Article

The Effects of Using Aversive Training Methods in Dogs – A Review

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  • The Academic College at Wingate
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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to review a series of studies (N= 17) regarding the effects of using various methods when training dogs. The reviewed studies examined the differences between training methods (e.g., methods based on positive reinforcement, positive punishment, escape/avoidance, etc.) on a dog’s physiology, welfare, and behavior towards humans and other dogs. The reviewed studies included surveys, observational studies, and interventions. The results show that using aversive training methods (e.g., positive punishment and negative reinforcement) can jeopardize both the physical and mental health of dogs. In addition, while positive punishment can be effective, there is no evidence that it is more effective than positive reinforcement-based training. In fact, there is some evidence that the opposite is true. A few methodological concerns arose from the reviewed studies. Among them are small sample sizes, missing data on effect size, possible bias when coding behavior in observational studies, and the need to publish case reports of bodily damage caused by aversive training methods. In conclusion, those working with or handling dogs should rely on positive reinforcement methods, and avoid using positive punishment and negative reinforcement as much as possible.

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... A lack of attention to their dog's welfare can be interpreted as insensitivity to the dog's needs and perhaps also, to the client's welfare. Additionally, a client's witnessing of harsh or aversive responses by the therapist toward their dog's behavior may result in unintended negative therapeutic outcomes (Ziv, 2017). For all of these reasons, it is important to ensure AAT sessions are positive experiences for both the dog and the client (van Fleet, O'Callaghan, Mackintosh, & Gimeno, 2015). ...
... On the other hand, harsh, aversive methods of training can contribute to negative and potentially harmful repercussions (Ng, 2019). Ziv (2017) found that dogs trained with punitive methods exhibit more problematic behaviorsincluding fear and aggression. Many animal welfare and animal behavior organizations (e.g., American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior and Welfare in Dog Training) have written public statements denouncing the use of aversive training methods that inflict pain (e.g., shock collars, choke chains, prong collars), and several countries (e.g., Denmark, Finland, Germany, Austria, and Wales) have banned the use of such collars because of the potential for physical damage to the dogs (Fernandes, Olsson, & Castro, 2017). ...
... Many animal welfare and animal behavior organizations (e.g., American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior and Welfare in Dog Training) have written public statements denouncing the use of aversive training methods that inflict pain (e.g., shock collars, choke chains, prong collars), and several countries (e.g., Denmark, Finland, Germany, Austria, and Wales) have banned the use of such collars because of the potential for physical damage to the dogs (Fernandes, Olsson, & Castro, 2017). Instead, it is suggested that training methods should focus on behaviors that will enhance the partnership between the dog and the human partner (Ziv, 2017). While this kind of training may take longer, it will result in a more trusting relationship that will facilitate the dog's willingness to learn new behaviors. ...
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As science begins to support what we have long intuitively known, that human-animal interactions offer numerous benefits, animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) are becoming increasingly popular. Unfortunately, with the rapid growth of AAIs, many clinicians who include animals lack sufficient knowledge and/or experience in animal behavior and welfare to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all those involved (e.g., the animal, the client, and the clinician). The purpose of this article is to help elucidate some of the complexity involved with integrating dogs into clinical practice so that clinicians can more easily learn to identify, and successfully mitigate, potentially challenging or even injurious situations.
... Dog owners intervene proactively in this process by enlisting the help of dog trainers to teach them how to reinforce desired behaviors and suppress unwanted behaviors through antecedent management and structured lessons [3,4]. Most agree that dog owners (guardians) who learn and employ best practices rooted in reward-based training for managing and preventing undesired behaviors in dogs establish a more trusting and prolonged relationship [5][6][7][8]. ...
... Application of positive training methods, including reward-based operant conditioning, counterconditioning, desensitization, shaping, and luring, has proven effective in improving learning and compliance, lowering distress, and reducing long-term conflict between humans and animals. Training that relies on clear communication, establishing operations, and managing expectations whereby the learner is informed when he/she problem solves correctly has shown to increase the frequency of wanted behaviors for dog owners and lower frustration in dogs [5,7,10]. On the other hand, training methods based on positive punishment and negative reinforcement are related to higher incidences of behavior problems, aggression, and fear and in some studies have been shown to increase stress hormones [7,9]. ...
... Training that relies on clear communication, establishing operations, and managing expectations whereby the learner is informed when he/she problem solves correctly has shown to increase the frequency of wanted behaviors for dog owners and lower frustration in dogs [5,7,10]. On the other hand, training methods based on positive punishment and negative reinforcement are related to higher incidences of behavior problems, aggression, and fear and in some studies have been shown to increase stress hormones [7,9]. Living as companions with humans in a small inter-species social group, dogs become enculturated to the human lifestyle. ...
