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Free-ranging dogs, Canis lupus familiaris, are an integral part of the human environment in India and many other countries. They can serve as the perfect model system for understanding the process of development of the human–dog relationship that led to the domestication of the wilder ancestors of the dogs and created ‘man’s best friend’. Yet, very little is known about the ecoethology of these animals and all our understanding of dog behaviour is based on studies of pets reared by humans. The free-ranging dogs lead a scavenging life, depending on human excesses for their survival, and rarely hunt. They are often considered as a menace by many people, as dirty animals that bark, bite and spread rabies. These notions are often founded on personal biases and little scientific data exist to either support or refute such claims. As part of an extended study on the behavioural ecology of free-ranging dogs in India, we carried out random sampling of dog behaviour through censuses in two cities and one township of India. We used our data from 1941 sightings to draw up a time activity budget of dogs during the part of the day when they share the streets with humans. Our analysis reveals that dogs are generally lazy and friendly animals, and their rare interactions with humans are typically submissive. Thus dogs do not usually pose a threat to human wellbeing, and proper management of our refuse and a tolerant, if not friendly attitude towards dogs can ensure their peaceful co-existence with us.
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CURREN T SCIENC E, VOL. 106, NO. 6, 25 MARCH 2014 874
*For correspondence. (e-mail: abhadra@iiserko l.ac.in)
A dog’s day with humans – time
activity budget of free-ranging dogs
in India
Sreejani Sen Majumder1, Ankita Chatterjee1,2
and Anindita Bhadra1,*
1Behaviour and Ecolo gy Lab, Depar tment of Biological Science s,
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata,
Mohanpur, Nadia 741 25 2, I ndia
2Present addres s: National Institut e of Biomed ical Ge nomics,
Kalyani 741 251, Ind ia
Free-ranging dogs, Canis lupus familiaris, are an inte-
gral part of the human environment in India and
many other countries. They can serve as the perfect
model system f or unde rstanding t he process of deve -
lopment of t he human–dog relationship that le d to the
domestication of t he wilder ancestors of the dogs a nd
created man’s best frie nd’. Yet, very little is known
about t he e coethology of these animals and all o ur un-
derstanding of dog behaviour is based on studies of
pets reare d by humans. The free-ranging dogs lead a
scaveng ing life, depending on human exce sses for their
survival, and rarely hunt. They are often considere d
as a menace by many people, as dirty animals t hat
bark, bite and s pread rabies. These notions are ofte n
founded on personal biases and little scientific data
exist to eithe r support or ref ute such claims. As part
of an extended study on the behavioural ecology of
free-ranging dogs in India, we ca rried out random
sampling of dog behavio ur through censuses in two
cities and o ne towns hip of India. We use d o ur data
from 1941 sig htings to draw up a time activity budget
of dogs during the part of the day whe n they share t he
streets with humans. Our analysis reveals that dogs
are ge nerally lazy and friendly animals, and their rare
interactions with humans a re typically s ubmissive.
Thus dogs do not usually pose a threat to human well-
being, and proper manageme nt of our refuse and a
tolerant, if not friendly att itude towards dogs can
ensure t heir peaceful co-existence with us.
Keywords: Census, free-ranging dogs, time activi ty
budget, scavengers.
THE dog, Canis lupus familiaris, is known as man’s bes t
friend, and yet, scientific knowledge on the ecoethology
of dogs in their natural habitat is al most non-existent. A
reason for this is pr obably that the presence of unattended
dogs on the streets is forbi dden by law in most wester n-
ized countries, and so, even if such dogs are present, their
activities are interfered by humans, and stabl e social
groups are not formed1. Due to their l ong his tory of do-
mestication dogs have adapted excellently to living with
humans in their homes, isolated from conspecifics. How-
ever, dogs have descended from wolves (Canis lupus
lupus), and like many other canids, they too are capable
of forming stable social groups that are influenced b y the
same factors that affect social organization of wild canid
systems1–5. Dogs that do not have owners and w hose
movements are not li mited by human beings are typically
called free-ranging dogs. These dogs can be interesting
model systems for studying the effects o f d omestication
on their be haviour, a s well as for understanding the evo-
lution of the dog–human relationship in nature.
