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Is the dog-human relationship an attachment bond? An observational study using Ainsworth's Strange Situation

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Abstract

Ainsworth's 'strange situation' procedure was used to investigate the dog (Canis familiaris) – human relationship. 38 adult dog-owner pairs were observed in an unfamiliar room, intro-duced to a human stranger and subjected to four short episodes of separation. The procedure and behavioural analyses were as similar as possible to those used in studying human infants, except for the inclusion of an extra separation period in which the dogs were left alone in the room with articles of clothing belonging to the owner and stranger. A secure base effect was suggested by the fact that the dogs accepted to play with the stranger more in the pres-ence of their owner than during his or her absence. They also explored more in the presence of their owner, but this appeared to be due to diminishing curiosity over time rather than a secure base effect. The dogs also exhibited a range of attachment behaviours, i.e. search and proximity seeking behaviours when separated from their owner, including following, scratch-ing and jumping up on the door, remaining oriented to the door or the owner's empty chair and vocalising. They also greeted their owner more enthusiastically and for longer durations compared to the stranger. Finally, they contacted the owner's clothing more often and for 3) Corresponding authors address: Prof. 4) This research was supported by funds from Università di Milano to Emanuela Prato-Previde. We are grateful to Marcello Cesa-Bianchi and Marco Poli for allowing us to carry out the work in the Psychology Institute of Università di Milano. We thank Barbara Rotta for her invaluable help in data collection and scoring, Clara Palestrini for helping in running the experiment, Marco Colombetti for reading and commenting on the preliminary draft of the paper. Finally, a special thank to Tipota, a female mongrel, for being our rst pilot subject and to all the owners and dogs that participated as volunteers.

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... Multiple studies have demonstrated that humans can develop positive feelings and behaviors towards their dogs, creating a bond that has been compared to the one formed in human-infant relationships (Nagasawa et al., 2009b;Schneider et al., 2010;Udell and Brubaker, 2016). For example, at the behavioral level, humans tend to address and handle dogs and children in a similar way (Mitchell, 2001;Prato-Previde et al., 2003) and it has been shown that the limbic network (including the amygdala), which is thought to be involved in the activation of human attachment-related functions, is active when human mothers view images of their child and their dog (Stoeckel et al., 2014). ...
... These behaviors are particularly displayed towards the dog's owner. For example, several studies found that, compared to strangers, dogs were more distressed when separated from their owner, and greeted and spent more time in contact with them [i.e., displaying more behaviors such as approaching, tail wagging, jumping and physical contact; Topál et al., 1998;Prato-Previde et al., 2003;Palmer and Custance, 2008; see (Payne et al., 2015) for a review]. This suggests that individual human-dog bonds differ depending on the dyad (Cimarelli et al., 2016). ...
... Results from our third model show that the more years of experience the trainer had with an animal at the center, the more the animal wagged its tail, licked the trainer's hand or face, and demonstrated lip-licking. Tail-wagging in dogs has been referred to as a contact-seeking and communicative behavior (Norling et al., 2012;Rehn et al., 2014) and has shown to be displayed more towards the dog's owner compared to strangers (Prato-Previde et al., 2003;Kuhne et al., 2012;Norling et al., 2012). Accordingly, the higher frequency of tail-wagging with more experienced trainers might be indicative of the affiliative relationship the animals have with the trainers. ...
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Introduction To explore human-canid relationships, we tested similarly socialized and raised dogs ( Canis familiaris ) and wolves ( Canis lupus ) and their trainers in a wildlife park. The aims of our study were twofold: first, we aimed to test which factors influenced the relationships that the trainers formed with the dogs or wolves and second, we investigated if the animals reacted to the trainers in accordance with the trainers’ perceptions of their relationship. Methods To achieve these goals, we assessed the relationships using a human-animal bonds survey, which the trainers used to rate the bonds between themselves and their peers with the canids, and by observing dyadic trainer-canid social interactions. Results Our preliminary results given the small sample size and the set-up of the research center, demonstrate that our survey was a valid way to measure these bonds since trainers seem to perceive and agree on the strength of their bonds with the animals and that of their fellow trainers. Moreover, the strength of the bond as perceived by the trainers was mainly predicted by whether or not the trainer was a hand-raiser of the specific animal, but not by whether or not the animal was a wolf or a dog. In the interaction test, we found that male animals and animals the trainers felt more bonded to, spent more time in proximity of and in contact with the trainers; there was no difference based on species. Discussion These results support the hypothesis that wolves, similarly to dogs, can form close relationships with familiar humans when highly socialized (Canine Cooperation Hypothesis). Moreover, as in other studies, dogs showed more submissive behaviors than wolves and did so more with experienced than less experienced trainers. Our study suggests that humans and canines form differentiated bonds with each other that, if close, are independent of whether the animal is a wolf or dog.
... With regard to sex, the majority of previous studies on dog-owner attachment found either minor (Prato-Previde et al., 2003) or no differences (Fallani et al., 2007;Gácsi et al., 2001;Topál et al., 1998) in the attachment behaviour of female and male dogs tested in the SSP. However, a very recent study by D'Aniello et al. (D'Aniello et al., 2021) found that female dogs showed higher levels of sociability towards both the stranger and the owner, as well as higher levels of separation-distress when the owner was absent, compared to male dogs. ...
... A second researcher helped with moving the dog who played the attachment figure in and out of the room, according to the protocol. Different from some previous studies on dog-owner attachment (Palmer and Custance, 2008;Prato-Previde et al., 2003;Topál et al., 1998), but similar to others (D' Aniello et al., 2021;Mariti et al., 2017Mariti et al., , 2014, our protocol required the human stranger to remain passive in the interactions with the dog. This is because the behaviour of dogs towards a human stranger is not easily predictable by the way the latter behaves (Tan et al., 2018), possibly making passive behaviours preferable for the role of the stranger in the current study. ...
... Among those behaviours affected by the test episodes, environmental exploration, locomotion and escape attempts seemed to follow a similar trend, which decreased with the progression of the test. As for exploration, our results are in line with Prato-Previde et al. (2003) that found this behaviour to decrease sharply from the first to the second episode in dogs involved in the SSP. Accordingly, our findings seem to suggest that exploration behaviour patterns across SSP episodes may be affected by the novelty effect that the unfamiliar experimental environment exerts on dog dyads at the beginning of the procedure. ...
Article
Previous studies on the dog intraspecific attachment carried out with the Strange Situation Procedure (SSP) have not been able to clarify the nature of this bond. Several factors may affect the behaviour of the dog dyads involved the procedure. In the current study, fifty-five dyads of adult dogs living in the same household participated in a SSP. The duration of fifteen behaviours was measured. Data were analysed using Generalised Linear Mixed Models considering single behaviours as dependent variables. The predictors were episodes (1, 4, and 7), type of relationship (mother-offspring pairs, non-related cohabitant pairs), sex (female-female, male-female, and male-male), and age difference. Bonferroni Holmes post hoc tests were performed to allow pairwise comparison. Dog dyads spent significantly more time trying to escape from the experimental room in episodes 1 (p=0.008) and 4 (p=0.029) than episode 7, in passive behaviours in episode 7 compared to episode 1 (p=0.001), in environmental exploration in episode 1 compared to both episode 4 (p=0.001) and 7 (p=0.001), in proximity to each other in episode 4 and 7 compared to episode 1 (4 vs 1: p=0.001, 7 vs 1: p=0.001), and in locomotion in episode 1 than episodes 4 (p=0.009) and 7 (p=0.001), and in episode 4 compared to 7 (p=0.007). Mother-offspring pairs spent more time in passive behaviours (p=0.028) compared to unrelated cohabitant pairs. Male-male pairs spent more time oriented to the door/window compared to female-male (p=0.030) and female-female pairs (p=0.030). Finally, proximity to the conspecific decreased (p=0.040), while locomotion increased (p=0.027) with age difference. According to our findings, dogs involved in an intraspecific SSP seem to be primarily distressed by the initial separation from the owner. However, they may be able to use the conspecific as a buffer against stress as the test progresses. Other factors related to the subjects involved in the procedure, such as the type of relationship, sex and age difference may also affect their behaviour. Future studies should take these factors into account if they use the SSP to explore dog intraspecific attachment.
... In addition, as dog-owner attachment relationship may have a role in the owner's perception of dog's behavior and emotions [38,39,43], the dog-owner bond has a true reflection in physiology of both parties through the hormones that mediate attachment behavior and stress coping [49,50]. The social bond between pet dogs and their owners resembles the attachment between parent and child [51,52] and includes characteristics present in friendship [53]. The parent-child attachment bond can be described with four behavioral components [54] which are found also in dogs: (1) A safe haven: in a frightening situation, the owners presence alleviates dog's stress responses [14]. ...
... (4) Proximity seeking: dogs stay close distance to owner and show attention-seeking behaviors toward the owner when they are uncertain or distressed. Proximity seeking is also related to affiliative behavior during, for example, reunion after separation [52,55]. Secure attachment, strong emotional bond and positive interactions between the dog and the owner are associated with reduced level of stress in dogs [57][58][59]. ...
... In human attachment relationships, the caregiver can be seen to provide a secure base for the child, which alleviates the anxiety of the child in novel situations [54]. Similarly in dogs, secure attachment enhances independence of dogs in novel and challenging situations [51,52,55], which appears for example as enhanced exploration of a novel environment and persistence in object manipulation tasks [56]. In the current study, dogs whose owners reported high MDORS-EC stayed longer close to their owners during manipulation of a feeding toy (KONG ® ). ...
Article
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We evaluated the effect of the dog–owner relationship on dogs’ emotional reactivity, quantified with heart rate variability (HRV), behavioral changes, physical activity and dog owner interpretations. Twenty nine adult dogs encountered five different emotional situations (i.e., stroking, a feeding toy, separation from the owner, reunion with the owner, a sudden appearance of a novel object). The results showed that both negative and positive situations provoked signs of heightened arousal in dogs. During negative situations, owners’ ratings about the heightened emotional arousal correlated with lower HRV, higher physical activity and more behaviors that typically index arousal and fear. The three factors of The Monash Dog–Owner Relationship Scale (MDORS) were reflected in the dogs’ heart rate variability and behaviors: the Emotional Closeness factor was related to increased HRV (p = 0.009), suggesting this aspect is associated with the secure base effect, and the Shared Activities factor showed a trend toward lower HRV (p = 0.067) along with more owner-directed behaviors reflecting attachment related arousal. In contrast, the Perceived Costs factor was related to higher HRV (p = 0.009) along with less fear and less owner-directed behaviors, which may reflect the dog’s more independent personality. In conclusion, dogs’ emotional reactivity and the dog–owner relationship modulate each other, depending on the aspect of the relationship and dogs’ individual responsivity.
... One of the most interesting and peculiar aspects of the dog-human relationship is dogs' predisposition to form lasting affectional bonds with their human caretakers, which have been equated to the attachment relationship that human infants form towards their mothers (Palestrini et al. 2005;Palmer and Custance 2008;Prato-Previde et al. 2003;Rehn et al. 2013;Topál et al. 1998). This refers to a social bond between parents and offspring, where the latter benefits from the support of their caretakers (Ainsworth 1989). ...
... One of the bestknown methods to empirically explore attachment behaviors is the "Strange Situation Test" (SST), introduced to study the infant-mother attachment bond in humans (Ainsworth and Bell 1970;Ainsworth et al. 1978). Indeed, the behavior expressed by dogs in adapted versions of the SST fulfills attachment criteria, including proximity seeking to the owner, distress and protest behavior upon short-term separation from the owner (Prato-Previde et al. 2003;Topál et al. 1998), quickly returning toward the owner in the presence of perceived threats (safe-haven effect: Gácsi et al. 2013) and exploring within a wider range when the owner is present (secure-base effect: Horn et al. 2013;Mariti et al. 2013a;Palmer and Custance 2008). ...
