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21], a relevant query given that in urban settings, parks figure prominently as dog-walking destinations [22]. Giardia spp. is a common GI parasite infecting dogs and humans [6] that has figured into some parkrelated investigations. ...
... Certain behaviours may increase the risk of Giardia spp. infection, such as dog owners who do not reliably pick up their dogs' faeces while attending parks [13,21], as Giardia spp. cysts have been isolated from undisposed dog faeces within parks [19,20]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Giardia spp. is a common gastrointestinal (GI) parasite of multiple host species, including dogs and humans, with the potential for zoonotic transmission. The risk of GI parasitism in dogs (including Giardia spp.) may increase with park use in urban areas. This study aimed to (1) determine whether park attendance is a risk factor for Giardia spp. infection in dogs and (2) characterize the behavioural and demographic risk factors for Giardia spp. infection in park-attending and non-park-attending dogs. From August to September 2012, a total of 1293 dog owners completed a survey and 860 corresponding dog faecal samples were collected. Dog faeces were screened for Giardia spp. using a direct immunofluorescence assay and associations assessed among behaviours, demographics, and Giardia spp. infection. Main results included off-leash and swimming frequencies within parks as significantly positively associated with Giardia spp. infection in dogs. Dog-owner age was negatively associated with off-leash and swimming frequencies in parks. The results suggest some recreational behaviours in parks and certain demographics are risk factors for parasitism in pet dogs.
... Much of the research incorporating risk factors for GI parasitism in dogs has been demographic in nature, or based on geographical location, time of year, and husbandry practices [7][8][9][10]. Within the social sciences, investigations into the relationships between spatial and temporal patterns of dog-walking, dog-to-dog contact, and dog demographics have indirectly explored behaviours that could influence the risk of GI disease transmission in dogs [3,[11][12][13]. However, only a limited number of studies have investigated the extent to which parks might pose risks for infection and transmission of GI parasites in dogs [2,7,9,[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21], a relevant query given that in urban settings, parks figure prominently as dog-walking destinations [22]. ...
... Within the social sciences, investigations into the relationships between spatial and temporal patterns of dog-walking, dog-to-dog contact, and dog demographics have indirectly explored behaviours that could influence the risk of GI disease transmission in dogs [3,[11][12][13]. However, only a limited number of studies have investigated the extent to which parks might pose risks for infection and transmission of GI parasites in dogs [2,7,9,[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21], a relevant query given that in urban settings, parks figure prominently as dog-walking destinations [22]. Giardia spp. is a common GI parasite infecting dogs and humans [6] that has figured into some parkrelated investigations. ...
... Certain behaviours may increase the risk of Giardia spp. infection, such as dog owners who do not reliably pick up their dogs' faeces while attending parks [13,21], as Giardia spp. cysts have been isolated from undisposed dog faeces within parks [19,20]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Giardia spp. is a common gastrointestinal (GI) parasite of multiple host species, including dogs and humans, with the potential for zoonotic transmission. The risk of GI parasitism in dogs (including Giardia spp.) may increase with park use in urban areas. This study aimed to (1) determine whether park attendance is a risk factor for Giardia spp. infection in dogs and (2) characterize the behavioural and demographic risk factors for Giardia spp. infection in park-attending and non-park-attending dogs. From August to September 2012, a total of 1293 dog owners completed a survey and 860 corresponding dog faecal samples were collected. Dog faeces were screened for Giardia spp. using a direct immunofluorescence assay and associations assessed among behaviours, demographics, and Giardia spp. infection. Main results included off-leash and swimming frequencies within parks as significantly positively associated with Giardia spp. infection in dogs. Dog-owner age was negatively associated with off-leash and swimming frequencies in parks. The results suggest some recreational behaviours in parks and certain demographics are risk factors for parasitism in pet dogs. Key words: Dog, epidemiology, Giardia spp., parasitism, urban park, zoonotic.
... Dog ownership can be socially, emotionally, and physically beneficial for humans (Cutt et al., 2007;Day, 2010;Lail et al., 2011;Christian et al., 2013). In urban environments, parks are common areas for dogs (Canis familiaris) and owners to engage in health-promoting physical and social activities (McCormack et al., 2010;Westgarth et al., 2010;Toohey and Rock, 2011). Congregation in parks, however, also introduces the potential for gastrointestinal (GI) parasite transmission among dogs and between them and their human companions. ...
... Whereas the current study collected recreational data using a survey, Westgarth et al. (2010) compiled similar data from owners and dogs in dog-walking areas in the United Kingdom (UK) by first-hand observation, and also found that the majority of owners unleashed their dogs. ...
... In their related experiment comparing contact between a subject dog amongst other on-leash or off-leash dogs, they discovered that leashing had a significant dampening effect on the amount of contact between dogs, and they speculated that leashing could assist in preventing infectious diseases, such as in outbreak situations (Westgarth et al., 2010). Off-leash contact between dogs can have physical and social benefits of relevance to canine health, yet GI parasitism and off-leash frequency were previously found to be associated in our sample (Smith et al., 2014). ...
Article
"t" "Associations between park use and infections with gastrointestinal (GI) parasites in dogs (Canis familiaris) have been previously observed, suggesting park use may pose risks for infection in dogs, and potentially, in humans. This study was conducted to establish the overall level of perceived risk of parasitism in dogs, the frequency of unleashing dogs in parks, and to determine if dog owners’ risk perceptions of parasite transmission among humans and dogs are associated with the reported frequency of unleashing dogs. From June to September 2010, 635 surveys were administered to dog owners in nine city parks in Cal- gary, Alberta, by the lead author to explore dog-walking behaviors in parks under differing leashing regulations. From these, a subset of 316 questionnaires were analyzed to examine associations between behavioral and dog demographic factors, risk perception and accept- ability of perceived risks of dog and human parasitism, and education regarding parasitism in dogs and humans. Multivariate statistics were conducted using three separate Chi- Square Automatic Interaction Detection (CHAID) decision trees to model risk perception of dogs becoming parasitized while in the park, risk perception of zoonotic transmission, and off-leash frequency. Predictors included recreational behaviors, dog demographics, risk perception of park-based and zoonotic transmission, education regarding parasites, and leashing regulations (e.g. on-leash, off-leash, or mixed management parks). The perceived risk of park-based transmission was relatively higher than perception of zoonotic trans- mission and the majority of people unleashed their dogs at least some of the time. Risk perception was not associated with off-leash frequency in dogs and risk perception and off-leash frequency were associated with factors other than each other. The results suggest owners may underestimate the potential risks for parasitism related to some dog-walking"behaviours, and are relevant for public and animal health."
... Still, dog faeces in public areas are a major concern for citizens and municipal politicians because it involves a potential public health risk through disease transmission (Kerr-Muir 1994), unsightliness, and unpleasant odors. This has resulted in antifouling campaigns designed on the basis of studies targeting the demographic factors associated with the likelihood of dogs fouling public areas or owners failing to pick up their dogs' faeces (Wells 2006;Arhant and Troxler 2009); see also the study of the effect of dogs being on a leash (or not) on owners picking up faeces (or not) (Westgarth et al. 2010). Dog aggression toward humans (O'Sullivan et al. 2008;Rosado et al. 2009) and other animals (Roll and Unshelm 1997) is another significant public safety issue. ...
... Westgarth et al. (2008) investigated the nature and frequency of the contacts that occur between dogs and between dogs and people: These varied widely and were affected by the size, sex, and age of the dog, individual dog behaviors, human behaviors, and human preferences in dog management. Westgarth et al. (2010) further showed that interactions between dogs were more frequent than those between dogs and people in parks that allowed dogs to be offleash. Yet academic research on dog presence in built-up outdoor areas does not provide an exhaustive overview and does not really address our concern about the characteristics, frequency and types of interaction, activities, and placements of dogs and their owners. ...
... For instance, for each area, we compared the distribution of small, medium, or large-sized dogs with the random distribution or we tested whether the distribution of dog-owner dyads exhibiting visual interactions and those who did not differed from a random distribution. Due to the 123 low number of behavioral instances for some variables, it was impossible to perform statistical analysis; therefore, we only give only a general description (i.e., basic descriptive statistics) (Westgarth et al. 2010): In the Results section, the symbol ''w'' is used for such cases. Some modalities are nonexclusive; in the tables below and in the Results section, the symbol (*) is used as a reminder that no statistics were performed. ...
Article
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Tensions are generated by the inevitable presence of dogs accompanying humans in cities. Built-up outdoor areas, spaces that are "in between" the home and dog parks, are widely frequented by dogs and their owners. The present case study, performed in Lyon (France), is the first to provide a description of these dyads in areas that vary according to terrain, district, dog legislation and use in three areas: a busy street where dogs are allowed and a park and a square where dogs are forbidden. Dog-owner profiles were identified. They adjusted their presence differently across areas and according to anthropogenic and ecological pressures, such as day of the week, time of day, weather, frequentation, and legislation. They mutually adapted their behaviors. Interactions between dogs or owners and other social agents were few; dogs primarily sniffed and urinated. There was little barking, no aggression, minor impact on the environment, and, despite instances of dogs appropriating forbidden areas and dogs off their leashes, the dogs seemed to go virtually unnoticed. The study shows how the need for more-than-human areas is evident in outdoor built-up areas (for instance, the results on types of interaction and activity across areas, absence of a leash, and appropriation of forbidden areas) as well as how the cultural and natural aspects of dogs play out. The results suggest that dog regulations should be adjusted in outdoor built-up areas and that dog parks should be developed.
... 20,21,25 Studies have found dogsparticularly juveniles aged under 16 months 25 are more likely to approach conspecifics when offlead. 11 While off-lead interactions increased play opportunities, they more than doubled the risk of aggressive responding among dogs. 25 Indeed, 13% of UK dog owners, primary concern when walking is fear of their dog being attacked by another dog. ...