Free-ranging dogs are a ubiquitous part of the urban
ecology in many developing and under developed coun-
tries like Mexico 6,7, Ecuador8, Zambia9, Zimbabwe1 0,
Italy1 1, India 12, Nepal and Japan1 3. Though dogs in India
have lived outside of human homes for centuries 14, and
have also been used for hunting, they have not undergone
the usual domestication process to become exclusively
pets as i n most developed countries. Dog figurines a nd
remains have been unear thed i n the Indus Valley Civili-
zation1 5 a nd references to dogs can be found in ancient
Indian texts like the Rg Veda, the Puranas, the Maha-
bharata, the Ramayana and the Manu Samhita and i n
many folk tales from across the country. The Agni
Purana classi fies the dog as a village animal, and though
dogs have been considered as outcastes and have been
associated wi th death and evil i n the Hindu culture, the
householder’s daily duty i ncluded feeding the dogs and
outcastes16. The European i nflue nce has introduced pedi-
greed dogs to the homes of the middle class and elite
society, but the India n Native dog (IN dog) or Indian
pariah dog has co ntinued to live on the s treets, depe nding
on garba ge and begged food for sus tenance 17.
The free-ranging dogs in India have a wide distributi on
ranging from ci ties to forest fringes3,17,18. Typicall y the y
have mongrel characteris tics, with poi nted ears, very
short fur, wolf-like poi nted faces and patch baldness in
their coats. They live in small groups or singly o n s treets
and depend on garbage and human generosity for their
sustenance17. Competition for food is high and fights are
common at garbage dumps, near roadside food stalls, or
when humans occ asio nally offer food to the dogs. Such
fights ar e sometimes a source of irritatio n for people, a nd
this makes dogs unpopular among many humans. They
breed twice a year, once i n autumn and once i n spri ng,
but a given female usually produces one li tter per year
(qualitative observations). Mortality in early life is quite
high, with less than 50% of the pups surviving beyond
the juvenile stage (Paul et al., in preparation). Though
humans are generally tolerant of dogs, dog–human c on-
flict is not uncommon, and a part of the human pop ula-
tion in India is regularly affected by dog bites.
Rabies is a serio us proble m i n India, with an estimated
2 in 1 00,000 people being affected ever y year19. Since
1985, 25,000–30,000 deaths have been reported due to
rabies i n the co untry2 0. In a multi-centric study based in
six anti-rabies clinics, Ichhp ujani et al.21 reported 1248
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fresh dog bites over a peri od of 18 months. The aggres-
siveness of dogs and their propensity to attack a nd bi te is
often put forth as a justifica tion for culli ng the dog popu-
lation i n cities. Though most repor ted animal bites are by
dogs (91.5%), only about 60% o f these is by free-rangi ng/
stray dogs, while the remaining 40% is by pets2 2. Thus
there is indeed some amount of dog–human conflict on
the streets, but these studies only report the human per-
spective of such conflic t. No studies exist on either the
conflict or c ooperation that dogs receive from humans.
Efficie nt management of a population requires an under-
standing of the behaviour and ec ology of the species, and
in order to mitiga te dog–human conflict in our environ-
ment, scientific understanding of the behaviour o f free-
ranging dogs is necess ary. As dog–human interactions are
maximal during the daylight hours, and so are the inci-
dences of dog-bite23,2 4, we conducted a survey of free-
ranging dogs to draw up their time activity budget duri ng
the human activi ty hours on the streets of India.
We sampled dogs i n three different locations – the
IISER-Kolkata campus at Mohanpur (2294N, 8853E),
West Bengal; the Indian Institute of Science campus at
Bangalore (1298N, 7758E), Karnataka, and the town-
ship of Kalyani (2258N, 8828E), West Bengal. The
three locations were regarded as urban’ co nsideri ng
the definition of urban and r ural India accordi ng to the
Census of India 2001 (ref. 25) and the Natio nal Sample
Survey Organization26 .
Sampling was carried out in the morning (0630–
1030 h), afternoon (1400–1630 h) and evening (1630–
1930 h), when both hu mans and dogs are typically see n
on the streets. We avoided the time between 1030 and
1400 h, as the dogs usually rest in shelters at this time,
avoiding the heat, a nd hence are difficult to find on the
streets ( quali tative observa tions). Though we s ampled
along streets which were mostly lit in the eve ning,
the do gs were often sighted at s pots off the s treets, w here
the li ghting conditions did not allow for accurate obser-
vations. Hence we avoid ed sampling beyond 1930 h.
The observer rando mly picked a road i n the pre-
defined area and started wal king alo ng the same, covering
all byla nes along the road. Whe never a dog was si ghted,
its se x (deter mined by looking at the genitalia), a ge class
(adult or juvenile, determined by the structure of the
genitalia), a nd behaviour a t the time of sighting were
noted. For each dog, only the behaviour seen at the i n-
stance of sighting was recorded. For example, if a dog
was observ ed to be scratching itself and then sniffing
grass, scratching was recorded as the observed behaviour.