... Dogs were tested in an unfamiliar room (about 12 m 2 ) using the protocol of the SST, adapted to test the attachment bond in dogs (Prato-Previde et al. 2003). The tests were conducted at the Laboratory of Canine Ethology of the University of Naples Federico II (Naples, Italy). ...
Article
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Sex differences in the behavioral responses of Labrador Retriever dogs in the Strange Situation Test were explored. Behaviors expressed by dogs during seven 3-min episodes were analyzed through a Principal Component Analysis (PCA). The scores of factors obtained were analyzed with a Generalized Linear Mixed Model to reveal the effects of the dog’s sex and age and the owner’s sex. In Episode 1 (dog and owner) and 5 (dog alone), the PCA identified three and two factors, respectively, which overall explained 68.7% and 59.8% of the variance, with no effect of sex. In Episodes 2 (dog, owner, and stranger), 3 and 6 (dog and stranger), and 4 and 7 (dog and owner), the PCA identified four factors, which overall explained 51.0% of the variance. Effects of sex were found on: Factor 1 (distress), with lower scores obtained by females in Episode 2 and higher in Episode 3; Factor 2 (sociability), which was overall higher in females; Factor 3 (separation-distress), with females, but not males, obtaining higher scores when left with the stranger than when with the owner. Therefore, females were overall more social but seemed more affected than males by the owner’s absence. Parallels can be traced between our results and sex differences found in adult human romantic attachment, suggesting that the dog-owner bond has characteristics that are not found in the infant-mother relationship.
... Some studies show that people form strong affective bonds with their companion animals, reporting attachment to them and often viewing them as family members or even children [14,184,185]. Experimental evidence shows that dogs and cats form affectional bonds and even attachments with their human partners [24,[186][187][188][189][190]. ...
... Even though caregiving, protection and reassurance are usually provided by humans, the human-animal bond appears to be a more flexible attachment-caregiver relationship in which the human and the animal can play the role of "caregivers" or "cared for" according to the situation [14]. Companion animals may serve as "attachment figures" for people [182,184,185,198], and both dogs and cats form infant-like attachment bonds with humans, who are for them a source of protection and reassurance [24,186,188,189]. ...
Article
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The human–animal relationship is ancient, complex and multifaceted. It may have either positive effects on humans and animals or poor or even negative and detrimental effects on animals or both humans and animals. A large body of literature has investigated the beneficial effects of this relationship in which both human and animals appear to gain physical and psychological benefits from living together in a reciprocated interaction. However, analyzing the literature with a different perspective it clearly emerges that not rarely are human–animal relationships characterized by different forms and levels of discomfort and suffering for animals and, in some cases, also for people. The negative physical and psychological consequences on animals’ well-being may be very nuanced and concealed, but there are situations in which the negative consequences are clear and striking, as in the case of animal violence, abuse or neglect. Empathy, attachment and anthropomorphism are human psychological mechanisms that are considered relevant for positive and healthy relationships with animals, but when dysfunctional or pathological determine physical or psychological suffering, or both, in animals as occurs in animal hoarding. The current work reviews some of the literature on the multifaceted nature of the human–animal relationship; describes the key role of empathy, attachment and anthropomorphism in human–animal relationships; seeks to depict how these psychological processes are distorted and dysfunctional in animal hoarding, with highly detrimental effects on both animal and human well-being.
... More recently, the attachment construct has been applied to relationships between individuals of other mammal species, such as canids [5][6][7][8] and primates [9], as well as to those between members of two different species, such as dogs and their owners [10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18]. This is because the dog-owner relationship appears to show similar features with the child-caregiver bond. ...
... This should not be surprising since the SSP is specifically designed to progressively increase the level of stress in the individuals tested [20]. Furthermore, dogs involved in the SSP are commonly reported to show behavioural signs of stress during the procedure (e.g., aimless wandering, vocalizations, escape attempts, scratching the door) [8,12,56,57]. Nonetheless, the increasing cortisol trend found in this study reflects that reported by Mongillo et al., [39] for aged dogs, but differs from the decreasing trend observed by Schöberl et al. [22] and Ryan et al. [40]. These conflicting findings may be due to methodological reasons. ...
Article
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The quality of the attachment bond towards the caregiver may affect the dog’s physiological responses to stressful stimuli. This study aimed to measure chronic and acute physiological parameters of stress in ten securely and ten insecurely attached dogs. The twenty experimental subjects were selected from a sample of dogs that participated with their owners in the Strange Situation Procedure. Saliva samples were collected before (T0) and after (T1) the test. Blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and rectal temperature were measured after the test, only. At this time, a hair sample was also collected. RM ANOVA was used to analyse cortisol concentrations between secure and insecure dogs at T0 and T1. Mann–Whitney U test or T test were used for other physiological parameters. Insecure dogs had significant higher salivary cortisol concentrations than secure dogs at T1 (p = 0.024), but only a non-significant trend towards higher cortisol concentrations at T0 (p = 0.099). Post-test heart rate also tended to be higher in insecure compared to secure dogs (p = 0.077). No significant differences in hair cortisol concentration were found. The quality of attachment may affect the dog’s physiological response to acute stress, at least when related to separation from the caregiver. The effect of attachment on chronic stress requires further investigation.
... One of our main findings is that none of the two experiments found evidence that strangers could provide dogs with a secure base effect. In fact, no difference between the alone and the stranger conditions could be found in Experiment 2. However, we could confirm previous evidence that owners' presence is a source of security for dogs [3,25,28]. We found this effect to be independent from the owner's behaviour (either remaining silent or encouraging the dog) and consistent across both experiments. ...
... Furthermore, dogs spent more time close to the door (both in Experiment 1 and 2) or to the coordinating experimenter (Experiment 1) when they were alone or when the stranger was present than when the owner was present, suggesting that dogs were less comfortable in the experimental environment when separated from their owners than when the owner was in the room. These results confirm that dogs form individualized relationships with their owner [3,25,28] and do not seem to use a stranger as a secure base in this problem-solving context. Importantly, results of the two experiments were consistent, suggesting that the presence of an unfamiliar coordinating experimenter in Experiment 1 (in addition to the person acting as a partner) did not play a major role in affecting the behaviour of the subjects. ...
Article
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Domestic dogs display behavioural patterns towards their owners that fulfil the four criteria of attachment. As such, they use their owners as a secure base, exploring the environment and manipulating objects more when accompanied by their owners than when alone. Although there are some indications that owners serve as a better secure base than other human beings, the evidence regarding a strong owner-stranger differentiation in a manipulative context is not straightforward. In the present study, we conducted two experiments in which pet dogs were tested in an object-manipulation task in the presence of the owner and of a stranger, varying how the human partner would behave (i.e. remaining silent or encouraging the dog, Experiment 1), and when alone (Experiment 2). Further, to gain a better insight into the mechanisms behind a potential owner-stranger differentiation, we investigated the effect of dogs’ previous life history (i.e. having lived in a shelter or having lived in the same household since puppyhood). Overall, we found that strangers do not provide a secure base effect and that former shelter dogs show a stronger owner-stranger differentiation than other family dogs. As former shelter dogs show more behavioural signs correlated with anxiety towards the novel environment and the stranger, we concluded that having been re-homed does not necessarily affect the likelihood of forming a secure bond with the new owner but might have an impact on how dogs interact with novel stimuli, including unfamiliar humans. These results confirm the owner’s unique role in providing security to their dogs and have practical implications for the bond formation in pet dogs with a past in a shelter.
... Human-animal interactions and the relationships that develops between them have been regarded as mutually beneficial and can be comparable to psychological and physiological observations between a parent and child (31) and dog owners and their pets (31)(32)(33). Apart from the psychological aspects associated with humans, the physiological and endocrinological aspects associated with both humans and animals have often involved changes in cortisol, body temperature, pulse and respiration, and heart rate (21). In regard to cortisol, domestic animals react to stress through physiological responses, which are the result of individual emotional reactivity (34). ...
... Activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is a prominent neuroendocrine response to emotional or stress-related activities resulting in the increase in systemic concentrations of cortisol in humans (35,36) and animals (32). While there is no apparent documentation on the impact of student-donkey interactions on cortisol, there are multiple studies that have documented interactions between dog owners and their pets on cortisol and other physiological characteristics (31,33,37). Overall, results have indicated decreased cortisol and blood pressure in both humans and dogs (38)(39)(40)(41)(42). ...
Article
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There has been an increased interest in evaluating human–animal interactions and assessing the mutual health and wellbeing. In this study, first-year female and male veterinary school students not paired (n = 58) or paired (n = 25) with immature (≤9 mo) donkeys (n = 13) were engaged in three different types of interactions (1st, hands-off remote learning, 2nd, hands-on passive learning, and 3rd, hands-on active learning) for 30 min each during Week 2 (Time 1), Weeks 5–8 (Time 2), and Week 12 (Time 3) over three, 15-week periods. Student psychological data involved the Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ) scores collected from the interactive (student-donkey pairs) and non-interactive (no student-donkey pairs) groups and modified Comfort from Companion Animals Scale (CCAS) scores collected from the interactive group during Times 1, 2, and 3. Donkey physiological data involved collection of saliva within 10 min pre- and post-interaction during Times 1, 2, and 3 in association with the different types of interactions for immunoanalysis of cortisol. There were no significant effects of the various times and types of interactions on CCAS scores. While there were no significant effects of group and types of interactions on PSWQ scores, there was an effect (P = 0.01) of time. Overall mean PSWQ scores were significantly lower during Week 12 versus Week 2. Correspondingly, while there were no effects pre- vs. post-interaction within or among times on saliva cortisol concentrations in donkeys, there was an effect (P = 0.02) of the type of interaction. Mean concentrations were significantly lower with the hands-on passive and hands-on active learning versus the hands-off remote learning. In conclusion, while this study provides preliminary evidence surrounding student donkey interactions, future studies are required with more comprehensive designs to clarify these benefits and better understand the advantages and challenges surrounding student-donkey interactions.
... In general, it has been hypothesized that companion dogs may form a special relationship with their human caregivers that bears a remarkable resemblance to the attachment bond of human infants with their mothers (Bowlby 1958), because they are not only dependent on human care, but their behaviour is specifically geared to engage their human partner's caregiving system (Topál et al. 1998;Prato-Previde et al. 2003;Horn et al. 2013;Prato-Previde and Valsecchi 2014). However, until very recently, this human-dog attachment hypothesis has only been based on behavioural and endocrinal evidence (for review, see Prato-Previde and Valsecchi 2014). ...
... The findings of several behavioural studies suggested that the human-dog relationship resembles the human-mother child bond by forming a stable attachment bond to their caregivers (e.g., Bowlby 1958;Gácsi et al. 2001;Horn et al. 2013;Palestrini et al. 2005;Palmer and Custance 2008;Prato-Previde et al. 2003;Topál et al. 1998). Based on this strong human-dog relationship we may conclude that pet dogs also try to protect and maintain this meaningful relationship and therefore would negatively react to a potential threat of weakening it or at least of losing the exclusive affective attention of the caregiver. ...