... 15 Despite acknowledging lead use curtails unwanted behaviours, many dog owners still consider off-lead walking integral to welfare, 20,26 even when their dog presents a risk to dogs, people and wildlife. 27 Owners of off-lead dogs are less likely to pick up after them, 11 increasing risks of intraspecific and zoonotic infection. 28,29 Off-lead dogs killed approximately 15,000 sheep in the UK in 2016, 30 costing farmers over a million pounds, despite 64% erecting signage, and dog owners being liable to prosecution. ...
Article
Full-text available
Veterinary professionals (VPs) are often the first source of advice for clients struggling with their dog’s behaviour, and pulling on the lead is a common-place undesirable behaviour VPs will encounter regularly in practice. Excluding bites, being pulled over while walking on a lead is the leading cause of non-fatal dog-related injuries in the UK. This narrative review investigates lead pulling as a welfare concern in pet dogs, highlighting aspects of the literature of particular interest to VPs. Lead pulling could negatively affect walk quality, frequency and duration,causing weight gain, while decreased environmental enrichment could trigger other undesirable behaviours. Aversive equipment to prevent lead pulling can cause pain, distress and injury, but even equipment considered humane can have welfare consequences. Punitive training methods could cause dogs stress, fear and anxiety and trigger aggressive behaviour. While these lead pulling outcomes are welfare concerns in themselves, they could also weaken dog–owner attachment, a risk factor in pet dog relinquishment.Given lead pulling could affect the welfare of patients in a VPs care, clinical implications and opportunities for client education are outlined. Educating clients on humane prevention and modification of lead pulling could make walks easier, safer and more enjoyable, with positive outcomes for clients,canine welfare and the practice.
... Respondents' desires to avoid interactions with other dogs were associated in part with concerns about the potential epidemiological role of dogs in the spread of COVID-19: fears that were expressed worldwide in the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak [77][78][79]. A study by Westgarth et al. (2010) found that the use of a lead reduced the frequency of dog-dog interactions during walking, leading the authors to conclude that on-lead walking could be a potentially effective modifier of dog interactions, helping to reduce infectious disease transmission [80]. Although the anecdotal reports of COVID-19 spread from pets to people have not been verified by experts, many of our respondents endeavoured to avoid other dogs during walks by keeping their dogs on-lead and some passed judgment on other owners who chose not to do so. ...
... Respondents' desires to avoid interactions with other dogs were associated in part with concerns about the potential epidemiological role of dogs in the spread of COVID-19: fears that were expressed worldwide in the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak [77][78][79]. A study by Westgarth et al. (2010) found that the use of a lead reduced the frequency of dog-dog interactions during walking, leading the authors to conclude that on-lead walking could be a potentially effective modifier of dog interactions, helping to reduce infectious disease transmission [80]. Although the anecdotal reports of COVID-19 spread from pets to people have not been verified by experts, many of our respondents endeavoured to avoid other dogs during walks by keeping their dogs on-lead and some passed judgment on other owners who chose not to do so. ...
Article
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On 23 March 2020, the UK Government imposed a nationwide lockdown as part of efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. This study aimed to explore how the experience of dog ownership in the UK was impacted during this lockdown. Data for this research came from open-ended survey questions and an electronic diary completed by members of the general public and participants involved in “Generation Pup”, an ongoing longitudinal cohort study of dogs. A total of 10,510 free-text entries were analysed. Three major themes emerged: spending time at home with dog(s), walking practices, and behaviour and training. Owners valued having more time than usual with their dog(s) but also recognised that spending extra time with their dog(s) may negatively impact on the dog’s future ability to cope when left alone. However, very few owners provided alone time for their dog(s) during the lockdown. The opportunity to walk their dog(s) as part of their permitted daily exercise was regarded positively, but walks under the lockdown guidelines were not always felt to be adequate with respect to providing sufficient exercise and opportunities for interaction with other dogs. Owners reported observing new undesirable behaviours in their dog(s) during the lockdown, including barking and dogs being “clingy” or vocalising when briefly left alone. Based on these findings, we suggest intervention strategies to best support dog welfare that include helping dog owners to teach dogs to cope with being alone, even if owners do not need to leave their dogs alone.
... Although around one in five dogs were not walked off lead before or during lockdown-similar to the 14.5% reported in a previous a study of UK dogs [25]-the proportion of dogs that were walked on lead (particularly short leads) increased with lockdown and, where dogs were walked off lead, they were more likely to be walked to heel. These changes could have important implications for opportunities for environmental enrichment [36,37] and social interaction with people and dogs [38]. Dogs' ability to engage in exploratory and sniffing behaviour is reduced when on lead compared to off lead during walks [38] and thus it is likely that the increased use of leads during lockdown reduced the opportunities for dogs to investigate their olfactory environment. ...
... Furthermore, when meeting other dogs on walks, the proportion of dogs who were permitted by their owner to interact (sniff/play) with those dogs reduced considerably and was influenced by both the familiarity of the other dogs and whether or not the dog was on a lead. Some of this reduction of interaction with other dogs may have occurred because owners prevented interaction with observed dogs, facilitated by increased use of lead walking during lockdown, which has previously been shown to reduce dog-dog interactions [36]. However, during lockdown owners also increasingly chose walking areas in order to avoid locations where they were likely to encounter other dogs and, in consequence, walking locations during lockdown were more likely to be described as "quiet, with few people about" and/or "no dogs, or very rarely any dogs" or "other dogs, but almost always on leads", when compared with pre-lockdown locations. ...
Article
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Initial COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in the United Kingdom (23rd March–12th May 2020) prompted lifestyle changes for many people. We explored the impact of this lockdown phase on pet dogs using an online survey completed by 6004 dog owners, who provided information including dog management data for the 7 days prior to survey completion (4th–12th May 2020), and for February 2020 (pre-lockdown). We explored associations between potential predictors and four outcomes relating to changes pre-/during lockdown (reduction in number and duration of walks; increased frequency of play/training, and provision of toys). Most owners (79.5%) reported their dog’s routine had changed compared to pre-lockdown. There was a four-fold increase in the proportion not left alone for >5 min on any day during a weekly period (14.6% pre-lockdown, 58.0% during lockdown), with the proportion being left for ≥3 h at a time decreasing from 48.5% to 5.4%. Dogs were walked less often and for less time daily during lockdown, with factors related to the dog, owner, household, and home location associated with changes to walking practices. Many dogs had more play/training sessions and were given toys more frequently during lockdown. Decreased walk duration was associated with increased odds of play/training opportunities and toy provision. These changes to dog management have the potential for immediate and longer-term welfare problems.
... Another aspect which needs to be addressed is how the practices and beliefs of dog owners and users of public green spaces affect the sustainability of control measures (Sampson 1984). In England, Webley and Siviter (2000) and Westgarth et al. (2010) showed that, despite educational campaign, only 60% of owners complied with regulations. These findings appeared to be influenced by different aspects, for example picking up dogs' feces was more common in parks than in sidewalks (Webley and Siviter 2000), and owners who carried their dog on a leash were more likely to pick up their dogs' feces than those who did not (Wells 2006;Westgarth et al. 2010). ...
... In England, Webley and Siviter (2000) and Westgarth et al. (2010) showed that, despite educational campaign, only 60% of owners complied with regulations. These findings appeared to be influenced by different aspects, for example picking up dogs' feces was more common in parks than in sidewalks (Webley and Siviter 2000), and owners who carried their dog on a leash were more likely to pick up their dogs' feces than those who did not (Wells 2006;Westgarth et al. 2010). The situations described may also change depending on the site studied (e.g. ...
Article
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Canine fecal contamination in public green areas is difficult to control. Our objectives were to assess: (i) the relationship between fecal contamination in public green spaces of Buenos Aires (Argentina) and the type of green space (boulevard/square/park), considering their area, presence/absence of control measures, and human population density in the surroundings (high or low); (ii) the perception of people of such contamination and (iii) the frequency of parasites in dog feces. In each green space (n = 26), feces were counted in thirty 25-m2 plots randomly located. The opinion survey consisted of asking people (358) what their perception of fecal contamination was, whether it bothered them and whether they thought it was hazardous to the dogs’ or people’ health. Canine fecal samples randomly collected (n = 112) were concentrated and examined microscopically. Mixed-effect generalized linear models were fitted to evaluate the effect of selected variables on fecal contamination. People’s perception of human and canine health risks were assessed by logistic regression. Canine fecal contamination was lower in squares with control measures and in parks with control measures located in densely populated areas, and higher in boulevards located in densely populated areas. The visitor’s perception was that feces were associated with dirtiness (77%) and odor (30.8%). Parasites were detected in 51.8% of fecal samples. Our results confirm that environmental control measures decrease canine fecal contamination of public green spaces, and that more than 65% of the people interviewed do not relate fecal contamination to risks to human/dog health.
... Some authors have proposed to study the behaviour of dogs' owners so as to decrease environmental contamination (Webley and Siviter, 2000;Wells, 2006;Westgarth et al., 2007Westgarth et al., , 2010Smith et al., 2015). ...
... Also, the results agree with other studies showing that women and people who lead their dogs on leashes clean their waste more often (Webley and Siviter, 2000;Wells, 2006;Westgarth and Pinchbeck, 2008;Westgarth et al., 2010;Rock et al., 2016). ...
Article
The level of faecal contamination in urban public spaces depends on the behaviour of dogs’s owners as well as on dog abundance. The aims of the present study were to explore patterns of the relative abundance of dogs, the canine faecal contamination, the behaviour of owners and dog walkers towards their pets, and their relationship with human demographic/economic variables in Buenos Aires city. We carried out a cross sectional study that included 67 randomly selected sampling sites (street corners). Each sampling site was evaluated one only time by two trained students under our supervision and all sighted dogs between 7 and 11 a.m. in both sidewalks of each corner were counted (spring 2013, 23 days of sampling). Data about dogs and people were obtained by using a standardized questionnaire and by direct observation. Feces censuses in 242 sidewalks were carried out. The sidewalks were randomly selected and its characteristics were registered (i.e. number of shops, trees). GIS was loaded with the city´s cartography and the values for nine variables used as demographic/economic indicators were obtained disaggregated by demographic units (National Census). Generalized linear models were used to identify the environmental and demographic variables related to the number of dogs sighted per site and feces per sidewalk. Explanatory variables per site included human density, number of inhabitants, households, precarious housing, proportion of children, maximum educational level and drinking water provision. For the sidewalks number of shops, trees, tree pits, broken sectors and total length were added. Also, variables regarding dog’s owners and dog walkers behaviour were compared. A total of 1193 dog’s owners, 234 dog walkers and 2835 dogs were sighted. The number of observed pets and that of people sighted with dogs showed a positive relationship with the economic level and the human density. The stool number per sidewalk increased with the higher number of broken sectors, higher number of tree pits per meter of sidewalk and the lower number of shops on it. The stool number per sidewalk was lower when 40% or more people with dogs carried waste bag to clean dogs’ feces. Our results indicate that dog walkers compared to owners showed different behavioural patterns towards the pets (bag to remove dog’s fouling, leash use, use of the green spaces, etc).