Thus we obtained data equivalent to instantaneous scan
sampling of the population. For eac h pre- defined area, a
sampling bout lasted for 2–3 h, and all roads in the area
were covered on foot. The da ta were collected between
August 2008 a nd August 2011, in five phases – one sa m-
pling event each in Kalya ni and IISc, and three sampling
events on the IISER-Kolkata Campus. Thus we obtained
a ra ndom sample spread over di fferent seasons a nd areas,
such that it would be re presentative of the population.
The data were sorted according to behaviours, and the n
the behaviours were sorted into vario us cate gories li ke
inactive, mainte nance, vocalizatio ns, interactions, i ndi-
vidual behaviours and others. We kept vocalizations as a
separate category and did not put these under interactions
because for ev ery vocalization r ecorded, we did not know
the context in which it was produced. While voc alizations
are typicall y used for interactions, we did not always
know who these were directed at, or why. In addition, not
every vocali zation needs to be an interaction. Interactio ns
could be with do gs, humans or other animals like cows
and cats. Dogs were seen to be walking b oth solitarily as
well as with other dogs. However, if we did not see any
direct physical interactions, we co nsidered walking to be
an individual activity, as our sampling methodology did
not allow us to discern if the dog happe ned to be present
with other dogs by chance.
The various behaviours that were recorded and catego-
rized under these headings are provided in Table 1. The
data thus sorted were subjected to statistical analysis
using STATISTICA 7.0 and StatistiXL 1.8.
A total of 1941 free-ranging dog si ghtings were re-
corded a nd used in this analysis. For 1308 dogs we could
record the age class and se x, whereas for the r est data
were not available, though the behaviour was recorded.
We used the entire data to draw up the time ac tivity
budget of the free-ranging dogs, a nd the subset of 1308
dogs for more detailed analysis.
We c ompared the five sampling events over the three
locatio ns for all the five behavioural ca tegories (inactive,
active, vocalizations, maintenance and interac tions) to
check if there were significant variatio ns between sa m-
plings and l ocations. There was no significa nt difference
between the five samples (ANOVA: F4,20 = 1.13 4,
P = 0.369), and hence we could conclude that the overall
behavioural profiles of the dogs i n all our samples were
similar. Thus for all further analysis we pooled the data
from all the five samples under these behavioural catego-
ries.
The dogs were found in a s tate of rest or inactivity in
52.7% of the si ghtings, which was si gnificantly higher
than the cases in which they were fo und i n various states
of activity ( Figure 1 a;
2 test:
2 = 5.46, df = 1, P <
0.019). When the do gs were active, they were sighted
most often as walking, ei ther i ndividuall y or with other
dogs. The d ogs spent 15.66% of their time wal king,
which contrib uted to 4 7.7% of the i ndividual activi ties.
Individual activities were divided into the three sub-
categories of walking, maintenance and other activities,
and the dogs did not show these various behaviours in
equal proportions (
2 test:
2 = 60.49, df = 2, P <
0.0001). The amount of time spent walking was si gnifi-
cantly higher than that spent in maintenance activities
(24.8%) (Figure 1 b;
2 test:
2 = 23.66, df = 1,
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Table 1 . De tails o f catego rizat ion of b ehaviour s used for a nalyse s with the various behaviours included in eac h catego ry
Behavioural category Behavioural subcate gory Beha viours include d
Inactive Sleep, laze, sit
Maintenance Groom, scratc h, defe cate, urinate, drink, eat, e at grass, c hew object, fo od search, forage,
sniff garba ge, beg, follow, receive food
Vocaliza tions Bark, growl, howl, angry ba rk
Dog–dog intera ctions Aggressive Attack, c hase, fight, subm it, bite
Affiliat ive Mock bite, play, allogroo m, sniff d og
Indirect Mark, a ngry bark
Dog–huma n inte ractions Affiliat ive Submit, beg, follow, wag tail, receive food
Individual be haviours Stand, alert, watch, run, walk, jump, inspect ob ject, sniff
Figure 1. a, The time activity b udget o f dogs dur ing the hours of hu-
man ac tivity, between 0630 and 1930 h, calculated from 1941 dog
sightings in three lo catio ns, over 5 d iffer ent p hases of obser vatio n
spanning 3 years. b, The proportion o f time of the total ac tivity period
spent in three differe nt kinds of individua l level activities. The free-
ranging dogs spend most o f their active time (47.7%) in wa lking. Dif-
ferent alphabets signify statistic ally signi fica nt differences between the
values d enoted b y t he bars.