Article
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We have limited knowledge on how dogs perceive humans and their actions. Various researchers investigated how they process human facial expressions, but their brain responses to complex social scenarios remain unclear. While undergoing fMRI, we exposed pet dogs to videos showing positive social and neutral non-social interactions between their caregivers and another conspecific. Our main interest was how the dogs responded to their caregivers (compared to a stranger) engaging in a pleasant interaction with another dog that could be seen as social rival. We hypothesized that the dogs would show activation increases in limbic areas such as the amygdala, hypothalamus and insula, and likely show higher attention and arousal during the positive caregiver-dog interaction. When contrasting the social with the non-social interaction, we found increased activations in the left amygdala and the insular cortex. Crucially, the dogs’ hypothalamus showed strongest activation when the caregiver engaged in a positive social interaction. These findings indicate that dogs are sensitive to social affective human-dog interactions, and likely show higher valence attribution and arousal in a situation possibly perceived as a potential threat to their caregiver bonds. Our study provides a first window into the neural correlates of social and emotional processing in dogs.
... 3) Proximity maintenance: Keeping close physical contact with their companion animals elicits positive emotions in humans (Enders-Slegers, 2000;Kurdek, 2008;Prato-Previde et al., 2003). In a study of college students' attachment to dogs, Kurdek (2008) found that, compared to human attachment figures, dogs rated in importance at the same level than fathers and siblings but below mothers, friends and significant others in proximity maintenance. ...
... In fact, in these circumstances, dogs have shown a clear preference for their owners when compared with other people who were already familiar to the dog (Kerepesi et al., 2015), suggesting that owners can act as safe haven. Furthermore, humans can also act as secure base and their presence facilitates exploration (Prato-Previde et al., 2003). For example, dogs explore, play and interact with strangers more often when their owner is present compared to when they are alone or only accompanied by a stranger (Palmer & Custance, 2008). ...
Thesis
Throughout most of our common history, companion animals have played an important role in the lives of humans. As humans and animals evolved, so did the human-animal relationship. Different theoretical frameworks have been used to explain the potential beneficial effects of the emotional aspect of the human-animal relationship that we know as the Human-Animal Bond. This thesis examines these benefits in two novel scenarios, focusing on people (and animals) having to deal with challenging circumstances. Both studies explore the HAB in specific situations and reflect on the meaning of that bond for the humans and animals involved.
... In some cases, previous literature has found order effects within multi-phase SST attachment tests that could influence the balance between proximity seeking and exploration in the return phase of attachment tests. This may in part be due to findings that dogs' exploration of the novel environment can decrease over the course of testing (Prato-Previde et al. 2003;Palestrini et al. 2005;Fallani et al. 2006;Palmer and Custance 2008;Rehn et al. 2013) along with some decreases in play behavior (Prato-Previde et al. 2003;Rehn et al. 2013). In the current study, we counterbalanced testing order to guard against such possible effects. ...
... In some cases, previous literature has found order effects within multi-phase SST attachment tests that could influence the balance between proximity seeking and exploration in the return phase of attachment tests. This may in part be due to findings that dogs' exploration of the novel environment can decrease over the course of testing (Prato-Previde et al. 2003;Palestrini et al. 2005;Fallani et al. 2006;Palmer and Custance 2008;Rehn et al. 2013) along with some decreases in play behavior (Prato-Previde et al. 2003;Rehn et al. 2013). In the current study, we counterbalanced testing order to guard against such possible effects. ...
Article
Synopsis In recent years there has been growing interest in uncovering evolutionary and lifetime factors that may contribute to the domestic dog’s (Canis lupus familiaris) success in anthropogenic environments. The readiness with which dogs form social attachments, their hyper-social focus, and social flexibility have all been areas of investigation. Prior research has demonstrated that many pet dogs form infant-caregiver type attachments toward human caretakers, even into adulthood. However, it is unknown if adult dogs form similar attachment bonds to other species, including cohabitant dogs, or if the dog–human relationship is unique in this respect. In the current study we used the Secure Base Test to evaluate behavioral indicators of stress reduction, proximity seeking and exploration, classifying dog–human and dog–dog dyads into attachment style categories. As in prior studies, we found that the majority of our dog–human dyads met the traditional criteria for infant–caregiver type attachment. However, the majority of dogs did not display this form of attachment toward cohabitant dog partners. Instead, behaviors observed in dog–dog relationships better matched attachment classifications described in human sibling attachment research. Overall, companion dogs were significantly less likely than human caretakers to elicit behaviors associated with attachment security in a focal dog. Dog–human attachment may play a distinct and important role in the success and resilience of adult dogs living in at least some anthropogenic environments. Bonds formed with other adult dogs, while important, likely serve a different function.
... Il a par la suite été mis en évidence que les chats peuvent montrer un attachement sécure envers leurs humains et présentent même les trois patrons d'attachements définis par Ainsworth. En utilisant un test dérivé du test de « la situation étrange », Vitale et ses collaborateurs ont trouvé que 60 % des chats montrent un attachement sécure envers leur propriétaire alors qu'environ 40% des chats montrent un attachement insécure (ambivalent ou évitant), ce qui est assez proche des résultats observés chez les enfants et les chiens(Ainsworth et al. 2015, Palestrini et al. 2005, Palmer & Custance 2008, Prato-Previde et al. 2003, Rehn & Keeling 2016. Les auteurs ont trouvé cette distribution chez les chatons comme chez les chats adultes, ce qui suggère une stabilité de l'attachement dans le temps. ...
Thesis
Dans une société où les animaux compagnons sont intégrés au cercle familial, beaucoup d’humains les considèrent comme des membres de la famille à part entière. La recherche doit suivre cette tendance et s’attacher à appréhender les mécanismes de relations qui se construisent entre différentes espèces amenées à cohabiter. L’objectif de cette thèse est d’enrichir et d’approfondir les connaissances scientifiques sur l’éthologie du chat compagnon (Felis catus), afin de mieux appréhender ses besoins et réponses comportementales, au sein d’un environnement souvent imposé par l’humain. Les travaux restitués sont principalement centrés sur la communication interspécifique entre l’humain et le chat. Soucieux d’explorer aussi bien la perspective de l’humain que celle du chat, nous avons étudié la façon dont chacun s’exprime et décode les messages de l’autre. Ainsi, nous nous sommes intéressés à la communication vocale et visuelle entre ces deux espèces différentes qui partagent un même milieu - et doivent apprendre à communiquer efficacement pour cohabiter sereinement. Nos études ont mis en évidence que les humains utilisaient un discours spécifique pour s’adresser à leur compagnons félins, caractérisé par l’utilisation d’une voix plus aiguë. Nous avons également rapporté que les chats étaient plus attentifs à ce type de discours, mais seulement lorsqu’il était prononcé par leur compagnon humain et non par un étranger. Dans une troisième étude, nous avons observé que les chats venaient plus volontiers au contact d’un humain peu familier si celui-ci proposait un contact bimodal ou visuel, plutôt que vocal. Enfin, nous avons vu que les humains comprenaient mieux les chats dans leurs expressions bimodales et visuelles que vocales. Ainsi, bien que communément utilisée par chaque émetteur de cette communication interspécifique, la modalité vocale ne semble pas être suffisante pour la transmission et la réception d’un signal clair. Ces résultats sont discutés à la lumière des notions d’attachement, d’anthropomorphisme et de bien-être animal.
... There may or may not be visual orientation toward the environment. The puppy may change posture in place but does not show any displacement [46] × Frozen The puppy is completely still while in any posture or position [22] × × Exploration Activity directed toward physical aspects of the environment that could include sniffing, or examination such as licking or pawing [45,[47][48][49] × × ...
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Many puppies from commercial breeding kennels (CBKs) are transported by ground from their kennels of origin to a distributor. This experience may elicit fear and stress during a sensitive developmental period, which may in turn negatively impact the puppies’ short- and long-term welfare. This study aimed to measure short-term effects of transportation on puppy welfare metrics. Eight-week-old puppies (n = 383) from 12 CBKs were tested at their kennels (pre-trans) and ~48 h after arriving at a distributor (post-trans). At each location, puppies underwent an isolation test, a stranger-approach test, and a physical health assessment. Behavioral responses to testing were scored from videos. Fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGM), fecal secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), and presence of intestinal parasites were also analyzed. Linear mixed-effects models identified decreased exploration (p < 0.001), and increased locomotion (p < 0.001) and escape attempts (p = 0.001) during the post-trans isolation test. Increased affiliative behavior (p < 0.001), FGM (p < 0.001) and sIgA (p = 0.014) were also observed post-trans. Findings support good physical health both pre- and post-trans, while behavioral and physiological changes suggest increased puppy distress post-trans. Higher post-transport affiliative behavior may indicate that puppies sought social support as a coping strategy after experiencing transport-related distress. Future studies should explore the efficacy of transportation-related interventions to mitigate puppy distress.
... Studies focused on dog-owner attachment have shown that dogs can behave differently depending on whether their owner is present or absent (Topál et al., 1998). In particular, when dogs are left in a novel place without a familiar caregiver, they show higher activity (Tuber et al., 1996), higher circulating glucocorticoid concentrations (Tuber et al., 1996;Palestrini et al., 2005), higher heart rates (Palestrini et al., 2005), and higher anxiety (Prato-Previde et al., 2003;Palestrini et al., 2005;Parthasarathy and Crowell-Davis, 2006), even if an unknown person is present (Parthasarathy and Crowell-Davis, 2006). Miklósi et al. (2003) showed that dogs looked at their owner when facing an unsolvable task, and Kerepesi et al. (2015) demonstrated that dogs moved closer to their owner but not towards other individuals, even familiar ones, in situations provoking anxiety or fear. ...
... These adaptations and deviations potentially limit the integrity of attachment theory when applied to HAI research, and this is acknowledged in the existing literature. While some studies report that the human-dog relationship can be an attachment relationship (Kruger & Serpell, 2006), others have argued that conclusive evidence for attachment in dog-human relationships is limited (Prato-Previde, Custance, Spiezio, & Sabatini, 2003). In their comprehensive review, Crawford et al. (2006) concluded that humans' attachment to companion animals is variable and may not provide any substantial effect. ...
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The relationship formed between a human and a dog can be transformative. Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) research aims to understand why these relationships are so important. Within this field, human-dog relationships have been explained through various theoretical constructs, of which the ‘biophilia hypothesis’, ‘attachment theory’ and ‘social support’ are the most common. However, none of these constructs completely explain the benefits that human-dog relationships can provide. In this paper, a new theory, the Thriving Through Relationships (TTR) theory, is applied to human-dog relationships, in order to ascertain its capacity to further explain the benefits that dogs can provide to humans. The TTR theory proposes mechanisms for immediate and long-term indicators of thriving, which may add new insight into how human-dog relationships are beneficial. Multiple dimensions of thriving are used to explain how a supportive other could assist an individual to thrive, both in the face of adversity and during times of relative normalcy. The TTR theory may, therefore, enhance understanding of the transformative potential of human-dog relationships.
... Our results indicate that the attachment system toward the familiar person was activated in our 23-week-old wolves during the SST, and the wolves expressed attachment behavior comparable to those reported in adult dogs (Gácsi et al., 2001;Prato-Previde et al., 2003;Topál et al., 1998), chimpanzees (van IJzendoorn et al., 2009) and human infants (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970) (Hennessy et al., 2009). The facilitation of comforting effects in stressful situations by familiar conspecifics is well-known in various species (von Holst, 1998;Hennessy et al., 2006) and has recently been demonstrated among captive wolf pack members (Cimarelli et al., 2021). ...