... During socialization, puppies should have adequate contact with other dogs. However, the use of a leash has a reducing effect on the amount of interactions between dogs (Westgarth et al., 2010). Therefore, off-leash walking is recommended to intensify the process of puppy socialization. ...
... Contrary to streets, the sex of the dog had no influence on the use of a leash in parks. Based on the facts that off-leash dog walking enhances the amount of interactions between dogs (Westgarth et al., 2010) and that dogs were unleashed much more often in parks than in streets, the higher probability that dogs will interact with other dogs in parks might reduce their interest in interacting with unfamiliar people. No significant differences between men and women were found in the frequency of unleashed dogs in public places. ...
Article
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Little is known about factors that influence owners' decisions walking their dogs on or off a leash in public places. We examined the effect of the type of public place, dog's age, sex and size, and human gender on off-leash dog walking. Observations of 1850 dogs and their owners were made in streets and parks in Brno (Czech Republic). Multiple logistic regression analysis showed no significant effect of human gender on the frequency of unleashed dogs in streets and parks. Off-leash dog walking was 2.8 times more likely in parks than in streets. Adult dogs were unleashed 1.9 times more likely than puppies in streets and parks. Larger dogs were unleashed 3.4 times less likely than smaller dogs in streets and 2.8 times more likely in parks. Male dogs were unleashed 1.7 times less likely than female dogs in streets. The dog's sex had no effect on off-leash dog walking in parks. The age and sex of dogs walked by men and women in public places were not significantly different. Larger dogs were walked by men 1.9 times more likely than by women. Results indicate that off-leash dog walking is affected by the type of public place and dog's age, sex and size. © 2017 Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry Brno. All rights reserved.
... Nevertheless, dog-fouling appeared to be more frequent in places where other pathway-users could not readily observe dog-walkers and in places where dog-fouling had been tolerated for decades. In light of these findings, as well as previous studies that identified off-leash activity as plausible contributor to dogfouling (Wells, 2006;Westgarth et al., 2010), Lowe et al. (2014, p. 344) suggest that on-leash policies in high-traffic areas "may lead to a reduction in the presence of dog waste as a direct associa-tion can then be made between the owner and the defecating dog." This suggestion is consistent with socio-ecological theory, insofar as people's actions reflect complex interplays across policy, physical, social and domestic spheres (McLaren & Hawe, 2005;Richard et al., 2011;Westgarth et al., 2014). ...
... Nevertheless, dog-fouling appeared to be more frequent in places where other pathway-users could not readily observe dog-walkers and in places where dog-fouling had been tolerated for decades. In light of these findings, as well as previous studies that identified off-leash activity as plausible contributor to dogfouling (Wells, 2006;Westgarth et al., 2010), Lowe et al. (2014, p. 344) suggest that on-leash policies in high-traffic areas "may lead to a reduction in the presence of dog waste as a direct associa-tion can then be made between the owner and the defecating dog." This suggestion is consistent with socio-ecological theory, insofar as people's actions reflect complex interplays across policy, physical, social and domestic spheres (McLaren & Hawe, 2005;Richard et al., 2011;Westgarth et al., 2014). ...
Article
In this natural experiment, we investigated on-leash and off-leash policies as plausible influences on the behavior of dog-walkers in the City of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Following policy-mandated public consultations, two of the four parks initially proposed by the City as sites for new off-leash areas retained on-leash designations. Within a year of creating off-leash areas in two parks, we observed more dog-walkers and improved compliance with dog-fouling in one case, but not in the other. Compared to the previous year, we also observed more stationary dog-walkers in both of these parks. Paradoxically, activity levels amongst dog-walkers – including while dogs were off-leash – remained highest for a park that retained an on-leash designation. Off-leash policies in urban parks could have positive as well as negative implications for public health. In addition to off-leash policies, factors that merit consideration regarding dog-walking and dog-fouling include implementation strategies, physical features, socio-demographic characteristics and modifications to park environments.
... Participants in the same study also noted that such environments provide social opportunities to meet others and converse themselves (Edwards & Knight, 2006). For example, dog walkers often only know each other by their dog (e.g., she's Max's owner or he's Bella's owner), and this illustrates the reciprocal relationship between the social interaction of dogs and dog walkers (Westgarth et al., 2010). ...
... However, be alert to any potential aggression and be prepared to pull the leash back in order to separate the dogs safely. Since a dog's olfactory inspections concentrate on the head and anal regions, respiratory and gastrointestinal infectious agents can be transmitted from dog to dog, or from a contaminated environment to dogs (Westgarth, 2010). Bacterial and viral agents that are possible to be passed on from such encounters may include Bordetella (kennel cough), parvovirus, coronavirus, Campylobacter, and even rabies. ...
... Further study is also required to determine in what circumstances non-conformity occurs and what social norms or sanctions transgressive owners would respond to. In an observational study by Westgarth et al. (2010) dog walking behaviour was studied in popular outdoor environments. In observations associated with dog fouling, 63% of dog walkers picked up. ...
... However, implementing a requirement (in locations with high levels of dog waste and public use) for dogs to be kept on leads (an offence that can be implemented under Dog Control orders) may lead to a reduction in the presence of dog waste as a direct association can then be made between the owner and the defecating dog. This suggestion is supported by observations made by Westgarth et al. (2010) at a beach, public park and a sports field in England and by Wells (2006) at public parks in Northern Ireland who recorded that dog owners cleaned up after their dogs more often when the dogs were on a leash. However, research by SIRC (2008) suggested that the opportunity to walk dogs off the lead was considered the single most important factor in determining dog walking location and this factor must be considered before any designation changes are implemented. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study sought to investigate the behaviour and attitudes of dog walkers to picking up and disposing of dog foul, with a specific focus on bagged dog waste. Two research methods were utilised. The first explores locational and social factors influencing dog walkers' behaviour in picking up and disposing of dog faeces. Dog waste audits were conducted on popular dog walking paths in Lancashire. Secondly, the results were used to deliver an online national dog walking survey. Results of the audits suggested that availability of bins, path morphology, visibility, and path location are key factors in determining the occurrence of dog faeces. In the survey a key factor influencing behaviour was the belief that clearing up after dogs is the 'right thing to do' and this was associated with an awareness of health risks. Dog walker typologies are also proposed heuristically, ranging from those dog walkers that are 'proud to pick up' who will pick up in any location, through those who make contextual judgements about where and when it could be permissible to leave dog waste, to the 'disengaged' who will not pick up even if they are aware of the health and environmental consequences. The study advocates active engagement of dog walkers in tackling this contested, potentially environmentally damaging issue.
... However, a possible limitation of these laboratory-based studies is that they may not adequately model how attention is deployed between dogs and owners in more natural circumstances, for a laboratory can hardly incorporate the quantity and types of stimuli to which dogs are likely to be exposed in real life. Although there are a few studies that focused on dogs' social interactions in natural contexts (Bekoff and Meaney, 1997;Westgarth et al., 2010;Rezá c et al., 2011), there are no data on dogehuman attention in such contexts. ...
... Alternatively, being allowed off leash may increase the odds of meeting with challenging situations. Westgarth et al. (2010), for example, reported that being off leash increases the number of encounters and interactions with other dogs, which may carry an emotional challenge. In this case, dogs off leash may resort to look at their owners more often and with longer gazes to regain proximity and feel more secure in a situation of need. ...
... To be minimally intrusive, the observer performed direct visual observations of the behaviors and recorded them in a notebook (cf. Rooney et al., 2000 and study 1 of Westgarth et al., 2010). The observer was already skilled in behavioral recording (cf. the acknowledgments section in the paper by Gaunet and Deputte, 2011). ...
... Although similar conclusions had been raised in behavioral studies focusing on the training of working dogs and in studies involving questionnaires addressed to pet dog owners, this is the first time that such results are documented in the pet dog by a behavioral study performed on common training methods. Two issues related to our attempt to minimally affect the situations observed must however be raised before discussing the data: the same person selected the schools and performed the observations, 1 expert observer collected the data (see the study by Rooney et al., 2000 andWestgarth et al., 2010), observations were short in duration, and only 1 dog school for each method was analyzed (with 24 and 26 dogs in each school though). The present findings cannot thus be generalized to larger populations, but our study is an exploratory study that provides a preliminary panorama of the nature of dogs' behaviors in natural conditions and experimental trails to lately be followed and optimized. ...
... Participants in the same study also noted that such environments provide social opportunities to meet others and converse themselves (Edwards & Knight, 2006). For example, dog walkers often only know each other by their dog (e.g., she's Max's owner or he's Bella's owner), and this illustrates the reciprocal relationship between the social interaction of dogs and dog walkers (Westgarth et al., 2010). ...
... However, be alert to any potential aggression and be prepared to pull the leash back in order to separate the dogs safely. Since a dog's olfactory inspections concentrate on the head and anal regions, respiratory and gastrointestinal infectious agents can be transmitted from dog to dog, or from a contaminated environment to dogs (Westgarth, 2010). Bacterial and viral agents that are possible to be passed on from such encounters may include Bordetella (kennel cough), parvovirus, coronavirus, Campylobacter, and even rabies. ...