P < 0.0001) , as well as the time spent in other activi ties
like standing, watching, sniffing, etc. considered toge ther
(Figure 1 b;
2 test:
2 = 18.01, df = 1, P < 0.0001). Thus
it can be c oncluded that walking was the most co mmon
individual activity displayed by the dogs. There was no
significant differe nce between the propor tion of time
spent in maintenance behaviours like grooming, scra tch-
ing, foraging, etc. and the pooled be haviours i n the
‘others’ category (Fi gure 1 b;
2 test:
2 = 0.39, df = 1,
P = 0.535).
We po oled all ki nds of vocalizations like bar k, growl,
howl and angr y bark under the category of vocalizations,
which comprised only 3.3% of the activities of the dogs.
Interesti ngly, all interactions recorded, including those
with dogs and humans claimed only 10.9% of the total
23% of the ac tive time of the dogs. Co nsidering these two
categories together, the dogs spent only about 14% of
their total time in any kind of active i nterac tions with
each other or with humans, whether through actual physi-
cal interactions or thro ugh vocali zations. This was si gni-
ficantly lower than the total time spe nt in other
behaviours when the do gs were not sitting idle or res ting
(
2 test:
2 = 144.9764, df = 1, P < 0.0001) . Of the i nter-
actions recorded, 84.7% were with other dogs, which was
significantly higher than the prop ortion of interactions
seen with humans (
2 test:
2 = 101.505, df = 1, P <
0.0001), and onl y two cas es of chasing a calf were recor-
ded (Fi gure 2 a). Of the 32 interactio ns seen with humans
(0.13% of all interactions), none was a ggressive, and 16
were in fact submissive interactions like tail wagging,
submitting and begging for food.
We categorized all instances of interactions between
dogs into aggressi ve, affilia tive or indirect interactions.
Attack, chase, fight, submit and bite were listed under
aggressive interactions; mock bi te, play, allogroom and
sniff dog were categorized as affiliative interactions;
mark and angr y bark (very loud bar k wi th a n alert body
posture) were included in the category of indirect interac-
tions. We also noted that dogs produce three other kinds
of vocali zations – bark, growl and howl, which we did
not use in the cate gory of interactions as dogs can pro-
duce these sounds without havi ng other dogs in the vici n-
ity (for example, when they are in pain), a nd we had no
records of the conte xt i n which the vocalizations had
been recorded. The three kinds of interactions did not
occur i n eq ual freq uencies (Fi gure 2 b;
2 test:
2 =
110.029, df = 2, P < 0.0001), with affiliative i nteractions
comprisi ng 65.21% of all interactions, which was si gnifi-
cantly higher than the two other categories of interactions
taken together (
2 test:
2 = 10.12, df = 1, P = 0.001).
For a s ubset of the da ta (1308 do gs), we had complete
records of the sex and age classes. For the rest, either the
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Figure 2. a, The distr ibution of interactions with dogs, humans and ot her animals, calcula ted o ut of the total number of interac tions of any kind
shown by the dogs in the 1941 sig htings. Most interactions recorded were bet ween d ogs. b, The distribution of inte ractions betwee n do gs into the
categor ies of affiliative, aggressive a nd indirect. Most interactio ns record ed were affiliative in nature. Different a lphabet s denote statistically sig-
nificant diffe rences between the values de noted by the bars.
sex could not be recorded as the genitalia were not visible
during the sampling, or the age class could not be a ccu-
rately de termined. There were a total of 711 females, of
which 168 were juve niles and 597 males, of which 86
were juveniles. The behavioural profiles considering the
proportion of all behaviours of the four kinds of dogs in
the population, namely adult females, adult males, juve-
nile females and juvenile males did not vary from eac h
other (Kruskal–Wallis test:
2 = 0.199, df = 3, p = 0.978).
When the dogs were ca tegori zed according to either age
or sex, we did not see any significant di fferences between
the sexes (Mann–Whi tney U test, U = 850, df = 41,41,
P = 0.934) or between the age classes (Mann–Whitney
U test, U = 892, df = 41,41, P = 0.638). We carried out
similar a nalysis for each category of be haviours sepa-
rately, and found significant differences of interaction
patterns between the sexes a nd between the a ge class es.
Males were more aggressive than females ( Fisher’s exact
test, P = 0.005), and adults were more aggressive than
juveniles (Fis her’s exact test, P = 0.001).
The free-ranging dogs i n India coexist with humans i n
every possible habi tat, and yet, they are often considered
as a menace by many people because of their scave nging
habit, the territorial fights that often e nsue between dog
groups a nd beca use of occasional dog–human conflict
that leads to people being attac ked and bitten by dogs.