Article
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An online survey about puppy training was sent to members of the Center for Canine Behavior Studies and posted on our social media platforms. Six hundred forty-one (641) qualifying owners provided information on 1023 dogs. About half (48%) of the dogs involved in the study attended puppy training and the balance (52%) did not. The goal of the study was to find out whether puppy training at various ages (1-3 months, 4 months, 5-6 months) helped prevent behavior problems later in life (≥1 year). Attending training at 6 months of age or younger resulted in 0.71 the odds of developing aggressive behavior (95% CI: 0.53-0.97; p = 0.030), 0.64 the odds of having a compulsive behavior (95% CI: 0.45-0.92; p = 0.015), 0.60 the odds of exhibiting destructive behavior (95% CI: 0.37-0.96; p = 0.035), 0.68 the odds of excessive barking (95% CI: 0.47-0.99; p = 0.043), and 1.56 the odds of house soiling (95% CI: 1.08-2.27; p = 0.019). Ancillary findings about the entire study population were that dogs acquired at 12 weeks of age or younger were found to have 0.65 the odds of fear/anxiety (95% CI: 0.46-0.92; p = 0.016) and 0.50 the odds of exhibiting destructive behavior (95% CI: 0.31-0.79; p = 0.003). In addition, male dogs were found to have 0.68 the odds of developing aggressive behavior (95% CI: 0.53-0.88; p = 0.003), 0.66 the odds of developing compulsive behavior (95% CI: 0.49-0.88; p = 0.006), 0.37 the odds of mounting/humping (95% CI: 0.26-0.52; p < 0.001), and 1.53 the odds of rolling in repulsive materials (95% CI: 1.18-1.97; p = 0.001). Neutered dogs of either sex were found to have 3.10 the odds of fear/anxiety (95% CI: 2.05-4.72; p < 0.001), 1.97 the odds of escaping/running away (95% CI: 1.12-3.69; p = 0.025), 2.01 the odds of exhibiting coprophagia (95% CI 1.30-3.19; p = 0.002), and 1.72 the odds of rolling in repulsive materials (95% CI: 1.12-2.66; p = 0.014). The odds of problematic jumping deceased by 0.84 for each 1-year increase in age (95% CI: 0.80-0.88; p < 0.001).
... Disagreement on what constitutes humane methods is ever apparent in the literature [6] and this is mirrored in professional practice. Methods that are considered aversive generally refer to the use of positive punishment and negative reinforcement, as opposed to reward-based training methods of positive reinforcement [7] and negative punishment [3,8]. Negative punishment is sometimes alternatively categorized as aversive [6], this is because for it to be effective, the experience (removal of something the animal wants) must be sufficiently unpleasant to motivate the change in behaviour. ...
... Companion animals have been reported to be at risk of psychological (and physical) harm with the use of aversive methods of training or equipment [4,6,[8][9][10]. The use of shock collars, for example, has been reported to cause burns in dogs [11] along with fear and pain [12], which can have lasting negative associations for the dog's interactions with humans [12], other animals [13] and the environment [14]. ...
... The use of shock collars, for example, has been reported to cause burns in dogs [11] along with fear and pain [12], which can have lasting negative associations for the dog's interactions with humans [12], other animals [13] and the environment [14]. There is little evidence that aversive training is more or as effective as rewardbased training [8], yet its usage is still common. A survey of 192 United Kingdom dog owners found 72% used some form of positive punishment [4]. ...
Article
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Companion animals are at risk of psychological (and physical) harm if outdated, incorrect or aversive methods of training or equipment are used during training and behavioural modification. Companion animal guardians often engage professional animal behaviour and training services, yet this industry is not regulated in New Zealand. A voluntary national accreditation and registration programme could act to protect the welfare of animals by robustly evaluating the experience, qualifications and training methods of industry professionals. To investigate industry readiness for a national accreditation programme, we conducted an online survey and analysed the responses of 262 animal trainers, behavioural consultants, dog safety educators, veterinarians and veterinary nurses. A national accreditation programme, promoting the use of reward-based training and behavioural modification techniques, was generally supported, especially by individuals holding qualifications and membership of professional organisations. The implementation of such a programme would ensure that those seeking these services are able to source professionals that use best practice when it comes to training and behavioural modification, with lasting benefits to animal welfare.
... The scientific literature mainly focuses on the selection of service dogs [21,22]. As regards to the training procedures, dogs as pets are more studied compared to working dogs [23][24][25]. ...
... Commercial aids available on the market were not used. Training methods-Most of the research performed on dog training procedures is dedicated to pets [24,25]. Documented HRDDs' training methods are scarce and when available, they focus on case studies [13]. ...
... The dog will repeat the behavioral response to the specific stimulus that leads to the higher benefit [83,84]. The latter may Training methods-Most of the research performed on dog training procedures is dedicated to pets [24,25]. Documented HRDDs' training methods are scarce and when available, they focus on case studies [13]. ...
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Human remains detection dogs (HRDDs) are powerful police assets to locate a corpse. However, the methods used to select and train them are as diverse as the number of countries with such a canine brigade. First, a survey sent to human remains searching brigades (Ncountries = 10; NBrigades = 16; NHandlers = 50; Nquestions = 9), to collect their working habits confirmed the lack of optimized selection and training procedures. Second, a literature review was performed in order to outline the strengths and shortcomings of HRDDs training. A comparison between the scientific knowledge and the common practices used by HRDDs brigade was then conducted focusing on HRDDs selection and training procedures. We highlighted that HRDD handlers select their dogs by focusing on behavioral traits while neglecting anatomical features, which have been shown to be important. Most HRDD handlers reported to use a reward-based training, which is in accordance with training literature for dogs. Training aids should be representative of the odor target to allow a dog to reach optimal performances. The survey highlighted the wide diversity of homemade training aids, and the need to optimize their composition. In the present document, key research topics to improve HRDD works are also provided.
... If it is accepted that such a body is organized, yet an administrative body as a manifestation of the executive power of the state and still financed by others, another question arises: to what extent can it be independent and whether that independence is the same or less than that exists in legal systems where registration is conducted by courts? 21 Regardless of which body is entrusted with the competence of company registration, its basic elements remain the same. The provisions governing the manner and procedure of registration are imperative in nature and it is the state that, with its authority, stands behind every piece of information that is registered, with its presumption of truthfulness. ...
... The development of modern medicine has undoubtedly had a great impact on reducing the risk of disease, however, at the same time the increased risk of error is caused not only by errors of professional medical staff but also [13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25] by procedures that become increasingly complex and therefore more risky for the patient and his health. The era of modern medicine begins in the 19th century, which is characterized by a new approach to treatment with the use of modern medical means in diagnosis and treatment. ...