... They argued that when dogs practice nosework, they can express their natural behavior, a key point of animal welfare (Mellor, 2016). Walks can also offer the opportunity for dogs to socialize with conspecifics, either en route, or at a destination such as a dog park (Westgarth et al., 2010). Proper walking practices (e.g., allowing dogs to sniff their environment, giving them time to socialize) should be taught to dog owners and their families to favor positive dogs' experience when being walked and thus enhance their welfare. ...
Preprint
Our wellbeing is greatly influenced by our childhood and adolescence, and the relationships that we form during those phases of our development. The human-dog bond started thousands of years ago. The higher prevalence of dog ownership around the world, especially in households including children along with the growing number of people studying dogs most likely explain the growing literature focusing on child-dog interactions. We review the potential effects of child-dog interactions on the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of both species. A scoping search of the SCOPUS database found several hundred documents meeting selection criteria. It allowed us to define the numerous ways in which children and dogs can interact, be it neutral (e.g., sharing a common area), positive (e.g., petting), or negative (e.g., biting). Then, we found evidence for an association between interacting with dogs during childhood and an array of health and mental benefits like stress relief and the development of empathy. Walking a dog and playing with one are perfect physical activity opportunities. Additionally, interacting with a dog can help lower stress and may have a role in the development of empathy. Nonetheless, a number of detrimental outcomes have also been identified in both humans and dogs. Children are the most at-risk population regarding dog bites and dog-borne zoonoses, which may lead to a subsequent fear of dogs or even death. Moreover, pet bereavement is generally inevitable when living with a canine companion and should not be trivialized. In terms of dogs, children sometimes take part in caretaking behaviors toward them which include going on walks. They are opportunities for dogs to relieve themselves outside, but also to exercise and socialize. In contrast, a lack of physical activity can lead to the onset of obesity. Dogs may present greater levels of stress when in the presence of children. Finally, the welfare of assistance, therapy, and free-roaming dogs remains underexplored. Overall, the study of the effects, positive as well as negative, on both species still requires further development. We call for more longitudinal studies and hope for cross-cultural research in the future in order to better understand the impact child-dog interactions might have.
... Previous investigations examining intraspecific interactions were carried out in public open spaces where dogs were familiar with the area as well as one another (Carrier et al., 2013;Howse et al., 2018;Řezáč et al., 2011;Westgarth et al., 2010). Howse et al. (2018) found that most dogs interacted only briefly with each other, gradually lost interest over time, and importantly, the number of dogs interacting affected the dynamics of the interaction. ...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: The aim of this study was to explore spontaneous social interactions between dyads of unfamiliar adult dogs. Although intraspecific encounters are frequent events in the life of pet dogs, the factors that might influence encounters, such as sex, dyad composition, reproductive status, age, and state of cohabitation (keeping the dogs singly or in groups), remained unexplored. Methods: In this study, we assigned unfamiliar, non-aggressive dogs to three types of dyads defined by sex and size. We observed their unrestrained, spontaneous behaviors in an unfamiliar dog park, where only the two dogs, the owners, and experimenter were present. Results: We found that the dogs, on average, spent only 17% of the time (less than 1 min) in proximity. Sex, dyad composition, reproductive status, and age influenced different aspects of the interactions in dyads. Female dogs were more likely to initiate the first contact in their dyad but later approached the partner less frequently, were less likely to move apart, and displayed less scent marking. Following and moving apart were more frequent in male-male interactions. Neutered dogs spent more time following the other dog and sniffed other dogs more frequently. The time companion dogs spent in proximity and number of approaches decreased with age. Conclusion: The study provides guidance for dog owners about the outcomes of intraspecific encounters based on the dog's age, sex, and reproductive status, as well as the sex of the interacting partner.
... that did not correspond to the expected (correct) responses (i.e. errors) were removed from the videos by one of the judges (FG, see S2 Text), as in [31,32]. We computed five variables (percentages of dogs that successfully completed the tasks, number of errors, types of errors, types of initiatives, and durations of the memorized and evaluated paths) for each task and for all the dogs taken together. ...
Article
Full-text available
Guide dogs are working dogs that follow the verbal instructions of owners with severe visual impairments, leading them through the environment and toward goals such as a subway entrance ("Find the subway" instruction). During this process, guide dogs incidentally familiarize themselves with their environment. As such, they provide a unique animal model for studying wayfinding abilities in the canine species. In the present descriptive study, 23 skilled guide dogs travelled along a path once and were subsequently tested in a navigation task, with a blindfolded guide dog instructor as the handler. Dogs had difficulty reproducing the path (only 30.43% of the dogs succeeded) and returning (homing) along the previously travelled path (43.47% of the dogs succeeded). However, 80% of them successfully took a shortcut, and 86.95% a detour. This is the first description of the wayfinding abilities of dogs after a single discrete exploration of the path (incidental learning) in systematic experimental conditions. Errors, initiatives and success rates showed that dogs were able to keep track of the goal if the path was short, but errors increased with longer paths, suggesting segmented integration of path characteristics process, as demonstrated in humans. Additionally, errors on homing and detouring, both vital wayfinding tasks, were correlated, suggesting an effect of experience. Initiatives taken by the dogs further suggest flexibility of the spatial representation elaborated. Interestingly, we also found that homing was the only task to benefit from severe visual disability and regular exposure to new journeys, suggesting that these two factors influence the most important wayfinding task. This study therefore highlights qualitative and quantitative wayfinding abilities in the dog species, as well as the factors that account for them, after a single path exploration accompanied by natural ongoing motivation. In the wake of the discovery that dogs are sensitive to the magnetic field, our results provide the basis for developing systematic wayfinding tests for guide dogs.
... The relationships between animals and humans is fraught with contradictions and controversial opinions regarding ethics of care, responsibility and welfare (Dashper, 2014). Despite the domestic dog attracting a larger proportion of scientific attention than any other domestic species (Westgarth et al., 2010), to date, little research has focused on canine sports and related HAI (Pehkonen and Ikonen, 2016). Recently within canine sports, interest has grown focusing on competitive obedience (CO), leading to new guidelines and regulations being released, therefore attracting scientific research (Harris et al., 2017). ...
Article
Competitive obedience (CO) is a canine discipline judged on a dog and handlers ability to undertake obedience exercises at different levels. Currently, there is limited research focusing on competitive obedience. Despite this, regulations regarding heelwork positions have recently been released causing discussion and controversy within the UK CO community. A hyperextended neck position is often apparent during heelwork tests of obedience, yet there is no research stating why this is a common training technique or expectation. This study investigated human preferences for heelwork positions and identified possible reasons for training such positions. Participants (n=251) of an online survey stated their CO experience, whether they trained for a high head position and reasons for training high head positions. Participants were required to rank 12 heelwork positions from 1; most preferred to 12; least preferred, followed by a statement of justification for preference one. Of participants, 70% did not train for high heads and 'focus' was reported the most common theme for training this position. The top three themes for preferences included: natural, good head positioning, and focus. Overall, image ranking was varied and differences in preferences were noted between experience groups. A raised head position was apparent in preference one but was not an extreme position. Study findings demonstrated variation in rankings yet responses mostly mirrored current CO regulations and guidelines; a positive outcome for welfare of CO dogs. Preference results highlighted minimal concerning factors regarding canine health and welfare. These results must be used to further extend CO research; particularly for further creation of an appropriate model for heelwork positioning.
... Consistent with the high level of dog-dog interactions in the first few minutes, dogs on walks (both on-and off-leash) interact more frequently with dogs than with humans (Westgarth et al., 2010) and in a lab setting, have higher levels of contact and interactive behaviours (i.e., play or sniffing) during the initial minutes of their meeting, especially when they are unfamiliar (Pullen et al., 2013). Most of the time with dogs in the early phases of a park visit likely involves initial greetings between dogs, characterized by high levels of snout-muzzle contact upon entry to the park of a new (focal) dog (see Bradshaw and Lea, 1992;Lisberg and Snowdon, 2011). ...
Article
This study examines the activity budgets and social behaviours initiated and received by 69 focal dogs in an off-leash dog park for 400 seconds after entry, a time of high activity about which little is known. Using motivationally-neutral labels for social behaviour categories, we describe the frequency of behaviours, and correlations among them. We then examine these relationships in the context of proposed functions for some behaviours in dogs, in terms of information gathering and communication, including visual and tactile signalling. Time spent with other dogs decreased rapidly over the visit, and much of this early interaction involved greeting the park newcomer. Snout-muzzle contact behaviours were ubiquitous, while other behaviours were rarely observed, including aggressive behaviours. Correlations among certain non-contact behaviours initiated and received by focal dogs are consistent with their function as visual signals that may influence the continuation and form of social interactions, and their possible role in social mimicry (i.e., play bow and pull-rear away). Age, sex, and number of dogs present in the park influenced specific aspects of dogs' activity budgets, and a few behaviours. This ethological study provides fundamental data on dog social behaviour in dog parks, about which surprisingly little has been published.
... Given that off-leash designations may enhance dog-dog interactions, Westgarth et al. suggested there may be elevated risk of transmission of zoonotic agents [61]. While studies have examined the shedding of zoonotic agents in Canadian dog parks, none has explored the transmission risk from dogs to humans; however, dog ownership has been investigated as a risk for zoonotic transmission. ...
Article
Full-text available
Off-leash dog parks may enhance human health, but may also lead to health risk through infection or canine aggression. Published evidence was reviewed to examine positive and negative public health impacts of off-leash dog parks, as well as strategies for enhancing benefits and mitigating risks. Evidence suggests that off-leash dog parks can benefit physical and social health, as well as community connectedness. While studies have documented shedding of zoonotic agents in dog parks, the risk of transmission to humans is relatively unknown. Evidence on the risk of dog bites in off-leash dog parks is also limited. Case-examples from North American off-leash dog parks highlight the importance of park location/design, public adherence to safe and hygienic practices, and effective regulatory strategies for mitigating potential risks and maximizing the benefits of off-leash dog parks.