Though there is no dearth of dog lovers in the country,
dogs are faced by the challenge of interacting with per-
haps a larger number of people who are intolera nt of
them, and consider the m to be aggressive, unfriendly
animals that should be removed from the streets1 9. This
aversion towards dogs is a socio-cultural pheno menon
that has very deep roots, going b ack to at least three thou-
sand years1 6. Our sa mpling study in two urban habitats
and one se mi-urban habitat in India covered an area o f
approximately 768.5 acres a nd spanned over different
seasons. In five phases, we recorded 1941 dog sightings
during the time of the da y when humans are usually active,
which included both adults and j uveniles of both sexes,
and was thus representative o f the population at large.
Our analysis reveale d that the d ogs are inactive for
over half of the day, either slee ping, lazing or just sitting.
Considering the fact that we sa mpled only during the time
when dogs could ac tually be see n on the streets, and were
not hiding i n shelters, this is actually an underestimate. If
our sa mpling had spanned the entir e day and included the
time that do gs spend resting in their hideouts, the propor-
tion of time spent i nactive would have been higher. These
results match the obs ervations on free-ranging dogs in
Berkeley, Cali fornia, USA, in which r epeated samplings
were carried out in a 48 ha residential area for 7 months27.
In this study, 1243 si ghtings were made on about 50
unique free-ranging dogs, w hich were found to be r esting
in 44. 4% of the si ghtings. This s tudy also reported that
free-ranging dogs were most abundant i n the early morn-
ings and la te afternoo ns, with the percentage of dogs
found to be resting increasi ng with temperature, for an
observed temperature range of 929C. Though we did
not record the tempera ture during our sampling, the aver-
age temperature range during our observations was
8–36C, considering all the time periods and the three
locatio ns covered, wi th the mean tempera ture ranging
from 18C to 30C (www.wunder ground.com/history).
Given that we did not sample ver y earl y in the morning
and i n the middle o f the day, the actual temperature
would have been higher than the minimum and lower
than the maximum, and hence closer to the mean range.
When the dogs were not resting, they were most often
seen to be wal king. Since our sampling was base d on
random sightings, we di d not have any method for re-
cording the p urpose of this walking. Dogs typically wal k
in search o f food, a nd also for marking their territories.
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Often they seem to be wal king randomly, the purpose of
which ca n be r evealed only through detailed behavioural
observations on focal individuals and groups. Interaction
rates were found to be quite low, and all recorded instances
of i nteraction with humans were submissive. Thus, this
analysis does not support the general notion of free-
ranging dogs being aggressive, unfriendly animals that
are a constant source of nuisance to people on the streets
of India.
Dogs bark and howl, often producing a chor us reminis-
cent of their wolvine ancestry, and this makes them score
low with many humans. Many encounters between do gs
are often interrupted by people who chase them away,
often by throwi ng stones or dousing them with wa ter.
However, dogs were sighted produci ng some sound in
only 65 cases, which was 3.34% of the total observations.
Thus, the perception of dogs as noisy and aggressive
creatures that prese nt a threat to human well-being is
quite ill-founded and biased. However, i t is true that
many dogs in the Indian streets are rabid, and do g bites
do occur, though these are no t regular incidents as per-
ceived by some28. Dogs are efficient scavengers, and are
responsible for removal of a large part of our garbage
from the streets (Anandar up Bhadra, unpublished data).
Though we need detailed ob servational data for a better
understanding of the behavioural ecolo gy o f the free-
ranging dogs, this preliminary s tudy sugges ts that the
general perception of these dogs as a nuisance is quite
flawed. We would like to argue that the sol ution to do g–
human conflict is not c ulling, but efficient manage ment
of garbage and rabies in the country, and a positive attitude
towards the animals that are otherwise know n to be man’s
best friend.
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The New York T imes, 6 August 2012.
ACKNOW LEDGEMEN TS. This wor k was c arried out entirely in the
field, and no ani mals were harmed during the obse rvations. We thank
Manabi Paul, IIS ER-Ko lkata, for help with ana lysis. We also thank the
Council o f Scie ntific and Industria l Research, New De lhi; Ind ian
Nationa l Sc ience Acade my, Ne w Delhi and IISER-Kolka ta, fo r provid-
ing funds. We tha nk Prof. Raghavendra Gadagkar (IISc, Bangalore),
for use ful co mments that helped improve the manuscr ipt.
Received 13 J une 2013 ; revised acce pted 20 February 20 14
... He pointed out that the observed absence of activity at midday during summer might be interpreted as heat avoidance (Beck, 1975). A study investigating FRDD in an urban environment in India revealed that dogs concentrated their activity on times of higher activity of humans in the streets (Majumder et al., 2014). Thus, the dogs were active primarily between 6:30-10:30 h and again between 16:30-19:30 h, and spent the middle of the day mostly resting (Majumder et al., 2014). ...