... In theory and practice, this right is recognized, but the main reason for its introduction is not the establishment of an earlier condition, but a certain property satisfaction that should give the patient some satisfaction as a victim of a medical omission after everything she has experienced. 21 The Law on Obligations provides for various types of compensation for material damage. One of them is compensation for damage in the form of a monetary annuity, and the Law states in which cases this is possible. ...
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The paper analyzes the civil law aspects of the responsibility of medical workers and institutions due to the damage caused by the doctors' mistakes in providing medical care. The aim of this paper is to present all the basics of physician responsibility, if it is established that there is a close connection between the error and the proven error and damage caused to the health of the patient, but also to third parties. The issue of medical error is not exclusively related to compensation for damages, since it heavily relies on medical law too. Although mistakes are mainly caused by the wrong actions of the doctors in performing their professional activities, the paper also deals with the responsibility of medical institutions for the damage being caused. An inaccurate definition of the legal nature of doctors' responsibilities, obligations imposed on medical workers by law, the definition of errors in a medical treatment, as well as the legal basis of liability to third parties, indicate that there are many not only legal but also ethical and moral dilemmas requiring the additional attention and analysis, which is also the goal of this paper.
... In addition, dogs who ignore potential adopters when they tried to start playing were less prone to be adopted, thus suggesting that engagement in playtime with potential owners and proximity to them appeared to increase the likelihood of adoption [17]. Thus, given the importance of the positive reinforcement on physical and mental health, several studies about this topic, rather than dogs [18], have also been addressed in other species, such as horses [19]. Moreover, Vieira de Castro and colleagues reported that aversive stimuli lead to high stress-related behaviors in dogs, showing higher cortisol levels even after carrying out the training, and caused them to be more "pessimistic" in a cognitive bias task [20]. ...
... This apparently amazing data should be considered with caution, since adoption is a complex phenomenon, affected by many factors, besides training per se, including appearance, social interaction with the adopter and personality [29,30], as well as the need for humans to improve their social and emotional wellbeing. Accordingly, although there is no significant year effect between dogs' age and 2015-2020 period (Oneway ANOVA: F (5,18) = 0.2465, p = 0.9362), our data showed an overall increase of adoptions in 2020, compared to the previous years, thus suggesting that, under stressful situations, such as that experienced during the forced lockdown, caused by SARS-CoV2 pandemic, humans might require to establish an emotional osmosis with companion animals to get pleasure from them [31]. Thus, to give a reliable support to our findings, more accurate studies, which deal with as many adoption-related factors as possible, are mandatory. ...
Article
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One of the main concerns of the human–dog relationship is today associated with the quality life inside the kennels, which are very often regarded as animal dump where dogs are exiled, representing a burden on society. In the present study we sought to investigate the importance of performing an appropriate behavioral program on the adoption chances within an Italian shelter, near Naples (Ottaviano). In this respect, we enrolled 555 adopted dogs of different ages, who followed a tailored-4-month lasting training program between 2018 and 2020. Once entered there, they were carefully examined by the veterinary behaviorist, and directed towards a suited training program, to improve living conditions. We documented a higher number of both adult and senior dogs who left the kennel and were adopted, compared to the age-matched untrained animals (n = 479), housed in the same kennel from 2015 to 2017. Taken together, the present data highlight an important role for training in improving the natural attitudes of the companion dogs, thus pointing towards a better human–animal bond.
... Where dog training involves aversive or noxious stimuli, this can lead to punishment if dogs do not behave as desired (1,2). A growing understanding of the application of learning theory to dog welfare has led many training organizations, welfare charities and academics to advocate what they consider to be more humane methods, with a greater focus on the use and timing of rewards (3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9). ...
... With good timing, these could result in negative reinforcement, although poor timing or imposition of the noxious stimuli in response to failure to perform the desired behavior would constitute a form of punishment. It has been frequently argued that the use of aversives in dog training results in poorer learning outcomes and poses greater welfare risks compared with largely reward based training (3)(4)(5)(6). Our results demonstrate through direct evidence from real life situations, that the reward-focused training was, indeed, more efficient than methods which included potentially aversive stimuli such as electric stimuli or excessive lead pressure. ...
Article
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We assessed the efficacy of dog training with and without remote electronic collars compared to training with positive reinforcement. A total of 63 dogs with known off-lead behavioral problems such as poor recall were allocated to one of three training groups (each n = 21), receiving up to 150 min of training over 5 days to improve recall and general obedience. The 3 groups were: E-collar—manufacturer-nominated trainers who used electronic stimuli as part of their training program; Control 1—the same trainers following practices they would apply when not using electronic stimuli; and Control 2—independent, professional trainers who focused primarily on positive reinforcement for their training. Data collection focused on dogs' response to two commands: “Come” (recall to trainer) and “Sit” (place hindquarters on ground). These were the two most common commands used during training, with improving recall being the target behavior for the subject dogs. Measures of training efficacy included number of commands given to elicit the response and response latency. Control 2 achieved significantly better responses to both “Sit” and “Come” commands after a single instruction in the allocated time. These dogs also had shorter response latencies than the E-collar group. There was no significant difference in the proportion of command disobeyed between the three groups, although significantly fewer commands were given to the dogs in Control 2. There was no difference in the number of verbal cues used in each group, but Control 2 used fewer hand and lead signals, and Control 1 made more use of these signals than E-collar group. These findings refute the suggestion that training with an E-collar is either more efficient or results in less disobedience, even in the hands of experienced trainers. In many ways, training with positive reinforcement was found to be more effective at addressing the target behavior as well as general obedience training. This method of training also poses fewer risks to dog welfare and quality of the human-dog relationship. Given these results we suggest that there is no evidence to indicate that E-collar training is necessary, even for its most widely cited indication.