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Domesticated animals are generally assumed to display increased sociability toward humans compared to their wild ancestors. Dogs (Canis familiaris) have a remarkable ability to form social relationships with humans, including lasting attachment, a bond based on emotional dependency. Since it has been specifically suggested that the ability to form attachment with humans evolved post-domestication in dogs, attempts to quantify attachment behavior in wolves (Canis lupus) have subsequently been performed. However, while these rare wolf studies do highlight the potential for wolves to express human-directed attachment, the varied methods used and the contrasting results emphasize the need for further, standardized testing of wolves. Here, we used the standardized Strange Situation Test to investigate attachment behavior expressed in wolves and dogs hand-raised and socialized under standardized and identical conditions up until the age of testing. We found that 23-week-old wolves and dogs equally discriminated between a stranger and a familiar person, and expressed similar attachment behaviors toward a familiar person. Additionally, wolves, but not dogs, expressed significantly elevated stress-related behavior during the test, but this stress response was buffered by the presence of a familiar person. Together, our results suggest that wolves can show attachment behaviors toward humans comparable to those of dogs. Importantly, our findings demonstrate that the ability to form attachment with humans exists in relatives of the wild ancestor of dogs, thereby refuting claims that this phenotype evolved after dog domestication was initiated.
... Behavioral data were recorded with a digital videocamera (Handycam ® DCR-SX33E, Sony, Minato, Tokyo, Japan). A reference ethogram, consisting of 6 behavioral categories and 16 patterns, was compiled for the behavioral analysis (Table 2) [7,27,50,[63][64][65]. Table 2. Ethogram used for behavioral analysis. ...
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The veterinary visit is necessary for safeguarding the health of dogs, but it can be stressful and threaten both the welfare of the patient and the accuracy of the examination. This randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study aims at evaluating how dog appeasing pheromone (DAP) in a novel gel formulation influences the behavioral and physiological stress responses of 28 dogs undergoing a standardized clinical examination, while staying in the waiting room (WR) and visited in the examination room (ER). Behavioral responses were studied through behavioral categories and subjective scales (WR and ER). Autonomic response considered heart rate (WR and ER), blood pressure (WR and ER), respiratory rate (ER), and rectal temperature (ER). Neuroendocrine response considered salivary cortisol (WR and ER). In the waiting room, the use of DAP was associated with a significant reduction of lip licking (p = 0.0189), an increase in panting (p = 0.0276), and a reduction close to significance (p = 0.0584) of low body postures. No significant differences were observed within the physiological responses. In the examination room, neither behavioral nor physiological differences were found.
... Thus, they looked for their owners in their absence, rapidly made enduring contact with them after their return, preferred to play with them, and decreased their play behavior in their absence. They also greeted their owners more enthusiastically and stayed longer by the door when separated from them [43,44]. ...
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Philosophers have understood propositional contents in many different ways, some of them imposing stricter demands on cognition than others. In this paper, I want to characterize a specific sub-type of propositional content that shares many core features with full-blown propositional contents while lacking others. I will call them modest propositional contents, and I will be especially interested in examining which behavioral patterns would justify their attribution to non-human animals. To accomplish these tasks, I will begin by contrasting modest propositional contents with primitive feature-placing contents: a kind of content that, according to some philosophers, can explain the behavior of non-human animals. I will examine which cognitive abilities are involved in having mental states with each of these contents and which sorts of behavioral patterns would provide evidence that an animal has one of them or another. Finally, I will present some empirical evidence which strongly suggests that some non-human animals have mental states with modest propositional contents.
... Avoidant owners are less responsive to the dog's needs and do not provide a secure-base for the dog when needed, which would result in a higher risk for the dog to develop a separation-related disorder (92). Domestic animals are also likely to show attachment patterns to their owners (93)(94)(95), but these must be empirically identified. Interestingly, there is research in social neuroscience that identifies neural pathways associated with attachment patterns (96) and how dysfunctional attachment patterns impact interpersonal interactions [see (81,97) for more details]. ...
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The Integrative Model of Human-Animal Interactions (IMHAI) described herewith provides a conceptual framework for the study of interspecies interactions and aims to model the primary emotional processes involved in human-animal interactions. This model was developed from theoretical inputs from three fundamental disciplines for understanding interspecies interactions: neuroscience, psychology and ethology, with the objective of providing a transdisciplinary approach on which field professionals and researchers can build and collaborate. Seminal works in affective neuroscience offer a common basis between humans and animals and, as such, can be applied to the study of interspecies interactions from a One Health-One Welfare perspective. On the one hand, Jaak Panksepp's research revealed that primary/basic emotions originate in the deep subcortical regions of the brain and are shared by all mammals, including humans. On the other hand, several works in the field of neuroscience show that the basic physiological state is largely determined by the perception of safety. Thus, emotional expression reflects the state of an individual's permanent adaptation to ever-changing environmental demands. Based on this evidence and over 5 years of action research using grounded theory, alternating between research and practice, the IMHAI proposes a systemic approach to the study of primary-process emotional affects during interspecies social interactions, through the processes of emotional transfer, embodied communication and interactive emotional regulation. IMHAI aims to generate new hypotheses and predictions on affective behavior and interspecies communication. Application of such a model should promote risk prevention and the establishment of positive links between humans and animals thereby contributing to their respective wellbeing.
... There have been several studies on the relationship of man and animal based on the theory of attachment. There are strong supports of the emotional ties and sensitive bonds between domestic animals and their owners [39,40]. ...
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Objective & background: Human-animal interactions are considered as being valuable and beneficial for the psychological health. Recently Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) has been included for client-therapist interaction. The purpose of the present study was to assess the effectiveness of animal-assisted therapy in alleviation of anxiety in pre-school children. Method: The study was carried out as a randomized controlled trail with pre-test and post-test design and control group. The trial was registered in the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry with the registration id of ChiCTR2000034145. The study consisted of 33 anxious 5-7years old children (participated in a welfare anxiety screening plan held by Counseling Center, Tehran-Iran) between 2018 and 2019. The participants took part in the study voluntarily. The subjects were randomly divided into experimental and control groups (10 in each group). The experimental group was exposed to 8 sessions of animal therapy. The research instrument used in the present study was Spence Preschool Anxiety Scale (Parent Form) and the data were analyzed on SPSS 21 software. Results: The results showed that animal therapy had a significant effect on general anxiety after adjusting for post-test assessments (f = 32.49 and p = 0.001) with the effect equal to 0.70. In addition, the effect of animal therapy on anxiety of separation (f = 5.63, p = 0.03), generalized anxiety disorder (f = 8.56, p = 0.01), social phobia (f = 14.58, p = 0.002) and specific anxiety (f = 11.63, p = 0.005) was significant with effects equal to 0.30, 0.40, 0.53, and 0.47, respectively. The results also showed that the effect of animal therapy on obsession was not significant (p > 0.05). Conclusion: Therefore, it can be concluded that Animal therapy is effective in alleviating anxiety in children. It supports for the inclusion of AAT in therapeutic practice with children having anxiety.
... The mismatch between behavioural studies and caregiver reports with regard to the prevalence of jealousy-like behaviours in dogs could be due to a general bias of caregivers to anthropomorphise their dog's behaviour. Other reasons for the "jealousy bias" in caregiver reports range from a general negativity bias of humans who tend to give a larger weight to behaviours motivated by negative rather than by positive emotions [25,26] to the caregivers' special sensitivity to their dogs' emotions [10,12,14,18,27,28]. Finally, an additional practical reason for the same bias might be that caregivers watch out more carefully for these behaviours, as they may signal potential conflicts where the caregivers eventually need to intervene. ...
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Pet dogs are promising candidates to study attachment-related and potentially jealousy-like behaviours in non-human animals, as they form a strong and stable bond with their human caregivers who often engage in affiliative interactions with diverse social partners. Nevertheless, it is still debated whether non-human animals are capable of experiencing such complex emotions. Even though caregivers frequently report observations of jealousy-like behaviours in dogs, behavioural studies in dogs have thus far led to contradictory results. Adding to this complexity, dogs appear extraordinarily skilled in understanding humans’ communicative behaviour and can flexibly and diversely interact with them in social contexts. Here, we aimed at investigating (1) whether dogs indeed respond in a jealousy-consistent manner when seeing their caregiver interact in an affiliative way with a remotely controlled, realistic-looking fake dog, or (2) whether they would rather synchronize their reaction to the fake dog with the caregiver’s behaviour, or (3) whether they respond directly to the caregiver without paying much attention to the third party. To address what drives the dogs’ behaviours in this triadic situation, we compared four groups of dogs who first observed and then joined the interaction of either the caregiver or a stranger greeting or medically examining the fake dog. We found that the dogs initially responded negatively or neutrally when the fake dog entered the room but changed to more positive reactions when the caregiver approached the fake dog, especially if initiating a positive interaction. When being released, more dogs showed friendly behaviours towards the fake dog when the caregiver—rather than the stranger—was interacting with it. At the same time, however, the dogs tried to block the interaction of the caregiver with the fake dog more often than the one of the stranger. In conclusion, we did not find clear evidence for jealousy-like behaviours in dogs during the human–fake dog interactions, but we observed indicators of behavioural synchronization with the caregivers, suggesting that the caregivers’ affiliative behaviours directed at a third party may more often facilitate positive than negative interactions in dogs.
... From an emotional point of view, the relationship between companion dogs and their human caregivers can take a form that resembles an infant attachment bond. Dogs are dependent on human care and their behaviour seems specifically geared to engage their human's caregiving system [4][5][6][7][8]. As a consequence, dogs do not just seek and maintain contact with their human partner, their exploration and problem-solving abilities seem to be strongly facilitated by the intimate relationship [9,10] and, like children, they can interpret a test situation as being a social, communicative game [11]. ...
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Overimitation, the copying of causally irrelevant or non-functional actions, is well-known from humans but completely absent in other primates. Recent studies from our lab have provided evidence for overimitation in canines. Previously, we found that half of tested pet dogs copied their human caregiver’s irrelevant action, while only few did so when the action was demonstrated by an unfamiliar experimenter. Therefore, we hypothesized that dogs show overimitation as a result of socio-motivational grounds. To test this more specifically, here we investigated how the relationship with the caregiver influenced the eagerness to overimitate. Given the high variability in the tendency to overimitate their caregiver, we hypothesized that not only familiarity but also relationship quality influences whether dogs faithfully copy their caregiver. For this purpose, on the one hand we measured the overimitation tendency (with the same test as in the two studies before) and on the other hand the relationship quality between the dogs and their caregivers. Although we found no significant correlation between the two test results, our data might suggest that, on average, dogs who overimitated seemed to show more referential and affiliative behaviours towards the owner than dogs who showed less or no copying of the irrelevant action. Notably, as a group, those dogs that showed the highest level of copying accuracy of the irrelevant action showed the highest level of gazing and synchronization towards the owner.
... Studies focused on dog-owner attachment have shown that dogs can behave differently depending on whether their owner is present or absent (Topál et al., 1998). In particular, when dogs are left in a novel place without a familiar caregiver, they show higher activity (Tuber et al., 1996), higher circulating glucocorticoid concentrations (Tuber et al., 1996;Palestrini et al., 2005), higher heart rates (Palestrini et al., 2005), and higher anxiety (Prato-Previde et al., 2003;Palestrini et al., 2005;Parthasarathy and Crowell-Davis, 2006), even if an unknown person is present (Parthasarathy and Crowell-Davis, 2006). Miklósi et al. (2003) showed that dogs looked at their owner when facing an unsolvable task, and Kerepesi et al. (2015) demonstrated that dogs moved closer to their owner but not towards other individuals, even familiar ones, in situations provoking anxiety or fear. ...