... The relationships between animals and humans is fraught with contradictions and controversial opinions regarding ethics of care, responsibility and welfare (Dashper, 2014). Despite the domestic dog attracting a larger proportion of scientific attention than any other domestic species (Westgarth et al., 2010), to date, little research has focused on canine sports and related HAI (Pehkonen and Ikonen, 2016). Recently within canine sports, interest has grown focusing on competitive obedience (CO), leading to new guidelines and regulations being released, therefore attracting scientific research (Harris et al., 2017). ...
Article
Dog obedience competition is an understudied area of canine kinematic research. Consequently, little is understood about the potential welfare considerations of competing in such disciplines. This study examined correlations between the dog's head position and judges' scores during an obedience heelwork test. Dartfish was used to analyse head and neck positions of obedience dogs whilst completing a heelwork test in competition. The study found no correlation between judges scores and the apparent head and neck angle of the dogs during heelwork. There was also no correlation between head and neck position of the dogs and the time taken to complete the heelwork test. Study findings demonstrate that more acute hyperextension of the dog's neck during heelwork is not being selected for by judges. Thus, more research is needed to examine where the desire for apparent hyperextension is originating from and indeed the welfare implications of such positions.
... Dogs are highly social animals and the social isolation can be very harmful (Hetts et al., 1992). Unfortunately half of small dogs' owners stated that their own dogs did not need to socialise with other dogs and did not play off the leash, thus reducing the number of interactions between dogs (Westgarth et al., 2010). It is possible that owners of small dogs were worried about the possibility that their dogs could get injured by other dogs. ...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to evaluate if dog’s size affects owners’ behavior and attitude during dog walking. Owners completed a questionnaire on personal information about dogs, and owners’ behavior and attitude towards the intraspecific socialisation of their own dog. Two hundred and forty adult dogs of different breeds, balanced for sex, got involved in this study. Dogs were assigned to one of three groups depending on the size of animal: first group, small dogs = less than 10 kg, second group and medium dogs = between 10 and 20 kg, third group, large dogs = over 20 kg. Chi- square test was used to identify whether owners of dogs belonging to different size groups (small, medium and large) had a different attitude or behavior towards their own dogs. The owners of the three groups of dogs, while walking their own dog, behaved differently when meeting a small unfamiliar dog (p=0.022) or a large unfamiliar dog (p=0.049). In owners’ opinion, small dogs represented the size group who was more fearful of both smaller (p=0.062) and larger dogs (p<0.001). Owners of small dogs were those who less frequently allowed their dogs to play unleashed with other dogs (p=0.002) and more frequently believed that their dogs did not need to socialise with other dogs (p=0.002). In summary, when meeting another dog, dog owners behaved very differently one from the other according to the size of the owned dog. According to these results, behaviorists should emphasize the importance of intraspecific socialisa- tion to people who own or are going to acquire a small dog.
... Some users contend that off-leash dogs are under voice control, but some dogs presented with an opportunity to chase livestock or wildlife will not yield to voice command, even if otherwise well-trained (Nesbitt, 2006;Vaske and Donnelly, 2007). Dogs may also chase or injure other dogs, children and other park users, or wildlife, and must always be kept on leash on public lands unless areas are specifically designated for off-leash recreation (Westgarth et al., 2010). Some livestock managers on public lands have noted park users encouraging their dogs to "herd" animals (East Bay Regional Park District, 2015; Wolf et al. unpublished manuscript). ...
Article
Full-text available
While the primary use of rangelands for over a century has been livestock grazing to produce food and fiber, elevated demand for recreational land has increasingly brought livestock-recreation interactions to the forefront. California’s coastal range is a hotspot for graziers and recreationists alike and is an important region in which to address the challenges and opportunities of concurrent grazing and recreation. Here we review issues related to livestock grazing on publicly owned recreational lands, discuss potential areas of conflict, and highlight promising avenues for fostering positive livestock-recreation interactions. Managers grazing livestock on public lands have adopted a variety of management practices to minimize conflicts and maximize benefits derived from multiple uses of public lands. However, even a few perceived negative recreationist experiences may prompt some public land agencies to remove livestock grazing entirely. California’s grasslands—a large component of public lands—are the most “at-risk” habitat type for development, and increasing economic and social pressures on ranchers who utilize leased public lands make it more likely that ranchers would sell their private lands to developers if access to public grazing land were eliminated, further increasing threats to our already dwindling rangelands. The continued accessibility of public lands for grazing is thus inextricably linked to the protection of private rangelands and the critical resources they provide. Novel approaches to public education and collaborative land management are critical to reducing negative livestock-recreation encounter and ensuring continued conservation of wildlands.
... In our sample, information on duration of dog ownership was not collected. Additionally, information about dog characteristics such as size, type/breed, age, sex, health/ability, weight status, behaviors (sniffing), and behavioral problems (aggressiveness), which impact dog walking behaviors was not collected (Toohey and Rock, 2011;Westgarth et al., 2014;Westgarth et al., 2010). Further, this study was not able to consider how physical environments may affect dog walking behaviors for older adult dog owners (Toohey and Rock, 2011;Westgarth et al., 2014). ...
Article
Positive associations between dog ownership and physical activity in older adults have been previously reported. The objective of this study was to examine cross-sectional associations between dog ownership and physical activity measures in a well-characterized, diverse sample of postmenopausal women. Analyses included 36,984 dog owners (mean age: 61.5years), and 115,645 non-dog owners (mean age: 63.9years) enrolled in a clinical trial or the observational study of the Women's Health Initiative between 1993 and 1998. Logistic regression models were used to test for associations between dog ownership and physical activity, adjusted for potential confounders. Owning a dog was associated with a higher likelihood of walking ≥150min/wk (Odds Ratio, 1.14; 95% Confidence Interval, 1.10-1.17) and a lower likelihood of being sedentary ≥8h/day (Odds Ratio, 0.86; 95% Confidence Interval, 0.83-0.89) as compared to not owning a dog. However, dog owners were less likely to meet ≥7.5MET-h/wk of total physical activity as compared to non-dog owners (Odds Ratio, 1.03; 95% Confidence Interval, 1.00-1.07). Dog ownership is associated with increased physical activity in older women, particularly among women living alone. Health promotion efforts aimed at older adults should highlight the benefits of regular dog walking for both dog owners and non-dog owners. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
... Urban parks are a common destination for owners and their dogs [1]. Parks encourage a broad scope of healthy physical activity, including dog-walking [2], and are areas of socialization for dogs and their owners [3,4]. However, urban parks are also often confined areas where wildlife, dogs, and humans are sympatric, introducing the potential for disease transmission among domestic and wild animals. ...
Article
Full-text available
In urban parks, dogs, wildlife and humans can be sympatric, introducing the potential for inter- and intra-specific transmission of pathogens among hosts. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of zoonotic and non-zoonotic gastrointestinal parasites in dogs in Calgary city parks, and assess if dog-walking behaviour, park management, history of veterinary care, and dog demographics were associated with parasitism in dogs From June to September 2010, 645 questionnaires were administered to dog owners in nine city parks to determine behavioural and demographic factors, and corresponding feces from 355 dogs were collected. Dog feces were analyzed for helminth and some protozoan species using a modified sugar flotation technique and microscopic examination, a subsample was analyzed for Giardia spp. and Cryptosporidium spp. using a direct immunofluorescence assay. Descriptive and multivariate statistics were conducted to determine associations among behaviours, demographics, and parasite prevalence and infection intensities Parasite prevalence was 50.2%. Giardia spp. (24.7%), Cryptosporidium spp. (14.7%), and Cystoisospora spp. (16.8%) were the most prevalent parasites. Helminth prevalence was low (4.1%). Presence of Giardia spp. was more likely in intact and young dogs; and infection with any parasite and Giardia spp. intensity were both positively associated with dogs visiting multiple parks coupled with a high frequency of park use and off-leash activity, and with being intact and young. Cryptosporidium spp. intensity was associated with being intact and young, and having visited the veterinarian within the previous year Our results indicate a higher overall prevalence of protozoa in dogs than previously found in Calgary. The zoonotic potential of some parasites found in park-attending dogs may be of interest for public health. These results are relevant for informing park managers, the public health sector, and veterinarians.
... The dog walking experience also depends on whether the dog is on or off-leash. Most dogs stay fairly close to their owners [35,54] and a large proportion of the walk is spent sniffing, especially when off leash or if the dog is a 'gundog' type [86]. Further research is required to better understand the dog walking experience: its intended purpose (for recreation or transport or just a chore that has to be done); the intensity (light, moderate or vigorous) and pattern (long bouts or numerous short bouts) of the physical activity undertaken with a dog; and how this is affected by factors such as how the dog behaves; which in turn is affected by dog breed, whether the dog is on or off leash as well as the environment the dog is being walked in. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour are major threats to population health. A considerable proportion of people own dogs, and there is good evidence that dog ownership is associated with higher levels of physical activity. However not all owners walk their dogs regularly. This paper comprehensively reviews the evidence for correlates of dog walking so that effective interventions may be designed to increase the physical activity of dog owners. Methods Published findings from 1990–2012 in both the human and veterinary literature were collated and reviewed for evidence of factors associated with objective and self-reported measures of dog walking behaviour, or reported perceptions about dog walking. Study designs included cross-sectional observational, trials and qualitative interviews. Results There is good evidence that the strength of the dog-owner relationship, through a sense of obligation to walk the dog, and the perceived support and motivation a dog provides for walking, is strongly associated with increased walking. The perceived exercise requirements of the dog may also be a modifiable point for intervention. In addition, access to suitable walking areas with dog supportive features that fulfil dog needs such as off-leash exercise, and that also encourage human social interaction, may be incentivising. Conclusion Current evidence suggests that dog walking may be most effectively encouraged through targeting the dog-owner relationship and by providing dog-supportive physical environments. More research is required to investigate the influence of individual owner and dog factors on ‘intention’ to walk the dog as well as the influence of human social interaction whilst walking a dog. The effects of policy and cultural practices relating to dog ownership and walking should also be investigated. Future studies must be of a higher quality methodological design, including accounting for the effects of confounding between variables, and longitudinal designs and testing of interventions in a controlled design in order to infer causality.