... Animal training has traditionally been considered an artisanal skill, mostly encompassing a mix of evidence-based practice (i.e., an intervention or treatment that has been shown to be effective through high-quality and substantial scientific research [2]), personal experience, history, and superstition [3]. Various species, such as domesticated animals (e.g., dogs), insects, fish, and marine mammals are trained across a variety of environments (e.g., homes, shelters, stables, zoos [4][5][6][7][8][9]), applying various training approaches and techniques (e.g., based on positive or negative reinforcement [10]; for a review of training methods [11]). One training approach that has been shown to be applied across species and environments is conditioned positive reinforcement [12]. ...
... 1]), irrespective of their species and setting (e.g., dogs, goats, and horses in homes, enclosures, and stables, respectively). It has to be noted that the numerical benchmarks (e.g., 0 to 0.62 = small effect; 0.63 to 0.92 = medium effect; 0.93 to 1.00 = large effect [50,51]) should be interpreted contextually and with caution as small effects can result in important improvements on the learners' behavior and welfare [11,56]. ...
Article
Full-text available
A conditioned reinforcer is a stimulus that acquired its effectiveness to increase and maintain a target behavior on the basis of the individual's history-e.g., pairings with other reinforcers. This systematic review synthesized findings on conditioned reinforcement in the applied animal training field. Thirty-four studies were included in the review and six studies were eligible for a meta-analysis on the effectiveness of behavioral interventions that implemented conditioned reinforcement (e.g., clicks, spoken word, or whistles paired with food). The majority of studies investigated conditioned reinforcement with dogs (47%, n = 16) and horses (30%, n = 10) implementing click-food pairings. All other species (cats, cattle, fish, goats, and monkeys) were equally distributed across types of conditioned (e.g., clicker or spoken word) and unconditioned reinforcers (e.g., food, water, or tactile). A meta-analysis on the effectiveness of conditioned reinforcement in behavioral interventions found a medium summary effect size (Tau-U 0.77; CI 95% = [0.53, 0.89]), when comparing baseline, where no training was done, and treatment levels. Moderators of conditioned reinforcement effectiveness were species (e.g., horses) and research design (e.g., multiple-baseline designs). The small number of intervention-focused studies available limits the present findings and highlights the need for more systematic research into the effectiveness of conditioned reinforcement across species.
... Studies suggest that a using a mixture of reward and aversive based approaches in achieving training goals is not more effective than a reward only based approach (Ziv, 2017) and can compromise the welfare of dogs (Fernandes et al., 2017). Hence large animal welfare charities in the UK recommend the use of exclusively reward-based methods for training and rehabilitation (Dogs Trust, 2020;RSPCA, 2020). ...
... Sound blasts, like those used as a tool for correcting unwanted behaviour, have been shown to produce physiological stress responses in dogs (Beerda et al., 1998). Dogs trained using negative reinforcement, for example the use of physical manipulation to encourage a sit behaviour, have also been shown to express more stress-related behaviours compared to those trained with positive reinforcement (Deldalle and Gaunet, 2014;Ziv, 2017;Vieira de Castro et al., 2020). ...
Article
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The majority of owners use rewards (e.g. treats and praise) when training their dogs. However, many additionally use aversive methods (e.g. physical reprimands, sound/spray distractions) which can compromise the welfare of dogs. The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with owner-reported use of aversive training methods. A study was conducted using data provided by owners living in the UK or Republic of Ireland participating in a longitudinal study (‘Generation Pup’). Data from a registration questionnaire completed when puppies were ≤16 weeks of age, and a follow-up questionnaire completed when dogs were nine-months of age were analysed. Responses to questions about owners’ intended/actual use of different training methods at each time point were grouped into two categories. ‘Reward only’ training: positive reinforcement (PR; increasing behaviour through application of rewarding stimulus) and/or negative punishment (NP; decreasing behaviour through removal of rewarding stimulus), and’ reward and aversive’ training: >2 methods of positive punishment (PP; decreasing behaviour by application of aversive stimulus) and/or negative reinforcement (NR; increasing behaviour through removal of aversive stimulus). Associations between training approach (’reward only’ / ‘reward and aversive’) and potential owner-related risk factors were modelled using multivariable logistic regression. Data from 2,154 owners at registration were collected, and a follow-up questionnaire for 9-month-old dogs were completed by 976 owners. At registration, 99.7% of owners reported their intention to use PR and/or NP, and 84.1% intended to use PP and/or NR. At 9 months, 99.7% of owners reported using PR and/or NP, and 74.2% used PP and/or NR. Data were available for 161 owners at both time points, of which 80% reported the same training approach in both questionnaires. At 9 months, not attending training or puppy classes in the previous 2-months (Odds Ratio = 3.16, 95% Confidence Interval = 2.18-4.59, P < 0.001), and not having dog-related employment (Odds Ratio = 2.70, 95% Confidence Interval = 1.53-4.77, P = 0.001) were associated with increased odds of reporting a reward and aversive approach. Owners aged 55 years or more were twice as likely as those younger than 55 (Odds Ratio = 1.93, 95% Confidence Interval = 1.29-2.87, P = 0.001), and male owners were three times as likely as female owners (Odds Ratio = 3.10, 95% Confidence Interval = 1.52-6.36, P = 0.002) to use a reward and aversive training approach. Owners reporting a reward and aversive training approach was common within this cohort. Increased awareness of optimal training approaches for dogs is needed, especially for older, male owners, who have not accessed puppy training classes.
... Animal trainers have a moral obligation to use the most humane means available to produce behavioural change. There is significant resistance to using electric shock as a means of behaviour training, with preference for use of reward before resorting to punishment methods (Hiby et al. 2004;Fernandes et al. 2017;Ziv 2017). We used a system of punishment training for our correction rather than a reinforcement system because of the need to ensure that the training would be effective even in the absence of the dog's owner/handler and because consuming a bait is a food reward in itself (Blackwell et al. 2012). ...