... A study investigating FRDD in an urban environment in India revealed that dogs concentrated their activity on times of higher activity of humans in the streets (Majumder et al., 2014). Thus, the dogs were active primarily between 6:30-10:30 h and again between 16:30-19:30 h, and spent the middle of the day mostly resting (Majumder et al., 2014). Such a bimodal activity distribution was also observed in wild canids, such as wolves (Canis lupus) and red fox (Vulpes vulpes), in different environments, suggesting that the linkage with human activity cannot be the only reason for this pattern (Boitani and Cuicci, 1995;Kusak et al., 2005;Theuerkauf et al., 2003;Zingaro and Boitani, 2018). ...
... A recent study demonstrated that FitBark measurements are highly correlated with observations of dogs' off-leash physical activities (Colpoys and DeCock, 2021). Thus, activity tracking is a useful tool to complement observational studies (Bhattacharjee and Bhadra, 2020;Majumder et al., 2014) of the activities of free-roaming dogs. ...
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Although free-roaming domestic dogs (FRDD) constitute the majority of the dog population worldwide, many aspects of their ecology across habitats are little known. Activity budgets by these dogs may also inform management decisions for domestic dogs in human hands. Here we collected data on the activity patterns of owned FRDD from Guatemala (n= 58) and Indonesia (n= 37), and of farm dogs (n= 11) and family dogs (n= 20) in Switzerland. The FRDD from the two countries and the Swiss farm dogs shared the similarity that although they had owners, they spent most or all of the day outside without confinement. Conversely, activity in family dogs is largely controlled by their owners. This cross-continental study thus allowed us to tease apart environmental effects on dogs’ activity from effects due to different levels of control by humans. Dogs were collared with FitBark activity trackers, which measure 3D acceleration, for 2.4 to 7 days. Activity for each dog was defined as the sum of BarkPoints (a continuous activity metric recorded by the FitBark tracker), calculated for each hour in the 24-hour cycle. The proportion of time resting, in ‘moderate’ and ‘high’ activity (defined by fixed thresholds of BarkPoints) over 24 hours was calculated for each dog. The activity patterns of all dogs that (partly) roam freely, i.e. owned FRDD in Guatemala and Indonesia and Swiss farm dogs, showed two peaks over 24 hours during 5:00 to 7:00 h and, less pronounced, 16:00 to 19:00 h. Such a bimodal activity pattern, which is also observed in other canine species, could only be detected in 45% of the family dogs. Their activity is more dependent on the owners’ daily routines and predominantly showed one high mid-day peak that often changes from day to day. Swiss dogs spent significantly more time resting and less time with ‘moderate’ activity than the owned FRDD. However, family dogs were significantly more often highly active than all other dog groups and compensated with longer resting periods. Activity decreased significantly with age, neutering and increased body condition score, whereas sex did not have any significant influence on activity. Within this study, similarities, but also differences of the activity pattern between owned FRDD and pet dogs could be revealed. Although overall activity levels of the pet dog sample fall in the range of those observed in the less controlled FRDD, future research of interest could include the investigation of benefit of a more structured daily schedule for pet dogs.
... Understanding the behavioural and ecological adaptations of such species can provide important insights into the management of urban ecosystems and of mitigating human-wildlife conflict. Urban-adapted species show varied levels of tolerance of humans; while some species are extremely shy of humans, others have adjusted remarkably well to human disturbance (Sen Majumder et al. 2014b;Samia et al. 2015;Schell et al. 2018). Studies on some bird species have found higher flight initiation distances (FID) in populations of birds that are declining due to human disturbance, while species that are tolerant of human disturbance show no population decline (Bjørvik et al. 2015). ...
... Most canids like wolves, jackals, coyotes and foxes, who share the urban ecosystem with humans, tend to avoid direct physical contact or interactions with humans (Kaartinen et al. 2005;Shamoon et al. 2018). Some studies suggest that repeated and prolonged exposure to humans leads to greater tolerance of humans in canid species (Sen Majumder et al. 2014b;Samia et al. 2015;Schell et al. 2018). Among the various species that share the urban habitat with humans, the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is special due to its ability to communicate with and befriend humans. ...
... They are primarily scavengers, showing a high degree of flexibility in their food habits, eating anything from vegetable peels to meat . They are efficient scavengers, using a simple 'Rule of Thumb' to sequester protein-rich food using their olfactory prowess Sarkar et al. 2019) and also have a high degree of flexibility in their interactions with humans (Bhattacharjee et al. 2017;Sen Majumder et al. 2014a, 2014b. Humans, on the one hand, are the major source of food and shelter for the free-ranging dogs and on the other, a cause of morbidity and mortality ). ...