Article
Veterinary practices can be stressful places for dogs. Decreasing stress during veterinary consultations is therefore a major concern, since animal welfare matters both for owners and veterinarians. Stress can be expressed through behaviour modifications; monitoring canine behaviour is thus one way to assess stress levels. We also know that the owner can affect dog behaviour in different ways. The aim of this study was therefore to assess the effect of the presence of owners on the behaviour of their dogs in veterinary consultations. We studied 25 dog-owner dyads at two standardised veterinary consultations, conducted at intervals of 5-7 weeks; the owner was present for the first consultation and absent for the second (O/NoO group, n = 12), or vice versa (NoO/O group, n = 13). A consultation consisted in three phases: exploration, examination, greeting. Dog behaviours were compared between the two conditions using a video recording. Despite some limitations (e.g. no male owners, the exclusion of aggressive dogs, a limited sample size, minimally invasive veterinary examinations, restricted owner-dog interactions), our results showed that the presence or absence of the owner had no significant effect on the stress-related behaviour of the dog or the veterinarian’s ability to handle the animal during the examination phase (P > 0.05). Nevertheless, the behaviour of the dogs towards people was affected before, during, and after the veterinary examination. In the presence of their owner, dogs were more willing to enter the consultation room (P < 0.05), and they appeared more relaxed during the exploration phase (P < 0.01). During the examination, dogs looked in direction of their owner in both situations (owner present and behind the door, respectively; P < 0.001). These results suggest that allowing the owner to stay in the room during veterinary consultations is a better option for canine welfare.
... Studies focused on dog-owner attachment have shown that dogs can behave differently depending on whether their owner is present or absent (Topál et al., 1998). In particular, when dogs are left in a novel place without a familiar caregiver, they show higher activity (Tuber et al., 1996), higher circulating glucocorticoid concentrations (Tuber et al., 1996;Palestrini et al., 2005), higher heart rates (Palestrini et al., 2005), and higher anxiety (Prato-Previde et al., 2003;Palestrini et al., 2005;Parthasarathy and Crowell-Davis, 2006), even if an unknown person is present (Parthasarathy and Crowell-Davis, 2006). Miklósi et al. (2003) showed that dogs looked at their owner when facing an unsolvable task, and Kerepesi et al. (2015) demonstrated that dogs moved closer to their owner but not towards other individuals, even familiar ones, in situations provoking anxiety or fear. ...
Article
Dogs synchronise their behaviour with those of their owners when confronted with an unfamiliar situation and interactions with their owners have been shown to decrease the dog’s stress levels in some instances. However, whether owners may help manage dog anxiety during veterinary consultations remains unclear. In Part I, we compared the behaviour of dogs in the presence or absence of their owners during consultations, which consisted in three phases: exploration, examination, and greeting. Our findings suggest that allowing owners to attend consultations may be beneficial for dogs. In Part II, we investigated the direct relationship between owners’ actions and their dog’s behaviour. Using the videos from Part I, we examined whether: (1) dogs interact more when their owner is more interactive; (2) owners’ stress scores are related to canine stress-related behaviour and emotional state; (3) owners’ actions influence canine stress-related behaviours, emotional state and tolerance to manipulations; (4) canine stress-related behaviours and emotional state are associated with increased eye contact with their owners. We analysed the recordings of 29 dog-owner dyads submitted to a veterinary consultation in Part I. The behaviours of the dogs and their owners were analysed, and their emotional states were scored. The ease of manipulations was also scored. Despite limitations (e.g. no physical contact during examinations, no invasive procedures, aggressive dogs excluded, no male owners, limited sample size), our study showed a link between dog and owner behaviours: when owners attended an examination, their negative behaviours intensified the signs of anxiety in their dogs. Additionally, visual and verbal attempts to comfort their dog had no significant effect. However, we observed that the more dogs displayed stress-related behaviours, the more they established eye contact with their owners, suggesting that dogs seek information (through social referencing) or reassurance from their owners.
... From an emotional point of view, the relationship between companion dogs and their human caregivers can take a form that resembles an infant attachment bond. Dogs are dependent on human care and their behaviour seems specifically geared to engage their human's caregiving system [4][5][6][7][8]. As a consequence, dogs do not just seek and maintain contact with their human partner, their exploration and problem-solving abilities seem to be strongly facilitated by the intimate relationship [9,10] and, like children, they can interpret a test situation as being a social, communicative game [11]. ...
Preprint
Overimitation, the copying of causally irrelevant or non-functional actions, is well-known from humans but completely absent in other primates. Recent studies from our lab have provided evidence for overimitation in canines. Previously, we found that half of tested pet dogs copied their human caregiver's irrelevant action, while only few did so when the action was demonstrated by an unfamiliar experimenter. Therefore, we hypothesized that dogs show overimitation as a result of socio-motivational grounds. To test this more specifically, here we investigated how the relationship with the caregiver influenced the eagerness to overimitate. Given the high variability in the tendency to overimitate their caregiver, we hypothesized that not only familiarity, but also relationship quality influences whether dogs faithfully copy their caregiver. For this purpose, we measured on the one hand the overimitation tendency (with the same test as in the two studies before) and on the other hand the relationship quality between the dogs and their caregivers. Although not significant, results revealed that dogs who overimitated seemed to show more referential and affiliative behaviours towards the owner (like gazing, synchronization and greeting) than dogs who showed less or no copying of the irrelevant action. Possible reasons for these findings are discussed.
... An attachment refers to an intense, emotional relationship between two individuals [45]. Several studies have sought to investigate dog-human relationship characteristics and compare them to human caregiver-infant relationships by introducing an experimental test paradigm [46][47][48]. Thus, attachment has also been associated with the human-dog dyad and is characterized by behaviors like proximity seeking, exploration and separation distress. ...
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During the past decade, the field of human-animal interaction(s) research has been characterized by a significant increase in scientific findings. These data have contributed to our current understanding of how humans may benefit from contact with animals. However, the animal experience of these interactions is still an under-researched area. This paper addresses the welfare of dogs who participate in animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) to improve health in human recipients. This paper builds on previous work by Glenk (2017) and provides an updated review of the literature on therapy dog welfare published from 2017-2021. New advances in scientific methodology, such as the determination of salivary oxytocin, breath rate and tympanic membrane temperature, are analyzed regarding their value and limitations for research in AAIs. Moreover, welfare-related social and environmental factors (e.g., freedom of choice, exploration of novel environments, inequity aversion, individual development, working experience, relationship with handler and handler skills) that profoundly influence dog perception and well-being are reviewed and discussed. Accounting for the globally increasing interest and the number of dogs utilized in AAIs, safeguarding therapy dog well-being, and identifying situations, circumstances and protocols that may challenge animal welfare remains an emerging and crucial area of scientific effort.
... Cumulating evidence suggests that the relationship between companion dogs and their human caregivers bears a remarkable resemblance to the parent-infant attachment bond (Archer, 1997;Prato-Previde et al., 2003;Prato-Previde and Valsecchi, 2014). This affiliative bond changes dogs' behavior in multiple ways. ...
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Whilst humans undisputedly shape and transform most of earth's habitats, the number of animals (domestic and wild) living on this planet far outnumbers that of humans. Inevitably, humans have to interact with animals under a variety of circumstances, such as during conservation efforts, wildlife and zoo management, livestock husbandry, and pet keeping. Next to the question of how humans deal with these interactions and conflicts, it is crucial to understand the animal's point of view: How do animals perceive and differentiate between humans? How do they generalize their behavior towards humans? And how does knowledge about humans spread socially? In this Research Topic, we aim to collect original empirical work and review articles to get a more comprehensive and diverse picture on how humans are part of the sensory and cognitive world of non-human animals. We strongly invite contributions that pinpoint shortcomings and limitations in interpreting the available research findings, that provide new cross-disciplinary frameworks (e.g. links between conservation biology and comparative psychology, or human-animal interactions at zoos and animal welfare) and that discuss the applied implementation of these findings (e.g. for conservation attempts or livestock husbandry management).
... These can be thought of as high-quality HARs, which occur dyadically and reciprocally (i.e., they occur between just two interactants, both of whom contribute positively to the relationship), and which confer feelings of well-being in both parties (Hosey & Melfi, 2019a;Russow, 2002). While these characteristics are likely to occur with domesticated dogs (Konok et al., 2011;Mariti et al., 2013a;Preto-Previde et al., 2003), HABs have rarely been studied, or demonstrated with other animals, and certainly not with ZA. This raises questions about whether the KARs in zoos are equivalent to the HARs in other human-animal contexts, in particular, increments to welfare and well-being for both animals and keepers. ...
Article
Keeper-animal relationships (KARs) appear to be important in zoos, since they can enhance the well-being of both the animals and the keepers, can make animal husbandry easier, but conversely might risk inappropriate habituation of animals and possible risks to the safety of keepers. It is, therefore, important to know more about the variables involved in relationship formation. Here we use a modified version of the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale (LAPS) to measure the strength of KARs between keepers and animals in their care, both in the zoo and in the home. LAPS questionnaires were completed by 187 keepers in 19 different collections across three countries. LAPS scores for attachment to zoo animals (ZA) were significantly lower than for pet animals (PA). There was no significant difference in ZA scores between different taxa, but there were significant taxon differences between PA scores. There were significant differences in both ZA and PA scores between different collections. Female respondents scored more highly than males for both ZA and PA. Multiple regression revealed that location, gender, and time spent with animals were significant predictors for ZA, while only gender and taxon were significant predictors for PA. It was concluded that PA scores were comparable with those for the general public, and reflected strong attachment of keepers to their pets, while ZA scores, although also reflecting attachment, were influenced by differences in institutional culture.
... Research comparing the behaviour of dogs and wolves has indicated that dogs show less avoidance and aggression toward familiar humans 11 . In addition, dogs show better understanding of human communicative signals than wolves 12,13 and, in some studies, dogs have even demonstrated an ability to form social bonds with humans 10,14 . Although the leading force behind dog domestication remains unclear, it is certain that these behavioural adaptations, including docility and the ability to form social bonds with humans, are important factors which enabled dogs to be incorporated into human society. ...
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The dog ( Canis familiaris ) was the first domesticated animal and hundreds of breeds exist today. During domestication, dogs experienced strong selection for temperament, behaviour, and cognitive ability. However, the genetic basis of these abilities is not well-understood. We focused on ancient dog breeds to investigate breed-related differences in social cognitive abilities. In a problem-solving task, ancient breeds showed a lower tendency to look back at humans than other European breeds. In a two-way object choice task, they showed no differences in correct response rate or ability to read human communicative gestures. We examined gene polymorphisms in oxytocin, oxytocin receptor, melanocortin 2 receptor, and a Williams–Beuren syndrome-related gene (WBSCR17), as candidate genes of dog domestication. The single-nucleotide polymorphisms on melanocortin 2 receptor were related to both tasks, while other polymorphisms were associated with the unsolvable task. This indicates that glucocorticoid functions are involved in the cognitive skills acquired during dog domestication.
... For example, several studies demonstrated that order effects, inherent to the full version of the SST methodology, can alter the way dogs respond the owner or stranger depending on the order in which they entered after the dog had been left alone (Palmer & Custance, 2008;Rehn et al., 2013). In addition, the traditional version of the SST adapted for dogs did not include a condition where their caregiver returned directly after an absence; instead, the phase in which dogs remained alone for 3 minutes was immediately followed by the stranger entering the room and interacting with the dog before the caretaker returned (Prato-Previde et al., 2003). Furthermore, length of testing time (> 21 minutes for the full SST) and differences in how dog attachments were categorized compared to the human literature were raised as additional concerns (Rehn et al., 2013;Thielke et al., 2017;Wanser & Udell, 2018 (Harlow, 1958). ...