... The aversion training was able to be translated to other locations (i.e. the dogs showed aversion to approaching baits when they were presented with them in a natural environment) and lasted for at least 1 year. In weighing up the ethical considerations of using an electric shock self-training device (Ziv 2017), consideration needs to be given to the alternatives to this tool, namely, insufficient aversive training and likelihood of inadvertent poisoning. Furthermore, reliable aversion training may help build confidence in dog owners and landholders around the conservation estate subject to fox population control through baiting, which has enormous value for wildlife conservation as well as management of livestock predation. ...
Article
Context Accidental poisoning of domestic dogs is a potential risk when using baits to control invasive animals. We developed and trialled an electrical device attached to a non-toxic bait to assess whether we could induce a learned aversion towards baits in conservation-working dogs. Aims We tested the device on conservation-working dogs licenced to enter conservation estate as part of feral pig control, and consequently are potentially exposed to lethal baits for controlling red foxes. Methods Over 1 year (up to seven separate training sessions per dog), 27 dogs were sequentially presented with electrified and non-electrified non-toxic baits and their behavioural responses were recorded. On-farm training (Days 0, 1, 7, Months 1, 12) comprised dogs being called by their owner standing nearby the electrified bait. If the dog touched the bait and demonstrated aversive behaviour (we assume that it received an electric shock or ‘correction’), it was then presented with a non-electrified bait. If they ate either bait, they were shown another electrified bait (up to three electrified baits per session). Key results Seventeen dogs (17/27) touched the bait and received a correction. Eleven dogs required only a single correction and did not touch another bait, three dogs needed two corrections, and two dogs needed three or four corrections. These 17 dogs showed increasing avoidance to the bait over successive training sessions (χ212 = 67.96, P < 0.001), including avoiding looking at the bait, refusing to come within 5–10 m of the bait and their owner, or leaving the training vicinity. All these dogs (17/17) avoided baits encountered in a working environment (1/17 touched but did not consume a bait) and bait-aversion was still detected up to 1-year post-initial training. Nine dogs (9/27) did not appear to receive a correction or show any change in bait-aversion behaviour. One dog (1/27) showed no aversion to the stimulus and continued to eat baits. Conclusions Here we present a proof of concept for a deterrent device and associated experimental protocol to produce learned aversion behaviour in conservation-working dogs. Implications We demonstrated that it is possible to induce a learned aversion to baits in conservation-working dogs, thereby reducing the risk of accidental poisoning.
... In sessions when this type of speech was used for longer, dogs wagged their tails less, stayed within 1 m of the trainer for less time, and exhibited more NTB (behaviors that suggested the animals were not focused, or not interested in the interactions). Although most training procedures were based on positive reinforcement (i.e., when the consequence of an individuals' actions is being rewarded, which has proven to be beneficial for reducing stress [10]), it is possible that dogs perceived reproachful speech as a punishment [23] and, although responding to the cues, were emotionally affected by the interaction, as some studies have shown (for reviews, see [25,62]). On the other hand, the use of gentle speech was related to a greater number of cues attended to; neutral speech was positively associated with tail wagging, and laughter-although linked to increased latency-was also associated with fewer cue repetitions and more cues attended to. ...
Article
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The inclusion of life history as a possible influential factor is pivotal in studies on behavior, welfare, and cognition. Shelter dogs have usually experienced a life involving poor social interactions with humans. Thus, we aimed to investigate the behavioral responses of shelter dogs (SDs) and companion dogs (CDs) during the training of two vocal cues (“sit”, “paw”), as well as the possible associations between their responses and the behaviors of trainers. We studied 15 SDs and 15 CDs in up to eight five-minute training sessions. Dogs’ and trainers’ behaviors were recorded and analyzed (through GLM, GLMM, correlation and Mann–Whitney tests). Shelter dogs responded to more cues per session, with shorter latencies and fewer repetitions of cues. Moreover, SDs spent more time wagging their tails. Dogs’ sex and trainers’ behaviors were also associated with differences in dogs’ responses. The use of a reproachful tone of voice was associated with a greater number of cues responded to, shorter latencies, and fewer repetitions of cues. However, this type voice/discourse was also linked to a greater exhibition of non-training behaviors (e.g., exploring the room or jumping on the trainer), and to dogs spending less time next to the trainer and wagging their tails. On the other hand, the use of a neutral tone of voice and laughter, besides being linked to performance, was also associated with longer durations of tail wagging. Furthermore, the duration of the trainers’ orientation to dogs was correlated with the orientation of the dogs to the trainers. Our data suggest that, even when having experienced social deprivation from humans, SDs’ capacities to learn vocal cues were preserved, possibly due to ontogenic homeostasis processes. Shelter dogs’ greater interest in the sessions may be also credited to their socially-deprived routine. Our outcomes also point to an association between friendly interactions during training and dog performance and excitement, which suggests that such interactions may have the potential to improve SD welfare.
... Indeed, daily use of dominance-based training was related to worse PTSD symptom severity and depression. Considering evidence that punitive training methods create stress and negative welfare in dogs [65], techniques centered around assertion of dominance may compromise the formation of a healthy dyadic relationship. However, based on the exploratory nature of the present study, additional research with greater temporal specificity would be necessary to expand on these training effects and uncover potential confounding factors (e.g., if certain behaviors elicit greater use of specific training methods, or if greater PTSD severity increases the likelihood of using dominance-based methods). ...