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The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is known to have evolved from gray wolves, about 15,000 years ago. They frequently exist as free-ranging populations across the world. They are typically scavengers and well adapted to living among humans. Most canids living in and around urban habitats tend to avoid humans and show crepuscular activity peaks. In this study, we carried out a detailed population-level survey on free-ranging dogs in West Bengal, India, to understand the activity patterns of free-ranging dogs in relation to human activity. Using 5669 sightings of dogs, over a period of 1 year, covering the 24 h of the day, we carried out an analysis of the time activity budget of free-ranging dogs to conclude that they are generalists in their habit. They remain active when humans are active. Their activity levels are affected significantly by age class and time of the day. In addition, we provide a detailed ethogram of free-ranging dogs. This, to our knowledge, is the first study of this kind, which might be used to further study the eco-ethology of these dogs.
... This could lead to a higher knowledge of dog behavior. Several studies suggest that free-roaming dogs do not engage in a lot of activity during the day (Boitani et al., 2017;Majumder et al., 2014;Sparkes et al., 2014). If DO knew that free-living and free-roaming dogs do not engage in a lot of PA, they might refrain from engaging in drPA as they want to keep their dogs in a speciesappropriate way. ...
... And indeed, Pickup et al. (2017) state that many family dogs do not get enough exercise. However, dogs in free-living or free-roaming conditions are inactive most of the day (Boitani et al., 2017;Majumder et al., 2014;Sparkes et al., 2014). This could lead to a conflict of interest in regard to the PA behavior of dogs and their owners. ...
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Dog ownership has been shown to correlate with physical activity (PA). However, knowledge about the intensities of dog-related PA (drPA) is still lacking. To investigate the duration and intensity of drPA in consideration of PA guidelines, an observational study of dog owners (DO) was conducted. For this purpose, DO were recruited in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan regions of Cologne, Germany. A total of 44 male and female DO (18-64 years) without cardiovascular or cardio-pulmonary diseases participated in the study. Validated questionnaires were used to determine the PA profile and relationship of DO to their dog. Participants reported their drPA in an activity diary. Steps were determined by a pedometer. A heart rate (HR) monitor was used to analyze HR and percentage of maximum HR (HR max) during all drPA. Overall, drPA makes up a large part of the duration of the overall PA recorded. HR and percentage of HR max were significantly lower during dog walking (DW) than during other drPA. Nearly 90% of DW time was performed at light or very light intensity. No correlation between objectively measured PA and attachment to the dog was found. Two single case analyses show that other drPA reach high intensity levels and thus can be rated as moderate to vigorous intensity activities. The current investigation demonstrates that DW alone is insufficient to reach PA guidelines. Consequently, other drPA might have more beneficial effects than DW. In future investigations, the role of other types of drPA on PA levels needs to be taken into consideration to improve PA status in healthy populations.
... This opportunistic exploitation in a human-dominated environment is a spontaneous and enduring population-specific practice underscoring the macaques' abilities of economic behaviour, numerical judgement, delay of gratification, and social learning [72][73][74] . This association of humans as potential food sources is also demonstrated by the begging behaviour displayed by urban animals such as red foxes 75 , dogs 76 , and gulls 77 . ...
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Rapid urbanisation, leading to habitat loss is a major problem for biodiversity conservation. While urbanisation negatively affects the survival of many species, some species are well adapted to the urban environment, often depending on humans directly or indirectly for food and shelter. Such animals show various behavioural adaptations to anthropogenic disturbance, and there are even examples of some exploiting humans for their own advantage. In this review, we use some of these examples to highlight how cognitive and physiological underpinnings of urban-adaptation in some animals can help us to understand how they survive in the human jungle. We propose that more in-depth studies of urban-adapted species are necessary for nurturing biodiversity in the face of urbanisation, and building more sustainable cities for the future.
... Surprisingly, a contrary school of thought exists where authors advocate 'peaceful coexistence' of FRD with humans and describe the latter as scavengers of human refuse and thus important for human settlements (Majumder et al. 2014). In India, where Animal Birth Control (ABC) has been a government-approved policy for dog population management and rabies control, the de-sexed dogs are released back into the localities from where they were originally caught instead of relocating them to dog shelters (Gupta and Gupta 2019). ...