... The spread of a normative expectation and legal requirement to supervise and leash dogs whenever in public has meant that free-roaming dogs are no longer allowed by law or tolerated in practice throughout much of the world, even in places where canine RbV is absent or unlikely (Borthwick, 2009; Rock, 2013). We view bylaws on dog-leashing as an example of institutionalising both humanist and more-than-human solidarity, beginning with RbV control and continuing through to the present day in relation to infectious as well as non-infectious diseases (Christian et al., 2013; Toohey and Rock, 2011; Westgarth et al., 2010). Even so, this kind of policy intervention still appears to serve privileged communities to a greater extent than disadvantaged ones (Toohey and Rock, 2011), and exemptions to leashing laws in select parks can also reinforce positions of privilege (Tissot, 2011). ...
Article
This article contributes to the literature on One Health and public health ethics by expanding the principle of solidarity. We conceptualize solidarity to encompass not only practices intended to assist other people, but also practices intended to assist non-human others, including animals, plants, or places. To illustrate how manifestations of humanist and more-than-human solidarity may selectively complement one another, or collide,recent responses to Hendra virus in Australia and Rabies virus in Canada serve as case examples. Given that caring relationships are foundational to health promotion, people’s efforts to care for non-human others are highly relevant to public health, even when these efforts conflict with edicts issued in the name of public health. In its most optimistic explication,One Health aims to attain optimal health for humans, non-human animals and their shared environments. As a field, public health ethics needs to move beyond an exclusive preoccupation with humans, so as to account for moral complexity arising from people’s diverse connections with places, plants, and non-human animals.
... Whereas policies forbidding unattended dogs in urban areas date back to the 1800s in Western countries (Atkins 2012, Grier 2006, policies requiring dogs to be leashed whenever off the owner's property have become commonplace since the 1970s (Borthwick 2009, Walsh 2011. Leashing can help to ensure the safety of these dogs, and may also help to safeguard other nonhuman animals in the vicinity as well as people from threatening behavior and infectious diseases (Westgarth et al. 2010). And when it comes to physical health and emotional well-being for people, leashing and the expectation of constant supervision are highly relevant to dog-walking and to sharing public spaces where other people's dogs are present (Christian et al. 2013, Cutt et al. 2007, Toohey and Rock 2011. ...
Article
Full-text available
Drawing on the One Health concept, and integrating a dual focus on public policy and practices of caring from the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, we outline a conceptual framework to help guide the development and assessment of local governments' policies on pets. This framework emphasizes well-being in human populations, while recognizing that these outcomes relate to the well-being of non-human animals. Five intersecting spheres of activity, each associated with local governments' jurisdiction over pets, are presented: (i) preventing threats and nuisances from pets, (ii) meeting pets' emotional and physical needs, (iii) procuring pets ethically, (iv) providing pets with veterinary services and (v) licensing and identifying pets. This conceptual framework acknowledges the tenets of previous health promotion frameworks, including overlapping and intersecting influences. At the same time, this framework proposes to advance our understanding of health promotion and, more broadly, population health by underscoring interdependence between people and pets as well as the dynamism of urbanized ecologies.
... Participants in the same study also noted that such environments provide social opportunities to meet others and converse themselves (Edwards & Knight, 2006). For example, dog walkers often only know each other by their dog (e.g., she's Max's owner or he's Bella's owner), and this illustrates the reciprocal relationship between the social interaction of dogs and dog walkers (Westgarth et al., 2010). ...
... Bradshaw and Lea (1992) characterized the sequences of behavior that occur during interactions between dogs in popular walking areas, but did not evaluate the frequency of the interactions, because their sample of dogs was too small. Westgarth et al. (2010) focused on the use of a leash as a modifier of interactions between dogs and found that if either dog was on the leash, then the likelihood of interaction with another dog was reduced. ...
Article
Little is known about factors influencing dyadic interactions between dogs in public places. This paper reports on the effect of dog age, gender and size, human gender and the use of a leash on the occurrence of body sniffing, scent-marking, playing games, showing a threat and biting in canine dyads on walks with their owners. Observations of 1870 interacting dogs were made in public places where owners frequently walked their dogs. Dogs off a leash sniffed one another more often than dogs on a leash (P
... Aside from creating opportunities for socialization, these contact structures would increase the spread of infectious diseases through canine populations, and, if the disease was zoonotic, potentially also through human populations-a finding supported by an earlier UK-based study (Westgarth et al., 2009). Observed differences between 'on-leash' and 'off-leash' behaviour (sniffing, aggression and play), the common practice of allowing dogs off-leash in city parks and a dog's capacity to come into increased contact with other dogs and people while offleash can only add to the complexity of these interactions (Westgarth et al., 2010). Several interview participants also spoke about the convenience and amenity of different dog-walking sites and how they tried to select a physical environment suited to their dogs' interests and physical capacities. ...
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Research into physical activity and human health has recently begun to attend to dog-walking. This study extends the literature on dog-walking as a health behaviour by conceptualizing dog-walking as a caring practice. It centres on qualitative interviews with 11 Canadian dog-owners. All participants resided in urban neighbourhoods identified through previous quantitative research as conducive to dog-walking. Canine characteristics, including breed and age, were found to influence people's physical activity. The health of the dog and its position in the life-course influenced patterns of dog-walking. Frequency, duration and spatial patterns of dog-walking all depended on relationships and people's capacity to tap into resources. In foregrounding networks of care, inclusive of pets and public spaces, a relational conceptualization of dog-walking as a practice of caring helps to make sense of heterogeneity in patterns of physical activity among dog-owners. © 2013 © The Author (2012). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: [email protected] /* */
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Personal wellbeing is greatly influenced by our childhood and adolescence, and the relationships formed during those phases of our development. The human-dog bond represents a significant relationship that started thousands of years ago. There is a higher prevalence of dog ownership around the world, especially in households including children. This has resulted in a growing number of researchers studying our interactions with dogs and an expanding evidence base from the exploration of child-dog interactions. We review the potential effects of child-dog interactions on the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of both species. A search of the SCOPUS database identified documents published between January 1980 and April 2022. Filtering for key inclusion criteria, duplicate removals, and inspecting the references of these documents for additional sources, we reviewed a total of 393 documents, 88% of which were scientific articles. We were able to define the numerous ways in which children and dogs interact, be it neutral ( e.g ., sharing a common area), positive ( e.g ., petting), or negative ( e.g ., biting). Then, we found evidence for an association between childhood interaction with dogs and an array of benefits such as increased physical activities, a reduction of stress, and the development of empathy. Nonetheless, several detrimental outcomes have also been identified for both humans and dogs. Children are the most at-risk population regarding dog bites and dog-borne zoonoses, which may lead to injuries/illness, a subsequent fear of dogs, or even death. Moreover, pet bereavement is generally inevitable when living with a canine companion and should not be trivialized. With a canine focus, children sometimes take part in caretaking behaviors toward them, such as feeding or going for walks. These represent opportunities for dogs to relieve themselves outside, but also to exercise and socialize. By contrast, a lack of physical activity can lead to the onset of obesity in both dogs and children. Dogs may present greater levels of stress when in the presence of children. Finally, the welfare of assistance, therapy, and free-roaming dogs who may interact with children remains underexplored. Overall, it appears that the benefits of child-dog interactions outweigh the risks for children but not for dogs; determination of the effects on both species, positive as well as negative, still requires further development. We call for longitudinal studies and cross-cultural research in the future to better understand the impact of child-dog interactions. Our review is important for people in and outside of the scientific community, to pediatricians, veterinarians, and current or future dog owners seeking to extend their knowledge, and to inform future research of scientists studying dogs and human-animal interactions.
Article
Objectives (1) To explore the relationship between regionally implemented dog control strategies and dog bite injuries (DBIs) and (2) to evaluate current implementation of dog control strategies. Methods Observational study using a nationwide online survey of territorial authorities (TAs). Domains of interest included complaints for attacks on people, dog population, primary and secondary prevention strategies, resourcing and perspectives of current strategies. Quantitative variables were compared with DBI Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) claims by region from 2014 to 2018. Results Two-thirds of TAs (70%; n=47/67) responded to the survey. No clear relationship was observed between DBIs and: registered dog population, proportion sterilisations or microchipping, classifications due to dog behaviour, or existing limited resourcing. Legislated breeds and infringements for failure to control a dog or non-registration were higher in areas with greater DBIs. Educational messages varied widely and were predominantly victim directed (67%; n=71/106). Complaints for dog attacks on people were lower than DBIs in most areas, with no formal cross-agency notification policies. Few prosecutions or dog destruction orders were made. Conclusions Regional inequity in DBIs could not be explained by differences in the registered dog population or dog control strategies. Minimal and inequitable resourcing exists to implement current dog control strategies and provide owner-directed education. Gaps in legislation include environmental barrier requirements for all dogs (leash/muzzle use, adequate fencing), notification of incidents and child protection. Partnership with the Indigenous community (Māori) and other community groups will be required to implement these measures successfully.
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Dog walking can disturb shorebirds. To inform disturbance reduction campaigns, we conducted a survey of dog walkers in Maine, New York, and South Carolina to understand beach recreationists’ attitudes about the benefits and constraints of voluntarily leashing dogs on beaches and their social and personal norms related to leashing. Common perceived constraints to leashing included perceptions about reducing socialization for dogs, reducing exercise for dogs, and dogs listening to owners’ commands. Common perceived benefits to leashing included perceptions about preventing dogs from running into areas for beach-nesting birds, increased safety for dogs, increased control by dog walkers, and keeping dogs away from other people. Benefits, location (i.e., state), and norms were strong predictors of the leashing frequency near beach-nesting birds. We discuss behavior change strategies to leverage social norms, decrease the constraints, and increase the benefits of voluntarily leashing dogs near shorebirds.
Chapter
Our relationship with dogs runs thousands of years deep. Today, we might know dogs intimately as members of our human family, but we can also know and consider dogs on their own terms, as members of Canis familiaris , with a unique evolutionary history and species‐specific characteristics and needs. This chapter is a resource for all types of dog knowers and caretakers. It relies heavily on empirical research to anchor readers in the foundations of canine behavior—such as dog behavioral development, normal dog behavior, factors influencing behavior, and relationships with people—and considers how these topics affect dogs of all ages and backgrounds who find themselves in the shelter environment.