Article
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Psychiatric service dogs are an emerging complementary intervention for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Initial evidence suggests that partnership with a service dog may be related to less PTSD symptom severity. However, it remains unclear how or why this might occur. To address this gap, we conducted a longitudinal investigation of 82 post-9/11 military members or veterans and their PTSD service dogs to (1) evaluate service dog characteristics as potential predictors of efficacy, (2) assess dog and human characteristics as potential predictors of veteran-dog bond, and (3) explore potential mechanisms for mental health outcomes. Aim 1 results demonstrated that most service dog characteristics did not predict veterans’ mental health outcomes, but lower service dog excitability was associated with less PTSD symptom severity at follow-up. Aim 2 results showed that closer dog-veteran relationships were associated with less excitable dog temperament. Aim 3 results indicated that worse mental health at follow-up was associated with greater use of the specifically trained PTSD service dog task to initiate a social greeting (“make a friend”), whereas better mental health was related to less use of dominance-based training methods, lower perceived emotional/logistical costs of service dog partnership, and closer veteran-dog relationships. More frequent use of the trained service dog task to signal when someone approaches from behind (cover/watch back) was associated with greater anxiety, but less PTSD symptom severity. Overall, veterans spent an average of 82% of their time with service dogs (assessed via Bluetooth proximity between dog collar and veteran smartphone), and most frequently asked their service dogs to perform the trained task for calming their anxiety (calm/comfort anxiety). The present study provides subjective and objective metrics of the heterogeneity among veteran-service dog dyads while also suggesting which of the assessed metrics might be potential mechanisms involved in the intervention.
... Visiting the veterinarian/vet practice (Lloyd, 2017); Effects of punishment (Ziv, 2017); In social animals: stability of the group (herd, flock); current position in hierarchy; fights to establish hierarchy (Estevez et al., 2007;Olsson and Westlund, 2007); Capture and transport (e.g. broilers, Nijdam et al., 2004). ...
Article
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Animal welfare is a multifaceted issue that can be approached from different viewpoints, depending on human interests, ethical assumptions, and culture. To properly assess, safeguard and promote animal welfare, concepts are needed to serve as guidelines in any context the animal is kept in. Several different welfare concepts have been developed during the last half decade. The Five Freedoms concept has provided the basis for developing animal welfare assessment to date, and the Five Domains concept has guided those responsible for safeguarding animal welfare, while the Quality of Life concept focuses on how the individual perceives its own welfare state. This study proposes a modified and extended version of an earlier animal welfare concept - the Dynamic Animal Welfare Concept (DAWCon). Based on the adaptability of the animal, and taking the importance of positive emotional states and the dynamic nature of animal welfare into account, an individual animal is likely in a positive welfare state when it is mentally and physically capable and possesses the ability and opportunity to react adequately to sporadic or lasting appetitive and adverse internal and external stimuli, events, and conditions. Adequate reactions are elements of an animal’s normal behavior. They allow the animal to cope with and adapt to the demands of the (prevailing) environmental circumstances, enabling it to reach a state that it perceives as positive, i.e., that evokes positive emotions. This paper describes the role of internal as well as external factors in influencing welfare, each of which exerts their effects in a sporadic or lasting manner. Behavior is highlighted as a crucial read-out parameter. As most animals under human care are selected for certain traits that may affect their behavioral repertoire it is crucial to have thorough ethograms, i.e., a catalogue of specific behaviors of the species/strain/breed under study. DAWCon highlights aspects that need to be addressed when assessing welfare and may stimulate future research questions.
... Dale et al. (4,5) who investigated avoidance of a stuffed kiwi model, whilst supporting the potential to reduce kiwi predation in off lead dogs, do not present any data on its effectiveness in the field, whereas Christiansen et al. (6,7) despite finding long term efficacy in deterring approach to sheep in dogs using e-collars, do not recommend the use of e-collars in dog training due to the challenges of consistently pairing the aversive with the target stimulus/behavior. This theme is taken up in Masson et al.'s (8) review, who recognized the potential efficacy of high intensity electric signals, but countered with concerns regarding dog's long and short term welfare and the dangers of unintended associations due to poor timing by operators [see also (9)(10)(11)]. An important study in this respect is the work of Schalke et al. (12) who investigated the impact of inconsistent application of training approach in controlled conditions, whereby beagles were exposed to the electric stimulus on approaching a stuffed toy. ...
Article
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In their commentary, Sargisson and McLean (2021) object to our conclusion that the use of e-collars are unnecessary in dog training (China et al 2020). Their criticisms make 4 broad claims: firstly that the training approaches were not the most effective means of training with e-collars; secondly that the paper focussed on measures of efficacy and did not present data on welfare; thirdly that the study did not include long term measures of efficacy; and fourthly our statistical approaches were not appropriate. Sargisson and McLean (2021) also question whether the research should be used to inform policy decisions with regard to use of e-collars in dog training, although we were cautious not to make any specific recommendations regarding legislation in our paper. We shall deal with each of these objections in turn, placing the first three in the context of the research project as well as related published work, clarifying the statistical approaches as there appear to be misunderstandings by Sargisson and McLean (2021) and finally relating the research to policy implications.
... A 2017 review of the existing evidence (N = 17 studies) indicated that the use of aversive training methods jeopardizes both the physical and mental health of dogs (48). A recent empirical investigation comparing positive (i.e., beneficial) methods to the use of a shock collar provided further evidence to support these conclusions. ...
Article
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Canine-assisted interventions (CAI) are becoming more popular in hospital settings, representing a crucial intersection between animals, veterinary medicine, and society. However, standardized policies and procedures to minimize risk and maximize benefit to vulnerable humans and protect therapy dog welfare are lacking, posing a challenge to safe practice. Few intervention programs are evaluated to document efficacy compounding the potential risk. This paper presents a rationale for CAI in hospitals and describes the evidence, issues, and challenges to establishing and maintaining safe and effective programs for humans and animals. Recommendations are made for best practices based on the existing scientific evidence and a model program in place in a major medical center for 19 years. Scientific and practical implications are considered.