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Rabies is an acute encephalitis caused by a lyssavirus. It is primarily transmitted through bites of infected dogs which results in the worldwide death of an estimated 59000 humans every year. The disease is preventable through the application of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and its elimination has been demonstrated in many countries by applying multiple interventions simultaneously. Nonetheless, rabies is still widespread in many developing countries, primarily due to the poor implementation of intervention strategies that include inadequate dog-bite wound management practices, unavailability/unaffordability of PEP by the communities, failure to control the disease in free-roaming dogs and wildlife, improper dog population management, weak surveillance and diagnostic facilities and a lack of a One Health approach to the disease. In this review, strategies to control dog-mediated rabies through a One Health approach were discussed. We recommend applying multiple interventions against the disease by involving all the concerned stakeholders in selected urban and rural areas of the countries where rabies is endemic. An empirical demonstration of disease freedom in the selected areas through a One Health approach is needed to convince policymakers to invest in rabies prevention and control on the national level. This multifaceted One Health control model will enhance the likelihood of achieving the goal of global rabies eradication by 2030.
... While biting free-ranging dogs can be a significant disease burden (discussed below), dogs are typically submissive in direct interactions with humans (Majumder et al. 2014) and their degree of sociability varies with human movement in urban areas (Bhattacharjee et al. 2021). The perception of dogs by various people groups is often geographically, historically, and culturally nuanced (Serpell 2016). ...
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Synopsis Dogs (Canis familiaris) were the first domesticated species and, at an estimated population of 1 billion individuals, are globally ubiquitous today. Describing the tremendous morphometric diversity and evolutionary origins of dogs is a scientific endeavor that predates Darwin, yet our interdisciplinary understanding of the species is just beginning. Here, I present global trends in dog abundance, activity, and health. While the human–dog relationship has for millennia been close, it is also complicated. As pets, companion dogs are often treated as family members and constitute the largest sector of the ever-growing >$200 billion USD global pet care industry. As pests, free-roaming dogs are an emerging threat to native species via both predation and nonconsumptive effects (e.g., disturbance, competition for resources, and hybridization). Furthermore, I briefly discuss mounting evidence of dogs as not only infectious disease reservoirs but also as bridges for the transmission of pathogens between wild animals and humans in zoonotic spillover events, triggering intensive dog population management strategies such as culling. Dog mobility across the urban-wildland interface is an important driver for this and other adverse effects of canines on wildlife populations and is an active topic of disease ecologists and conservation biologists. Other canine scientists, including veterinary clinicians and physiologists, study more mechanistic aspects of dog mobility: the comparative kinetics, kinematics, and energetics of dog locomotor health. I outline the prevalent methodological approaches and breed-specific findings within dog activity and health research, then conclude by recognizing promising technologies that are bridging disciplinary gaps in canine science.
... A simple geometric uncertainty principle is used wherein the uncertainty of the location of the sensor increases given the number of neighbors is less than 4 (with a lower rate for 3 neighbors) and decreases otherwise at an exponential rate proportional to the number of neighbors. Free-ranging dogs generally exhibit territoriality as studied in [10] and those in the institute have been observed to do so in considerably small pieces of land such as individual hostels and small strips of roads. Similarly, the three sensors in the simulation are constrained within particular regions. ...
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Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are groups of spatially distributed and dedicated autonomous sensors for monitoring (and recording) the physical conditions of the environment (and organizing the collected data at a central location). They have been a topic of interest due to their versatility and diverse capabilities despite having simple sensors measuring local quantities such as temperature, pH, or pressure. We delve into understanding how such networks can be utilized for localization, and propose a technique for improving conditions of living for animals and humans on the IIT Bombay campus.
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Full-text available
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The structure of mammalian carnivore communities is strongly influenced by both intraguild competition and predation. However, intraguild interactions involving the world’s most common carnivore, the domestic dog (Canis familiaris), have rarely been investigated. We experimentally examined the behavioural responses of a small canid, the Indian fox (Vulpes bengalensis), to the presence of dogs and dog odours. Resource competition between dogs and Indian foxes is low, so it is unclear whether foxes perceive dogs as interference competitors. To test this, we exposed foxes to neutral, live dog, and animal odour stimuli at food trays, and recorded the time spent at food trays, the amount of food eaten, and vigilance and non-vigilance behaviours. When dogs were visible, foxes continued to visit the food trays, but reduced the amount of time spent and food eaten at those trays. Foxes were more vigilant during dog trials than during neutral and odour trials and also exhibited lower levels of non-vigilance behaviour (resting and playing). In contrast, dog odours did not affect fox foraging and activity. These results show that vigilance/foraging trade-offs due to interference competition can occur between native and domestic carnivores despite low dietary overlap. These negative effects of dogs on a smaller member of the carnivore guild raise conservation concerns, especially for endangered carnivores. In many parts of the world, free-ranging dog densities are high due to human subsidies, and these subsidized predators have the potential to exacerbate the indirect effects of human presence.