Chapter
The capacity for dogs to form attachment bonds to humans has been recognized by scientists for over two decades. However, evaluations of dog-human attachment styles, including to what extent dogs experience attachment security with their human caregivers, are relatively new. In humans, the development of secure attachments is considered a predictor of social wellbeing and positive cognitive outcomes including future relationship success, persistence, mental wellbeing and executive functioning. A better understanding of dog-human attachment relationships could have important scientific and applied implications. Here we provide an overview of attachment research as it relates to the dog-human bond, and take a closer look at one experimental approach, the Secure Base Test (SBT), currently used to evaluate dog-human attachment styles.
... Just as people can develop an intimate emotional connection with their children, they can also have strong emotional bonds with their pets. The patterns of attachment behaviors between pets and pet owners are consistent with those of infants and their parents [22]. For example, previous studies have found that humans are sensitive to the baby schema effect of animals, which serves as an innate releasing mechanism in adults to protect and nurture them [23]. ...
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A growing number of young people tend to regard their pets as their surrogate children, yet research examining the relationship between pet attachment and fertility intention remains scarce. Moreover, individuals’ fertility intention is affected by economic resources. Therefore, we conducted two studies to examine the interaction effect of pet attachment and subjective socioeconomic status (SES) on childbearing-aged individuals’ fertility intention. In Study 1, we utilized questionnaires to measure Chinese pet owners’ pet attachment, subjective SES, and fertility intention. In Study 2, participants’ pet attachment was experimentally manipulated by reading articles about the benefits of petkeeping. The results of the two studies consistently demonstrated that the effect of pet attachment on fertility intention was moderated by subjective SES. Specifically, pet attachment was negatively associated with fertility intention when individuals had a high level of subjective SES, whereas this effect disappeared when individuals had low subjective SES. These findings suggest an explanation for why individuals with high subjective SES delay or even opt out of childbearing. The limitations and implications of the current study are discussed.
... Dog characteristics recorded were breed, sex, age-group and years owned. Indicators of seizure odour response by the 19 untrained dogs were those which were most frequently reported in other studies of this topic; intense staring at the owner, close-proximity to the owner, and pawing or nudging the owner [1][2][3][4][5]8,48,[52][53][54][55][56][57][58]. ...
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Epilepsy is a debilitating and potentially life-threatening neurological condition which affects approximately 65 million people worldwide. There is currently no reliable and simple early warning seizure-onset device available, which means many people with unstable epilepsy live in fear of injury or sudden death and the negative impact of social stigmatization. If anecdotal claims that untrained dogs anticipate seizures are found to be true, they could offer a simple and readily available early warning system. We hypothesized that, given the extraordinary olfactory ability of dogs, a volatile organic compound exhaled by the dog’s epileptic owner may constitute an early warning trigger mechanism to which make dogs react by owner-directed affiliative responses in the pre-seizure period. Using 19 pet dogs with no experience of epilepsy, we exposed them to odours that were deemed to be characteristic of three seizure phases, by using sweat harvested from people with epilepsy. The odours were delivered to a point immediately under a non-epileptic and seated pet dog owner’s thighs. By altering the alternating odours emerging from sweat samples, captured before seizure, during a seizure and after a seizure, and two nonseizure controls, we were able to record the response of the 19 pet dogs. Our findings suggest that seizures are associated with an odour and that dogs detect this odour and demonstrate a marked increase in affiliative behaviour directed at their owners. A characteristic response of all 19 dogs to seizure odour presentation was an intense stare which was statistically significant, (p < 0.0029), across the pre-seizure, seizure and post-seizure phases when compared to control odours of nonseizure origin.
... Dogs typically show similar displays of excitement when their owners return home to them after a period of absence, and their clear lack of resentment for this has long led humans to believe in the status quo of pet-keeping. Indeed, such displays of excitement and affection lead many owners to believe their pets love them, and it has been shown that dogs are capable of forming attachment bonds similar to human caregiver-infant bonds [3][4][5][6]. However, it is important to consider if it is love based on reciprocity, freedom, and choice. ...
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Stay-at-home regulations in response to COVID-19 have put humans at increased risk of loneliness. Some studies support dog ownership as a protection against loneliness, while other studies have suggested the lockdowns can be used to reflect upon the similar restrictions owners impose on their pets on a daily basis. This study evaluated two novel ways to enrich the lives of pet dogs in the home, while also providing benefits to owners. It was hypothesized that a six-week Dog Assisted Mindfulness (DAM) intervention and a Dog Interactions (DI) intervention would positively impact owner-rated loneliness, mindfulness, and owner–dog emotional attachment, compared to a control group. Seventy-three participants were randomly assigned to each group. Mixed methods ANOVAs found no significant main effects of group, nor any group × time interaction effects. Qualitative analyses revealed common experiences among participants in the two active interventions, including enhanced owner–dog connection, and feelings of relaxation, happiness and engagement both during and after participating in the weekly activities. There was also an added benefit of ‘dog happiness’ in the interactions group. Future studies should investigate this in a more objective manner and in the meantime, regular owner–dog interactions should be encouraged, especially during times of extended lockdown.
... Dogs possess additional characteristics which might suggest the propensity to reciprocate help received from humans. Apart from a long history of dog-human cooperation and communication [36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44] for which dogs appear to have evolved complex social cognitive traits [45,46] (but see Udell et al. [47]), and the development of strong bonds with humans [48][49][50][51][52] which could facilitate reciprocity [53][54][55], dogs seem to distinguish between cooperative and uncooperative humans. For example, in a study investigating deceptive-like behaviour [56], dogs were exposed to a cooperative human who gave them a piece of food and an uncooperative human who did not give them food. ...
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Domestic dogs have been shown to reciprocate help received from conspecifics in food-giving tasks. However, it is not yet known whether dogs also reciprocate help received from humans. Here, we investigated whether dogs reciprocate the receipt of food from humans. In an experience phase, subjects encountered a helpful human who provided them with food by activating a food dispenser, and an unhelpful human who did not provide them with food. Subjects later had the opportunity to return food to each human type, in a test phase, via the same mechanism. In addition, a free interaction session was conducted in which the subject was free to interact with its owner and with whichever human partner it had encountered on that day. Two studies were carried out, which differed in the complexity of the experience phase and the time lag between the experience phase and test phase. Subjects did not reciprocate the receipt of food in either study. Furthermore, no difference was observed in the duration subjects spent in proximity to, or the latency to approach, the two human partners. Although our results suggest that dogs do not reciprocate help received from humans, they also suggest that the dogs did not recognize the cooperative or uncooperative act of the humans during the experience phase. It is plausible that aspects of the experimental design hindered the emergence of any potential reciprocity. However, it is also possible that dogs are simply not prosocial towards humans in food-giving contexts.
... Lastly, dogs that went farther from their homes, often sat, laid, or stood around (passive behaviours) in the presence of their caregivers. In the literature, passive behaviours are controversially interpreted; Prato-Previde et al. (2003) for example suggested that they are related to secure base behaviours, whereas Mongillo et al. (2013) believe that they rather actively suppress behavioural signs or emotional distress (Topál et al., 1998). Therefore, we abstain from interpreting passive behaviours in our study and see further research need here. ...
Article
Domestic dogs have a close and mutualistic relationship with humans. When unconfined, they usually stay close to the owner’s home, but some undertake intensive forays in nature with negative impacts on wildlife. Predictors for such problematic dogs in previous research concentrated on dog characteristics and husbandry. Here we additionally explored which aspects of the dog-human bond influenced the movements of free-ranging village dogs in southern Chile. Using an interdisciplinary framework, we assessed the strength of this relationship through (i) attachment behaviours performed during the Strange Situation Procedure (SSP, dog’s perception of the relationship) and (ii) the Monash Dog-Owner Relationship Scale questionnaire (MDORS, owner’s perception) in 41 dog-owner dyads while remotely monitoring the dogs’ movements using GPS tracking (n = 36394 locations). We found that 39% of dogs had > 5% of their locations in natural areas, but only three individuals exhibited overnight excursions. Home range size (1.8 – 4227 ha) and mean distances to the owner’s home (0 – 28.4 km) varied greatly among individuals. Through generalized linear models we identified that dogs had larger home ranges, moved farther away from home or accessed nature more (i.e., they exhibited more intensive forays) when they explored more, greeted their owners intensively, and expressed more passive behaviours in the presence of their owners (SSP). However, the MDORS questionnaire was a poor predictor of home range, distance to home and access to nature. When considering the dogs’ background, older dogs, males, and dogs that got missing more frequently exhibited more intensive forays. Compared to SSP results in confined dogs, we suggest that owners of free-ranging dogs do not play an important role as an attachment figure. We conclude that the dog-owner bond indeed influences roaming behaviour in dogs. This highlights the necessity of wildlife management strategies considering the cultural context. In specific terms, we recommend to foster the knowledge of the importance of bonds between dogs and their owners in educational campaigns on responsible dog ownership, along with biological (age, sex) and behavioural characteristics (exploration, getting missing). That way, awareness campaigns can focus on owners of possible problematic dogs.
... With regard to the relationship between the dog and the zootherapist veterinarian, dogs appear to be particularly sensitive to the relationship with their owners, as it gives them a sense of security and confidence [23,71,72]. The mutual trust and empathy within the relationship between the dog and the zootherapist veterinarian may have functioned as a basis for the emotional regulation of the group. ...
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Emotion comprehension (EC) is a crucial competence for children, as it determines the quality of peer interactions. This study assessed the efficacy of an animal-assisted education (AAE) intervention with dogs based on the Federico II Model of Healthcare Zooanthropology (FMHZ) to promote EC in a group of primary school children. One hundred and four children (48 females) aged 6–7 years took part in the study, of whom 63 participated in the AAE intervention (i.e., experimental group) and 41 did not (i.e., control group). The intervention was deployed in a school setting through a group format and consisted of five bimonthly sessions. EC was assessed pre- and post-intervention, and at a 3-month follow-up. Student’s t-test and mixed-model ANOVA were performed to analyze the effect of the intervention on EC. EC significantly improved in children of the experimental group compared to the control group. Significant time effects from pre- to post-intervention, post-intervention to follow-up, and pre-intervention to follow-up assessment were found in the experimental group only. AAE based on FMHZ was effective in improving EC in children.
... Domestic dogs are a good model to investigate the hormonal correlates of social behaviours and social bonds since they form affective and enduring bonds both with conspecifics [14,23,84] and humans [69,83]. An increasing body of data supports the role of the oxytocinergic system in the modulation of dog-human social interactions ( [47]; for a review see [17]). ...
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The relationship between dogs and their owners is characterized by an affective and enduring bond. It has been suggested that oxytocin might be the underlying mechanism driving this relationship, however evidence is mixed. In this study we tested whether intranasally administered oxytocin (compared to saline) would influence dogs’ behavioural synchrony and shared attention towards their owners. Each individuals’ pre and post administration oxytocin concentrations (measured in urine) were included in the analyses. Urinary oxytocin concentrations after administrations were positively associated with dogs’ duration of social proximity and looking behaviours towards their owners supporting the role of oxytocin in modulating dogs’ human-directed social behaviours.
... Therefore, considering the subgroup of dogs in the calm calling owner condition that opened the door, this behavior may have aimed to restore social contact with the owners. In this sense, it has been observed that dogs exhibit proximity seeking behaviors when their owner is absent (Palmer and Custance 2008;Prato-Previde et al. 2003) and establish more physical contact with the owner, rather than an unfamiliar person, after a short separation (Rehn et al. 2014b;Topál et al. 1998). ...