... The dog-owning public still has not recovered from the popular myth that they must "dominate" their dogs, despite a large number of publications showing that normal dogs don't spend their days challenging people or other dogs for status. There are compelling data showing that the misapplication of such concepts has resulted in abusive and damaging treatment to pet dogs (reviewed in Ziv, 2017), and that the risk of euthanasia is higher for dogs for whom such techniques were recommended by "behaviourists" who were not veterinary specialists (Siracusa et al., 2017). ...
... It is possible that owners with higher levels of openness utilized novel training ideologies, such as positive reinforcement, prior to attending the behavior service. Dog owners who scored lower in openness may have relied on historic training methods based on forceful methods and positive punishment, which have been associated with increased fear (56)(57)(58). This hypothetical difference in training methods may have affected the potential for behavioral change following veterinary intervention. ...
Article
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Human and canine parameters can affect the development of canine behavior problems, although their influence on the dog's response to veterinary behavioral treatment remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the possible associations between canine behavior following clinical intervention and canine demographic characteristics, owner personality and owner-dog attachment. The study included 131 dog-owner dyads who attended a veterinary behavioral service. Owners completed the C-BARQ at baseline, 3-months and 6-months, and the 10 Item Personality Inventory and Lexington Attachment to Pet Scale at baseline. Data were analyzed for the effect of clinical intervention on C-BARQ subscale scores using mixed effect models. Binary logistic regression models were used to analyze the association between behavior change and canine and owner parameters. Within 6-months of veterinary consultation, trainability increased (coefficient 0.03, p = 0.01) and chasing (coefficient −0.04, p = 0.02), separation-related behavior (coefficient −0.04, p = 0.01) and energy level (coefficient −0.04, p = 0.05) decreased. Treatment outcomes were associated with both canine and owner variables. Canine behavior at baseline was the most consistent predictor of behavior change with less desirable baseline behavior associated with greater odds of decreased problem behavior at three- and 6-months post-consultation across most C-BARQ subscales. Canine age and weight; owner conscientiousness, extraversion and openness; and owner-dog attachment were also associated with treatment outcomes for some behavioral categories. These findings could be used by veterinarians to formulate more accurate prognoses and provide owners with targeted advice to reduce the influence of background factors on the dog's response to clinical behavioral intervention.
... Similar educational programs for dog owners are lacking, even though addressing levels of demandingness and responsiveness is acknowledged as relevant in classes at dog schools. Historically, these classes were orientated towards correctional methods and thus demanding, but in recent years they have begun to focus more on responsiveness towards the dogs (Hiby et al., 2004;Greenebaum, 2010;Ziv, 2017). Assessing dog owners' parenting styles accords with this development and child-directed parenting programs that have been extensively studied can be used as a starting point for developing and testing new owner-dog education. ...
Article
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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.
... Anti-bark collars employ different modes of deterrence from barking (e.g., electronic, ultrasonic, aversive spray), some are automatic (bark activated) and others are activated remotely by the owner, but all work on the principle of positive punishment (P + ) of the unwanted behavior. It is noteworthy that P + , while sometimes controlling the moment, does not help long-term in the treatment of aggression and may even result in long-term deleterious effects ( Schilder and Van der Borg, 2004 ;Hiby et al., 2004 ;Blackwell et al., 2008 ;Ziv, 2017 ;Makowska. 2018 ). ...
Article
In this follow up study we investigate a subset of 963 dogs whose owners (n = 800) described as having at least one form of aggressive behavior. We were particularly interested in learning which types of professionals, if any, were sought for assistance for the presenting behavior. Owners were also asked to indicate the resolutions employed, including training methods and equipment, behavior modification programs, behavior modification and training techniques, medications, and forms of alternative medicine. Using a self-reported questionnaire, both cohesive and dispersive aggressive behaviors were investigated including conflict aggression (CA), interdog housemate aggression (HA), fear aggression toward people (FA), fear aggression toward dogs (FAD), and predatory aggression (PA). Fifty-three percent of dogs with reported aggressive behaviors were mixed breeds. The study sample was 56% male, a majority (91%) of which were neutered. Most commonly, the dogs with reported aggressive behaviors were the sole dog in the household. Fifty-six percent of dogs were brought to at least one professional for remedial assistance. Of the owners that sought help from a DACVB, a majority (81%) found the advice to be helpful for treating their dog's aggression. Fifteen percent of dogs brought to veterinarians for advice about behavior problems were found to have an underlying medical problem contributing to the dog's misbehavior. As far as training equipment was concerned, we found that anti-bark collars and muzzles decreased the probability for successful treatment of aggression. Thirty-six percent of dogs were exposed to behavior modification programs as a form of treatment and an association was found between employment of a systematic desensitization and counterconditioning for treatment of overall aggression. When employing behavior modification training techniques, response blocking was found to decrease probability for improvement when employed for treatment of fear aggression to other dogs and predatory aggression. Improved dog-owner communication, habituation, relaxation protocols, and short and frequent training sessions were the most consistently beneficial behavior modification techniques. At least one beneficial behavior modification technique was identified for each investigated form of aggression. Twenty-one percent of dogs received medication as a form of treatment for aggression. Surprisingly, we failed to find any significant associations between treatment response and the administration of specific medications. When investigating alternative medicines, we found nutraceuticals to be helpful when treating overall aggression.
... Aversive measures can easily compromise welfare, and are generally not effective in decreasing the quality and quantity of the problem behavior the situation but also often either with punishment or trying to reassure the dog. Although reassuring a fearful dog is reasonable and effective when it is done correctly and is adequate for the situation [24], punishment has serious side effects [25][26][27][28][29]. Rather than focusing of what they do not want, owners should focus on wanted behavior and reward this as often as possible. ...