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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. Most well‐socialised dogs are strongly motivated to establish contact and interact with other dogs, for example on a walk. Human contact has beneficial effects for many dogs. Importantly, a dog's need for, and reaction to, human company is affected by its temperament and early experiences. Rabies is an important disease internationally, affecting millions of dogs yearly, and extrapolating from human experiences, may cause respiratory distress and pain prior to death. The behavioural responses of an individual dog are influenced by its breed, type, rearing, and current environment. Dogs' responses to rewards and training may also indicate their mood or overall welfare.
Chapter
This chapter begins with the evolutionary history of dogs. A debate rages about how long ago, and where, a distinct species of dog appeared, given conflicting evidence from archeological sites and genetic analyses. When interacting with dogs, people need to be aware of dog visual, acoustic, and olfactory communication. Olfaction plays an important role in intra- and inter-specific social encounters. The chapter discusses the various patterns of dog communication that are particularly relevant for shelter and foster-care settings. It also presents some of the factors that can affect dog in-shelter behavior. Dogs tend to be on leash (or in kennels) when seeing other dogs, and interaction might be thwarted due to shelter regulations. Because of the importance of inter- and intra-specific interactions and exposure to stimuli and social experiences, shelters with puppies under their care should prioritize early-life socialization or find appropriate housing outside the shelter.
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This paper draws on a study of companion animals in human households and public spaces, deploying material gained by ethnographic observation and interviews with dog walkers in urban and rural contexts. The communities which are the subject of this study frequent public places that might be described as "Edgeland" space where dogs and "dog people" meet. It is argued the relationships between cross-species packs of people and dogs that develop over time in the routine practice of walking are micro-communities inclusive of both dogs and their human companions. These might be understood as posthuman social forms with particular characteristics of inclusivity, diversity, and reconstitution. Human members of such communities are also invested in, and defensive of, Edgeland spaces and engaged in practices of care for both human and canine walkers.
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Background: Dog walking is a strategy for increasing population levels of physical activity (PA). Numerous cross-sectional studies of the relationship between dog ownership and PA have been conducted. The purpose was to review studies comparing PA of dog owners (DO) to nondog owners (NDO), summarize the prevalence of dog walking, and provide recommendations for research. Methods: A review of published studies (1990-2010) examining DO and NDO PA and the prevalence of dog walking was conducted (N = 29). Studies estimating the relationship between dog ownership and PA were grouped to create a point- estimate using meta-analysis. Results: Most studies were conducted in the last 5 years, were cross-sectional, and sampled adults from Australia or the United States. Approximately 60% of DO walked their dog, with a median duration and frequency of 160 minutes/week and 4 walks/week, respectively. Meta-analysis showed DO engage in more walking and PA than NDO and the effect sizes are small to moderate (d = 0.26 and d = 0.16, respectively). Three studies provided evidence of a directional relationship between dog ownership and walking. Conclusions: Longitudinal and interventional studies would provide stronger causal evidence for the relationship between dog ownership and PA. Improved knowledge of factors associated with dog walking will guide intervention research.
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Why do dogs behave in the ways that they do? Why did our ancestors tame wolves? How have we ended up with so many breeds of dog, and how can we understand their role in contemporary human society? Explore the answers to these questions and many more in this study of the domestic dog. Building on the strengths of the first edition, this much-anticipated update incorporates two decades of new evidence and discoveries on dog evolution, behavior, training, and human interaction. It includes seven entirely new chapters covering topics such as behavioral modification and training, dog population management, the molecular evidence for dog domestication, canine behavioral genetics, cognition, and the impact of free-roaming dogs on wildlife conservation. It is an ideal volume for anyone interested in dogs and their evolution, behavior and ever-changing roles in society. The ultimate book about the domestic dog, ideal for anyone interested in their evolution, behavior and ever-changing roles in society A new edition of a classic text, presenting the latest research on dog behavior, training, domestication, genetics and cognition Includes seven entirely new chapters by leading experts in the field, incorporating two decades of new evidence and discoveries.
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From September 1995 to April 1996 we studied interactions among dogs, people, and the environment in Boulder, Colorado. Data on behavioral disturbances by off-leash dogs who were accompanied by a person were collected with respect to dog-dog and dog-human interactions, dog-wildlife encounters, dogs trampling vegetation, and dogs entering and disturbing bodies of water. A questionnaire also was administered. Behavioral data showed that off-leash dogs generally did not travel far off trail, that when they did it was for short periods of time, and that they rarely were observed to chase other dogs, disturb people, chase wildlife, destroy vegetation, or enter bodies of water. Results from analyses of the questionnaire (skewed toward non-dog owners) showed that dog owners and non-dog owners agreed that people were more disruptive to the environment than dogs and that unruly people were more problematic than unruly dogs. We conclude that the well-being and interests of dogs should not summarily and dismissively be compromised when dogs and people attempt to share limited space that can be used by all parties for recreational purposes. Indeed, a higher percentage of people reported that the quality of dogs' experience of the outdoors would be compromised more than their own enjoyment if dogs could not walk off-leash in areas where this is currently permitted. The methods used and the results from this case study can serve as a model for other locations in which dogs and people compete for limited spatial resources.
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In this study 10 free-roaming domestic dogs from an Aboriginal community were radio-collared to determine the sizes of their home ranges and to observe their wandering behaviour. Half of the radio-tagged dogs went on wandering forays, while the other five roamed only within the vicinity of the community. Home-range size was highly variable within the study group: the mean for the wandering dogs was 927 ha whereas that of the sedentary dogs was 2.6 ha. Dogs travelled 8–30 km on forays. All forays were initiated at night and those that were recorded had an average duration of 26 h. Foray destinations were usually riparian habitats where macropod quarry were abundant.
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Since the emergence of Canine parvovirus (CPV-2) in the late 1970s, CPV-2 has evolved consecutively new antigenic types, CPV-2a and 2b. Although CPV-2 did not have a feline host range, CPV-2a and 2b appear to have gained the ability to replicate in cats. Recent investigations demonstrate the prevalence of CPV-2a and 2b infection in a wide range of cat populations. We illustrate the pathogenic potential of CPV in cats and assess the risk caused by CPV variants.
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Rectal swabs from healthy cats and dogs, and from dogs and cats with clinical diarrhoea were collected approximately every third month from May 2000 to June 2001 from six small-animal practices throughout Norway. A questionnaire was filled in for each animal. Of the 301 healthy cats sampled, 54 (18%) were positive for Campylobacter, compared to 5 out of 31 (16%) cats with diarrhoea. Campylobacter jejuni was isolated from 11 (3%), C. upsaliensis from 42 (13%) and C. coli from 2 (0.6%) of the cats sampled. Isolates from four cats (1%) could not be specified. Of the 529 healthy dogs, 124 (23%) were positive for Campylobacter, compared to 18 of 66 (27%) dogs with diarrhoea. C. jejuni was isolated from 20 (3%) and C. upsaliensis from 117 (20%) of the dogs sampled. Isolates from five dogs (0.8%) could not be specified. Eighteen out of the 20 investigated C. upsaliensis samples were resistant to streptomycin. The clinically healthy animals were included in the analysis to identify factors associated with Campylobacter prevalence. The cat model had low classification ability. The dog-data model indicated increased odds of infection with Campylobacter for dogs </=1 year, and in dogs sampled during the spring. No difference was observed between the prevalence of Campylobacter infections in cats and dogs with diarrhoea and healthy animals.
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Dogs are popular pets in many countries. Identifying differences between those who own dogs or have contact with dogs, and those who do not, is useful to those interested in the human-animal bond, human health and for provision of veterinary services. This census-based, epidemiological study aimed to investigate factors associated with dog ownership and contact with dogs, in a semi-rural community of 1278 households in Cheshire, UK. Twenty-four percent of households were identified as dog-owning and 52% owned a pet of some type. Multivariable logistic regression suggested that households were more likely to own a dog if they had more occupants (five or more); if they had an adult female household member; or if they owned a horse. The age structure of the households was also associated with dog ownership, with households containing older children (between six and 19 years of age) and young adults (between 20 and 29 years of age), more likely to own dogs. We also found that dog owning households were more likely to be multi-dog households than single-dog if they also owned a cat or a bird, or if the household contained a person of 20-29 years old. Dog owners reported increased contact with dogs, other than their own, compared to those that did not own dogs and this contact appeared to be mainly through walking. Some household types are more likely to own a dog than others. This study supports the suggestion that dogs are more common in families who have older children (6-19 years), as has been generally observed in other countries. Dog owners are also more likely to have contact with dogs other than their own, compared with those not owning a dog.
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This study explored what factors influence owners' reactions to their dogs'fouling in a bid to identify the demographic profile of the “typical” dog fouler. The behavior of 400 dog walkers was observed in eight public parks in Northern Ireland. Information was collected on the walkers' gender, age, socioeconomic status, use of leash, and reaction to their dogs' fouling. A weak majority (53.5%) of owners cleaned up their dogs'feces. All of the independent variables, except age, influenced owners' reactions to their pets' fouling. Fewer males (35.3%), those with a lower income (18.2%), and owners who allowed their dogs off the leash (26.2%) cleaned up their dogs'feces than females (58.2%), those with higher earnings (68.7%), and those who kept their pets on a leash (72.6%). Findings have implications for the design of antifouling campaigns, highlighting what sectors of the population need to be targeted by educational programs.
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The components of behavioral interactions between pairs of dogs were observed during exercise periods in public open spaces. Most of the interactions were nonaggressive and ended without interference from either of the owners. Even in the 13% of interactions that were ended by owners, there was little evidence to suggest that either dog's behavior had triggered the intervention. The dog that started the interaction was most likely to finish it, particularly when there was a size difference between the two dogs. The majority of the behavioral components observed during such interactions could be categorized into a small number of fixed action patterns in predictable sequences. This suggests that domestic dogs, despite selective breeding, have retained inherited social behavior patterns. After an initial approach phase, the majority of the interactions appeared to consist of olfactory inspections, particularly of the head and anal regions. Female dogs concentrated on the head area, and male dogs the anal area, irrespective of the sex of the other dog. The evident mutual tolerance of the dogs in this study probably reflects human, rather than canine, behavior; owners with highly aggressive or submissive dogs are unlikely to exercise them where they will encounter other dogs. However, the generally low level of aggression and the sequence of the olfactory inspections suggest that behavior patterns characteristic of subordinate wild can ids, have become fixed in many breeds of domestic dogs.