Article
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Rescue behavior is a kind of prosocial response that involves the provision of help to a stressed individual. This behavior has been observed in domestic dogs assisting their owners when they pretended to be trapped. Given the role of the hormone oxytocin as a facilitator for prosocial behavior, we aimed to evaluate the effects of its intranasal administration on the rescue behavior of dogs directed to their owners. In addition, we used the Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale (MDORS) to assess whether the dog-owner bond was associated with this behavior. After receiving either oxytocin or saline, dogs participated in a stressed condition in which their owner pretended to be stressed inside of a box, or a control one, in which the owner was in a calm state. Dogs released their owners more frequently in the stressed condition. Contrary to our expectations , dogs who received oxytocin were less likely to open the box and took longer to do so than those that received saline. Regarding the dog-owner bond, dogs in the stressed condition who received oxytocin exhibited a lower rate and a higher latency of openings the more intense the bond was, while the opposite pattern was observed in dogs in the control condition who received saline. In conclusion, dogs would rescue their owners when they pretended to be trapped and stressed. Both oxytocin administration and the bond with the owner appear to modulate this behavior, but further studies are needed to inquire into the involved mechanisms.
... Through over 10,000 years of domestication, dogs have been selectively bred for their sociocognitive abilities but also their infantile characteristics and attachment to humans [23,36]. Therefore, it is not surprising that our relationships with dogs have been shown to be consistent with an attachment, similar to that of children and their parents [39,44,55]. Similarly, dogs also follow the same cues that human infants and young children use to determine when someone is communicating to them [30]. ...
... The relevance of the caregiving system to owner-dog interactions has been hinted upon for decades: people view dogs as child-like and the care provided to both has a resemblance (Voith, 1985;Archer, 1997;Prato-Previde et al., 2003. As an example, several studies indicate how owners used higher pitched voices or so-called 'infant-directed speech' when interacting with their dogs (Burnham et al., 2002;Prato-Previde et al., 2006;Gergely et al., 2017). ...
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Dogs need to adapt to a human environment to enhance their welfare and to avoid risks of undesired dog behaviour and relinquishment. Crucial to this adaptation may be how an owner interacts with the dog. Owner–dog interactions may be influenced by the human caregiving system with regard to how care, protection and resources are provided. This narrative review discusses how a consideration of the human caregiving system can benefit owner–dog interactions. Literature suggests that the human caregiving system and parenting styles could influence owner–dog interactions. Owner–dog education may improve these interactions. However, studies on owner–dog education present mixed outcomes for the dog. Also, only a few studies address owner outcomes, indicating a gap that needs filling. It is concluded that, when intervening in owner–dog interactions, more attention should be directed to aspects of human psychology. Dog-directed parenting styles can form one strategy as to improve owner–dog interactions and dog welfare.
Article
Dogs and cats are popular companion animals that live together with humans. This special issue provides topics about the scents and olfaction of dogs and cats from the viewpoint of ethology. The first half introduces the significance of odors of feces, urine, and body, which is easily perceived as unpleasant odors, and how to deal with them. The second half mainly introduces the olfactory ability, the application of “Nosework” to animal welfare, and the effects of the owner’s body odor on the attachment behavior, in dogs and cats.
Article
Much of the literature on owner-dog attachment and the influence of personality on the owner-dog relationship has originated in Europe, with few studies in North America. To address this imbalance, 29 owner-dog dyads from a Canadian population were tested in the Strange Situation Test (SST) and owners completed assessments of their own personalities (NEO-FFI-3), the personalities of their dogs (MCPQ-R), and their level of attachment to their dogs (DAQ). Attachment scores were comparable to those in previous research, and all owner-dog dyads were deemed to be securely attached. However, no predicted “matching” of seemingly analogous personality traits (e.g., human and dog Neuroticism) was found, and there was no relationship between dog personality and attachment behaviours during the SST. In contrast, owners with higher Extraversion scores initiated more contact with their dogs in the first reunion episode of the SST (following separation). Owners scoring low on Openness and/or Neuroticism had dogs with higher scores for Training Focus, suggesting that these dogs could more easily attend to a calm, stable owner. Owners who scored high in Openness had dogs with lower Amicability scores, possibly indicating more tolerance of a less desirable dog trait by such owners. Differences between the findings of this study and those conducted in Europe suggest that more emphasis should be given to the possible impact of cultural variation on the behaviours of and perceived relationships between owners and their dogs.
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There is a need for evidence-based interventions that can contribute to more positive treatment outcomes for substance use disorders. Animal-assisted therapy is a supplementary intervention in which certified animals are used in a structured and goal directed manner in the treatment of various health problems. This review aims to systematically investigate and evaluate the available literature and thus hopefully contribute to future research. The electronic searches were performed in the databases PsycInfo, Medline, and Web of Science. Searches of reference lists were also performed. As the research on this particular field is scarce, the inclusion criteria had to allow for a relatively great variation in methods, interventions, and populations. Still, only ten studies were included, of which three were quantitative, six were qualitative, and one was a mixed methods study. All of the included articles examined the effect of AAT in the treatment of substance use disorders. The populations investigated included both women and men aged 13 to 55 years undergoing treatment for substance use disorder. A segregated design was applied, where the quantitative results were pooled using narrative synthesis and the qualitative using metasummary, all of which were combined in a final configuration. Three of the quantitative studies found significant correlations, and the metasummary indicated several reoccurring themes across the qualitative studies. However, a general lack of systematic investigation and an excess of explorative research were identified, and the majority of the articles neglected to report information important for replication. More thorough and systematic investigations are needed. A tentative explanatory model, with a hypothesis generating aim, is presented, in which the qualitative findings function as moderators or mediators of the relationships indicated by the quantitative studies.
Article
The domestic dog has attracted notable attention in relation to the welfare benefits of auditory stimulation. Studies carried out in rescue kennels, an environment in which dogs are prone to chronic stress, have pointed to a calming influence of both classical music and audiobooks. The benefits of auditory stimulation for dogs experiencing more immediate types of stress, however, are still unknown. This investigation thus examined the effect of classical music and the spoken voice in the form of an audiobook on the behaviour of pet dogs in response to separation from their owners, a known short-term stressor. Three conditions of auditory stimulation were employed: (1) a control (the normal environment of the university research room), (2) classical music (Mozart’s Sonata K.448) and (3) an audiobook (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone). The effect of these conditions was explored using two approaches. Study 1 explored the effects of auditory stimulation using a between-subjects design. Sixty dogs were assigned to one of the 3 conditions and exposed to the relevant auditory stimulus for 1-hour. Each dog’s behaviour was recorded every 10 s using a purpose-designed ethogram. Latency data were recorded by video. Results revealed a significant effect of auditory condition on latency to lie down, latency to settle (i.e., lie down for >30 s) and speaker-directed gaze. Dogs exposed to classical music were significantly faster to lie down than animals in the audiobook condition and quicker to settle than animals in the audiobook and control conditions. Subjects in the audiobook condition spent significantly more time gazing at the speaker than animals in the classical music and control conditions. Dogs in the classical music condition also spent significantly more time looking towards the speaker than control animals. Study 2 examined the effects of auditory stimulation using a repeated measures design. Twenty-two dogs were exposed to each condition of auditory stimulation for 30 min, with a period of 10 min between conditions. Each animal’s behaviour was recorded as per Study 1. Only speaker-directed gaze differed significantly between conditions, with animals spending more time looking at the speaker in the audiobook and classical music conditions than the control. Overall, findings point to only a moderately calming effect of classical music, and no apparent welfare benefits of an audiobook, on dogs separated from their owners. The research points to auditory stimulation having little value to dogs in situations of short-term acute stress. Further research is recommended in this field, ideally in a wider variety of contexts than studied thus far.
Chapter
In chapter 6 we review studies exploring how wolves and dogs related to humans. Taken together results show that initial differences between wolves and dogs in their interactions with humans, when revisited, do not often hold up to closer inspection. Moreover, since the first comparisons almost 15 years ago, research on different dog populations has highlighted the strong effect of experience and raising on the human-related behaviours under investigation. Accordingly, when comparisons are carried out on similarly raised, intensely socialized wolves and dogs, differences are either smaller than expected or disappear altogether. Both wolves and dogs have the capacity to establish close preferential bonds with specific people, and this is evident both in tests with puppies and adults. Nevertheless, some differences do emerge. Both in studies at the WSC and in other populations, dogs appear to seek out, and stay in physical contact with humans (whether bonded, familiar, or strangers) more than wolves, even if in some cases this is associated with higher behavioural and physiological signals of stress. Pilot results also suggest that dogs show more greeting, tail wagging, and submissive behaviours towards humans than wolves. Such results point to the possibility that the hierarchical elements of the relationship with humans may differ in wolves and dogs, and this needs further, more direct investigation.
Chapter
Providing behavioral care to animals in special circumstances, such as following a natural disaster or after removal from a cruelty or neglect situation, presents a variety of unique challenges. Following disasters, animals are often held in rudimentary field shelters until they are reunited with their owners or considered unclaimed. Cruelty cases involve populations of animals, such as dogs from organized dogfighting operations and animals from hoarding situations, that present with behavioral needs for safe and humane sheltering. Long‐term holds, often due to legal cases, compound shelter stress over time, which can lead to behavioral decline. These special circumstances represent substantial challenges to maintaining animal welfare. Even when faced with less‐than‐ideal conditions and other limitations, best efforts should be made to prevent, mitigate, or eliminate negative welfare and to facilitate psychological well‐being.
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Dogs and wolves both show attachment-like behaviors to their owners/caregivers, including exploring more in the presence of the owner/caregiver, and greeting the owner/caregiver more effusively after an absence. Concurrent choice studies can elucidate dogs’ and wolves’ relationship to their owners/caregivers by assessing their preference for the owner/caregiver compared to other stimuli. While previous research has used concurrent choice paradigms to evaluate dogs’ and wolves’ preference between humans giving social interaction or humans giving food, no research has explored their preferences for an owner/caregiver compared to food when the food is not delivered by a human. In the current study, we investigated whether dogs and hand-reared wolves preferred their owner/caregiver or food, unassociated with a human, when they had been equally deprived of each stimulus (at least 4 hours). Each canid experienced four trials; we measured first choice and time spent with each alternative. Dogs overall did not show a preference for the owner or food. Wolves, on the other hand, tended to show a preference for food in both measures. We observed a range of individual variation in both measures, although dogs showed more individual variation. The differences we observed between dogs and wolves align with prior research comparing wolf and dog behavior directed towards humans; however, the reasons for this differential responding could be due to a variety of factors beyond phylogeny.
Article
The dog-owner relationship seems to share several features with the child-mother attachment bond. In this review, we will first briefly explain the attachment theory in the context of the child-caregiver relationship in order to provide a background to the dog-owner attachment bond research. Then, we will retrace the steps that led to the current view of the dog-owner relationship as an attachment bond, with a specific focus on those studies that investigated the dog's attachment behavior towards the owner. We will briefly examine the implications of this theory in the field of veterinary clinical ethology and finally discuss its critical points and future directions.
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The Still-face Paradigm has been widely used for the assessment of emotion regulation in infants, as well as for the study of the mother-child relationship. Given the close bond that dogs have with humans, the purpose of this research was to evaluate, through an exploratory descriptive study, the presence of the Still-face effect in dogs. To this end, a group of Beagle dogs were exposed to three one-minute phases in which first, an unknown experimenter interacted actively and positively with each dog (Interaction). Then, suddenly, she interrupted the interaction and remained passive, with a non-expressive face and without speaking or petting the dog (Still-face). Finally, the experimenter reestablished the interaction (Reunion). Our results showed a decrease in affiliative behaviors in dogs during the Still-face phase according to changes in the human’s behavior, a pattern similar to the one previously found in infants. Contrary to expectations, no stress-related behaviors were shown during that phase. A carry-over effect was also observed in the Reunion phase. This study provides information about the human-dog interaction and the effects of its disruption on dogs’ behaviors.
Book
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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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Despite the popular idea that dog owners are often responsible in some way for their animals' behaviour problems, the scientific evidence is scarce and contradictory. Some studies have failed to detect any links between the quality of the owner-dog relationship and the occurrence of behaviour problems, while others suggest that some behaviour problems may be associated with certain aspects of owner personality, attitudes and/or behaviour.Using retrospective data from a sample of 737 dogs, the present study investigated the association between the prevalence of different behaviour problems and various aspects of either owner behaviour or owner-dog interactions. A number of statistically significant associations were detected: (a) between obedience training and reduced prevalence of competitive aggression (P < 0.02), separation-related problems (P < 0.001), and escaping and roaming (P < 0.05); (b) between the timing of the dogs' meal times and the occurrence of territorial-type aggression (P < 0.01); (c) between sleeping close to the owner and increased prevalence of competitive aggression (P < 0.01) and separation-related problems (P < 0.01); (d) between first-time ownership and the prevalence of dominance-type aggression (P < 0.001), separation-related problems (P < 0.05), fear of loud noises (P < 0.001), and various manifestations of overexcitability (P < 0.001); (e) between owners' initial reasons for acquiring a dog and the prevalence of dominance-type (P < 0.001), competitive (P < 0.01) and territorial aggression (P < 0.01). The possible practical implications of these findings are discussed.
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Attachment theory is based on the joint work of J. Bowlby (1907–1991) and M. S. Ainsworth (1913–    ). Its developmental history begins in the 1930s, with Bowlby's growing interest in the link between maternal loss or deprivation and later personality development and with Ainsworth's interest in security theory. Although Bowlby's and Ainsworth's collaboration began in 1950, it entered its most creative phase much later, after Bowlby had formulated an initial blueprint of attachment theory, drawing on ethology, control systems theory, and psychoanalytic thinking, and after Ainsworth had visited Uganda, where she conducted the 1st empirical study of infant–mother attachment patterns. This article summarizes Bowlby's and Ainsworth's separate and joint contributions to attachment theory but also touches on other theorists and researchers whose work influenced them or was influenced by them. The article then highlights some of the major new fronts along which attachment theory is currently advancing. The article ends with some speculations on the future potential of the theory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Fifty-one owner-dog pairs were observed in a modified version of M. D. S. Ainsworth's (1969) Strange Situation Test. The results demonstrate that adult dogs (Canis familiaris) show patterns of attachment behavior toward the owner. Although there was considerable variability in dogs' attachment behavior to humans, the authors did not find any effect of gender, age, living conditions, or breed on most of the behavioral variables. The human-dog relationship was described by means of a factor analysis in a 3-dimensional factor space: Anxiety, Acceptance, and Attachment. A cluster analysis revealed 5 substantially different classes of dogs, and dogs could be categorized along the secure-insecure attached dimensions of Ainsworth's original test. A dog's relationship to humans is analogous to child-parent and chimpanzee-human attachment behavior because the observed behavioral phenomena and the classification are similar to those described in mother-infant interactions.
Article
Attachment theory is based on the joint work of John Bowlby (1907-1991) and Mary Salter Ainsworth (1913- ). Its developmental history begins in the 1930s, with Bowlby's growing interest in the link between maternal loss or deprivation and later personality development and with Ainsworth's interest in security theory Although Bowlby's and Ainsworth's collaboration began in 1950, it entered its most creative phase much later, after Bowlby had formulated an initial blueprint of attachment theory, drawing on ethology, control systems theory, and psychoanalytic thinking, and after Ainsworth had visited Uganda, where she conducted the first empirical study of infant-mother attachment patterns. This article summarizes Bowlby's and Ainsworth's separate and joint contributions to attachment theory but also touches on other theorists and researchers whose work influenced them or was influenced by them. The article then highlights some of the major new fronts along which attachment theory is currently advancing. The article ends with some speculations on the future potential of the theory.
Article
The purpose of this study was to determine if dogs that were treated ‘like a person’ or that had not been obedience trained were more likely to exhibit owner-reported behavior problems than dogs not treated in those ways. A questionnaire, comprising 75 items, was available in the waiting room of the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania throughout 1981. Responses to 11 questions answered by 711 different respondents, each from a different household, were analyzed. Nine questions related to treating the dog ‘like a person’ (either spoiling the dog or viewing it anthropomorphically), and the other two asked whether or not the dog had had formal obedience training and whether or not the dog had engaged in a behavior that the owner considered a problem. Results of a series of chi-square analyses failed to reveal that problem behaviors were related to obedience training, ‘spoiling’, or anthropomorphic activities. Further, a discriminant analysis was unable to identify any variable (item), including obedience training, ‘spoiling’ activities, or anthropomorphic attitudes, that distinguished between dogs engaging and not engaging in problem behaviors. Eight variables were then factor analyzed, resulting in four factors which counted for 71.15% of the variance. The factors, which pertained to owners sharing food with their dog, taking the dog along on trips or errands, dog comfort or resting places, and anthropomorphic attitudes, were analyzed along with the obedience training and behavior problem variables in an ANOVA. The results showed that dogs whose owners interacted with them in an anthropomorphic manner, ‘spoiled’ them in certain ways, or did not provide obedience training were no more likely to engage in behaviors considered a problem by the owner than were dogs not viewed anthropomorphically, ‘spoiled’ by their owner, or given obedience training.
Article
The wide consensus in research with regard to the modernity of keeping companion animals lies behind the prevailing conclusions about attitudes toward the canine species in pre-modern societies. These were reviewed mainly from a utilitarian perspective. Characterized, in part, by the protective shelter of the extended household and, as such, free of the tensions affecting the nuclear family in industrial cities, pre-modern societies supposedly lacked in the emotional stress and indigence that condition or encourage dog keeping. A careful examination of the sources, both narrative and pictorial, however, suggests more ambivalent attitudes thus challenging widespread research premises and justifying further analysis. This study, covering rural and urban societies in the ancient and medieval periods, examines references to dogs as companion animals in traditional societies.
Article
This article examines whether the human-companion animal relation, and in particular attachment, can be explained and understood with the help of attachment theory and the “internal working model.” The (perceived) social support and responsivity of the human-animal bond and how these relate to the attachment theory are also discussed. The research, however, found only weak relationships between owning a companion animal and attachment. Other factors that could influence the attachment of owners toward their animals are discussed.
Article
The first section, "Overview of Attachment Theory," provides an updated primer on the theory. The second section of the volume, "Biological Perspectives," stems from J. Bowlby's reliance on ethology and primate research in the creation of attachment theory. The third section of the volume, "Attachment in Infancy and Childhood," contains 3 chapters that provide an overview of empirical research on patterns of attachment in infancy and childhood. The fourth section, "Attachment in Adolescence and Adulthood," contains chapters growing out of Bowlby's early contention that attachment characterizes humans "from the cradle to the grave." The fifth section of the volume, "Clinical Applications of Attachment Theory and Research," contains chapters that reflect the strong roots of attachment theory in clinical psychology and psychiatry, and the contributions that the theory and associated research can now make to clinical work. The final section of the volume,"Emerging Topics and Perspectives," provides a sampling of the wide array of areas into which attachment theory and research are being extended. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
In observations of African babies 13 patterns of attachment behavior toward the mother as a special person were catalogued. The baby is active and takes initiative in forming attachments. Attachment can be maintained through a middle distance through distance receptors. Babies become attached to others than the mother, people who merely play and interact with them. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Various studies have established the importance of olfactory cues in the relational systems between conspecifics by the canids and humans. The study of the behaviour of dogs towards children with clothes impregnated with body odours has led to the definition of different functions of olfaction in interspecific relational systems. An experimental situation in kennels details the behaviour of dogs in response to different combinations of visual and olfactory stimulations reproduced with a realistic child dummy. The discussion of the results deals with the contingent socio-cognitive abilities of pet dogs and their relational strategies based on the integration of different sensory modalities present in the ‘social’ stimulations.
Article
Centuries of domestication of animals by civilised man have had many measurable effects on the various species involved, but only in relatively recent history has scientific curiosity been directed to assessing their extent. The process of domestication is analysed and its known effects on animals reviewed through observations of and experiments with various species of domesticated animals conducted by researchers into animal psychology and biology. The known facts on the effects of domestication in animals are extrapolated in an attempt to determine to what extent modern man himself has been domesticated in the urban environment.
Article
Attachment theory is extended to pertain to developmental changes in the nature of children's attachments to parents and surrogate figures during the years beyond infancy, and to the nature of other affectional bonds throughout the life cycle. Various types of affectional bonds are examined in terms of the behavioral systems characteristic of each and the ways in which these systems interact. Specifically, the following are discussed: (a) the caregiving system that underlies parents' bonds to their children, and a comparison of these bonds with children's attachments to their parents; (b) sexual pair-bonds and their basic components entailing the reproductive, attachment, and caregiving systems; (c) friendships both in childhood and adulthood, the behavioral systems underlying them, and under what circumstances they may become enduring bonds; and (d) kinship bonds (other than those linking parents and their children) and why they may be especially enduring.
Article
Cat and dog owners appear to be equally attached to their pets, engage in similar behaviors, and hold similar opinions regarding their pets. The universality and strength of this attachment may be because household pets fit into the biological attachment system that exists to bond parents and children. Additionally, pets may convey a feeling of security or a sense of well-being that is rooted in our evolutionary past.
Article
3 theoretical approaches to the origin and development of the infant-mother relationship are reviewed: psychoanalytic theories of object relations, social learning theories of dependency (and attachment), and an ethologically oriented theory of attachment. "Object relations," "dependency," and "attachment," although overlapping, are seen to differ substantially. Among the concepts in regard to which there are significant intertheoretical differences, the following are discussed: genetic "biases," reinforcement as compared with activation and termination of behavioral systems and with feedback, strength of attachment behavior versus strength of attachment, inner representation of the object, intraorganismic and environmental conditions of behavioral activation, and the role of intraorganismic organization and structure. Finally, the relation between theory and research methods is considered.
Article
The concepts of attachment and attachment behavior are considered from an ethological-evolutionary viewpoint. Attachment behavior and exploration are viewed in balance, and the biological functions of each are discussed. As an illustration of these concepts, a study is reported of 56 white, middle-class infants, 49-51 weeks of age, in a strange situation. The presence of the mother was found to encourage exploratory behavior, her absence to depress exploration and to heighten attachment behaviors. In separation episodes such behaviors as crying and search increased. In reunion episodes proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining behaviors were heightened. In a substantial proportion of Ss, contact-resisting behaviors were also heightened in the reunion episodes, usually in conjunction with contact-maintaining behaviors, thus suggesting ambivalence. Some Ss also displayed proximity-avoiding behavior in relation to the mother in the reunion episodes. These findings are discussed in the context of relevant observational, clinical, and experimental studies of human and nonhuman primates, including studies of mother-child separation. In conclusion, it is urged that the concepts of attachment and attachment behavior be kept broad enough to comprehend the spectrum of the findings of this range of studies.
Distribution of attachment classi cations in nursery chimpanzees
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