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This pilot study focused on observational data from in-home interviews of elderly female pet owners. Owner-pet interaction and the behavior of the pets toward the owners and interviewers were recorded. The sample consists of 46 women who owned either cats or dogs and whose pets were present during the interview. The results reflect the expected differences in observed dog and cat behavior, with dogs making more noise, receiving more orders, and exhibiting more coordinated behavior with their owners than did cats. Owners' self-reported attitudes toward their dogs (N=31) were correlated with the observed interactions of the pets for playing with, hugging/petting, picking up, feeding, telling stories about, and showing pictures of the pet. The behavior of dogs ignoring owners was also correlated with owner attitudes toward the pets. Most interestingly, owner attitudes were highly correlated with pets' friendly behavior toward the interviewer.
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This study combines observational, attitudinal, and self-report measures, and compares a group of irresponsible dog owners who allow their dogs to foul with a control group of responsible owners who clean up after their dogs. The owners are compared on a variety of attitudinal and personal orientation measures. We observed 101 instances of dog fouling in both park and pavement, and 87 respondents subsequently returned questionnaires. The majority (59%) of people observed cleaned up after their dogs. The irresponsible owners were significantly more tolerant of fouling (dog feces were seen as natural waste and biodegradable) and were more likely to agree that the laws were illegitimate and restrictive.
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Samples of faeces were taken from 183 healthy pet dogs in a census-based, cross-sectional study in Cheshire; culture methods were used to detect any Campylobacter species and a direct PCR was used to detect Campylobacter upsaliensis. Forty-six of the dogs were positive for C upsaliensis by either culture or direct PCR, giving a prevalence of 25.1 per cent (95 per cent confidence interval [CI] 19.0 to 32.1 per cent). One sample was positive by culture for Campylobacter jejuni (95 per cent CI 0.0 to 3.0 per cent) and one for Campylobacter lari. Multivariable logistic regression identified risk factors for the carriage of C upsaliensis by a dog as: living with another dog that also carried C upsaliensis; being small rather than medium-sized; being less than three years old; living in a household that kept fish; being fed commercial dog treats; and being fed human food titbits, particularly in the dog's bowl.
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This study uses social network analysis to investigate potential contact among 214 dog-owning households in a UK community through their utilization of public space during walking. We identified a high level of potential contact between dog-owning households; most households walked their dogs in only a few areas but a small number visited many. Highly connected households were more likely to have multiple dogs, walk their dogs off lead, and own Working, Pastoral or some Terrier types. Similarly, most areas were only visited by a few households but a few were visited by many. Despite identification of subgroups of households and locations, we demonstrated high connectivity between dog-owning households, with minimum path lengths of two 'steps' (household-area-household, 74%) or four 'steps' (via two areas, 26%).
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Canine coronavirus (CCV) is a common faecal agent which is difficult to isolate. This study shows CCV to survive well at temperatures below -20 degrees C but not at temperatures above 4 degrees C. The presence of faecal material markedly reduced CCV survival times at temperatures ranging from 20 degrees C to -70 degrees C. Thus, it is suggested that diagnostic faecal material should be diluted 1:10 (w/v) with growth medium and examined at the earliest opportunity.
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The national health authorities of Sri Lanka have adopted a combined strategy of rabies vaccination and stray dog removal to control endemic dog rabies. Despite the control efforts, an increase of animal and human rabies cases has occurred since 1994. As a consequence, a project to evaluate the national rabies control program has been started and a study focussing on the dog population and rabies control activities in a limited area of Mirigama was conducted. Information on canine abundance and the accessibility of dogs for rabies vaccination was obtained by a household survey, vaccination of dogs against rabies at several vaccination points, collar-marking, and transect line recapture. The number of unvaccinated dogs was estimated by using Bayesian methodology. The estimated number of dogs per square kilometre was 87 (95% credibility interval: 80, 93) for owned dogs and 108 (100, 116) for owned and ownerless dogs. Coverage after the immunisation campaign was 57.6% (53.3, 61.9%) if vaccination at the vaccination points was considered and 66% (60.4, 72.0%) if recently provided vaccination by private veterinarians was also taken into account. The proportion of households with at least one dog vaccinated varied between 59.1 and 94.2% within the catchment area of the different vaccination points. Unvaccinated dogs were puppies (12%), ownerless dogs (57%), and owned dogs, which were not presented for vaccination (31%). In order to improve the rabies immunisation coverage among dogs and to achieve complete elimination of rabies it was recommended that the 95% catchment area of each vaccination point be assessed, the distribution of vaccination points in the vaccination area be redefined if necessary, a system for the vaccination of dogs missing the vaccination campaign for dog owner-specific reasons be established, and an inexpensive marking system be used for vaccinated dogs.
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A study of 150 dog-owning households from six randomly selected sublocations was conducted in Machakos District, Kenya. Initially, all households were visited to collect information on dog ecology and demography based on WHO guidelines and to collect serum for rabies antibody detection. A second visit was made 1 year later, to obtain follow-up data on births, deaths, dog movements and other events since the first visit. Dog ownership was common, with a range of 53--81% (mean=63%) of households owning dogs in the six sublocations. Dog density for the five more rural sublocations ranged from 6 to 21 dogs km(-2) and for the peri-urban sublocation was 110 dogs km(-2). The dog population was estimated to be growing at 9% p.a. (95% C.I. 4--14%). This growth was a function of very high fecundity (1.3 females per female per year) more than compensating for high mortality, particularly among females. Life expectancy from birth was 3.5 years for males and 2.4 years for females. Half the dogs at any one time were less than 1 year of age. All dogs, by design of the study, were owned. Of these, 69% were never restricted and roamed freely to forage for food and mix with other dogs. Only a small proportion of dogs (5%) were fed commercial dog food. Most households reported observing dogs scavenging their garbage, including: their own dogs (81%), their neighbours' dogs (75%) and unknown dogs (45%). Only 29% of dogs at least 3 months of age were reported to be vaccinated against rabies. The proportion vaccinated varied widely between sublocations (5--68%); 48% of dogs reportedly vaccinated had detectable antibodies, 31% at or above levels considered to indicate seroconversion. The proportion of dogs with detectable antibodies declined according to the time since last vaccination (55% if vaccinated < or = 1 year, 47% < or = 2 years and 36% > 2 years); 20% of dogs reported not to have been vaccinated had detectable rabies antibody. Compared to other dog populations in rural eastern and southern Africa, Machakos District has a high density of dogs. The Machakos dog population is growing, highly dynamic, poorly supervised and inadequately vaccinated against rabies. The main implication for rabies control is that adequate vaccination coverage is unlikely to be achieved, even under optimal delivery, using the current strategy of annual vaccination of dogs older than 3 months.
Article
Cognitively characterized young and aged beagle dogs were administered six different spontaneous behavior tests, which provided measures of locomotion, exploration, and social interaction. Consistent with our previous findings, we obtained no overall effect of age on locomotion. We did find, however, that for the aged dogs locomotion correlated with level of cognitive function, being lowest in age-unimpaired dogs and highest in impaired dogs. Exploratory behavior, as measured by response to novelty, varied with age, with young dogs scoring the highest. Young dogs spent more time with novel toys and a person, responded more to a silhouette of a dog, and interacted more with a model dog compared to aged dogs. Among the aged dogs, age-unimpaired dogs spent the greatest amount of time sitting or standing beside a person whereas age-impaired dogs spent the most time reacting to a reflection in a mirror. The age-impaired dogs show undirected, stereotypical types of behavioral patterns. These differences in activity patterns may be linked to underlying age-associated neuropathology.
Article
A 1-year cross-sectional study was carried out to determine the prevalence, risk factors for carriage, and genetic diversity of Campylobacter spp. in healthy dogs and cats in Switzerland. Veterinary practitioners collected samples from 1268 animals (all ages) presented for vaccination. The prevalence of Campylobacter spp. in 634 dogs and 596 cats that were eligible for the study was 41.2% (confidence interval 95%: 37.3-45.1%) and 41.9% (CI 95%: 37.9-46%), respectively. Risk factors identified for carriage of Campylobacter jejuni were found to be different from risk factors for C. upsaliensis/C. helveticus. Young animals (< or =3 years) had significantly higher odds of carrying C. upsaliensis/C. helveticus than older animals (OR 1.8-3.3), whereas for C. jejuni carriage, the age was not a risk factor. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) genotyping revealed heterogeneity among C. jejuni strains and was found to clearly separate C. helveticus from C. upsaliensis. It was shown that cats more often carry C. helveticus with an estimated prevalence of 28.2%, whereas dogs mainly are carrying C. upsaliensis.
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Campylobacter spp. continue to be the greatest cause of bacterial gastrointestinal infections in humans worldwide. They encounter many stresses in the host intestinal tract, on foods and in the environment. However, in common with other enteric bacteria, they have developed survival mechanisms to overcome these stresses. Many of the survival mechanisms used by Campylobacter spp. differ from those used by other bacteria, such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. This review summarizes the mechanisms by which Campylobacter spp. adapt to stress conditions and thereby increase their ability to survive on food and in the environment.
Article
This study investigated the nature and frequency of the contacts that occur between dogs, and between dogs and people, by means of a questionnaire survey of 260 dog-owning households in a community in Cheshire, uk. The contacts were highly variable and were affected by the size, sex and age of the dog, individual dog behaviours, human behaviours and human preferences in the management of the dog. A number of situations were identified that may be important in relation to zoonoses, including sleeping areas, playing behaviours, greeting behaviours, food sources, walking, disposal of faeces, veterinary preventive treatment and general hygiene.
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