Article
KEY POINTS - Aggression problems have a causation, triggers for showing behavior in a specific situation, and a system of reinforcers that helped to develop the problem and keep the behavior alive. - For development of a sufficient prognosis and treatment plan, a thorough analysis of these causations and triggers is important. - Treatment must focus on management to avoid critical situations, curing any underlying health problems when possible; studying the social interaction between dog and owner; using psychoactive drugs when necessary; and administering special training, including desensitization, teaching alternative behavior, and aiming at changing the emotional state of the dog. - Training must focus on positive techniques. Aversive methods are to be avoided.
... This is even more relevant considering that several studies have recommended that dog keepers avoid corrections to prevent undesired behaviors and foster canine welfare (e.g., Blackwell et al., 2008;Cooper, Cracknell, Hardiman, Wright, & Mills, 2014;Deldalle, & Gaunet, 2014;Hiby et al., 2004;Schilder & van der Borg, 2004). One review has suggested that the use of aversive actions can in fact compromise both the mental and physical health of dogs (Ziv, 2017), but another indicated that strong conclusions cannot be made from the limited studies examining the effects of aversive actions (Fernandes, Olsson, & de Castro, 2017). ...
Article
This study investigated how keepers report correcting their dogs' undesired behaviors by using what they consider to be aversive to them. Over 60,000 dog keepers responded to an online questionnaire addressing this issue. The questionnaire included the frequencies of delayed corrections of perceived signs of previously occurring undesired behaviors, the type of aversive actions applied (independently of correction timing), and the frequencies of specific canine behaviors that the keepers sought to correct. Based on results, correcting undesired behaviors of dogs that occurred some time ago is frequently reported, and the most common corrections are not necessarily effective in reducing these undesired behaviors. Moreover, keepers commonly use aversive actions to correct dogs' urination/defecation in inappropriate places or destruction of objects, but they do not commonly do so for excessive barking or incorrectly responding to a cue.
... Incidental effects from the use of aversives have been documented in the basic research literature, such as elicited conspecific aggression (153), fear of punishment associated stimuli (154), and substantial suppression of all behavior within a punishment context (39,154,155). Growing applied literature with dogs highlights that positive reinforcement based training is effective and the use of aversives can have negative welfare side effects for the dog (156)(157)(158)(159)(160)(161). This highlights the need to further consider not only how to motivate working dog behavior (e.g., does the dog engage in the behavior to receive a reward or to avoid a correction), but also which methods produce the best performance and welfare outcomes for working dogs. ...
Article
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Dogs are trained for a variety of working roles including assistance, protection, and detection work. Many canine working roles, in their modern iterations, were developed at the turn of the 20th century and training practices have since largely been passed down from trainer to trainer. In parallel, research in psychology has advanced our understanding of animal behavior, and specifically canine learning and cognition, over the last 20 years; however, this field has had little focus or practical impact on working dog training. The aims of this narrative review are to (1) orient the reader to key advances in animal behavior that we view as having important implications for working dog training, (2) highlight where such information is already implemented, and (3) indicate areas for future collaborative research bridging the gap between research and practice. Through a selective review of research on canine learning and behavior and training of working dogs, we hope to combine advances from scientists and practitioners to lead to better, more targeted, and functional research for working dogs.
... Lower stress levels due to social contact and an enriched, secure environment were shown to enhance cognitive performance [87]. Positive rewards with particularly tasty treats as well as a specific toy in some dogs increase working motivation of dogs whereas aversive training methods decrease motivation and have also negative effects on their physical and mental health [93]. ...
Article
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The extraordinary olfactory sense of canines combined with the possibility to learn by operant conditioning enables dogs for their use in medical detection in a wide range of applications. Research on the ability of medical detection dogs for the identification of individuals with infectious or non-infectious diseases has been promising, but compared to the well-established and–accepted use of sniffer dogs by the police, army and customs for substances such as money, explosives or drugs, the deployment of medical detection dogs is still in its infancy. There are several factors to be considered for standardisation prior to deployment of canine scent detection dogs. Individual odours in disease consist of different volatile organic molecules that differ in magnitude, volatility and concentration. Olfaction can be influenced by various parameters like genetics, environmental conditions, age, hydration, nutrition, microbiome, conditioning, training, management factors, diseases and pharmaceuticals. This review discusses current knowledge on the function and importance of canines’ olfaction and evaluates its limitations and the potential role of the dog as a biomedical detector for infectious and non-infectious diseases.
... Having introduced this contingency, research with dogs and other domesticated animals is relatively clear about the net results of aversive-based training methods-i.e., methods that inflict pain, discomfort, and distress as a means of modifying behaviors (Sections 3.8 and 4.2). These sorts of "negative" methods tend to compromise the welfare of targeted animals, jeopardize their physical and mental health, and even lead to increased aggressiveness, especially in contrast to more positive methods (e.g., Fernandes et al. 2017, Ziv et al. 2017). ...
Technical Report
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Bear managers are increasingly using non-lethal methods to resolve human-bear conflicts—largely because the public is demanding that wildlife be treated more humanely and with greater regard for their intrinsic value. Hazing or a fixed infrastructure designed to inflict pain and discomfort are the most common non-lethal means employed by managers to drive bears away from people and human facilities or, even more ambitiously, teach them to indefinitely avoid roads, residences, and campgrounds. The 2021 technical report entitled “Teaching Bears: Complexities and Contingencies of Deterrence and Aversive Conditioning” focuses not only on the uses of deterrents to haze bears away from conflict situations, but also, more importantly, on the complexities that bedevil efforts to educate wild bears under field conditions. Aversive conditioning—a general term for pain-based fear-instilling learning processes—is probably the most complex endeavor that a manager can undertake with a bear. “Teaching Bears” delves into the many facets of aversive conditioning, including terminology and concepts relevant to understanding the basics of how animals learn about their world. However, most of this report is devoted to describing what it is that individual animals bring to a learning process, and how these internal complexities along with the particulars of a given context largely dictate whether efforts by managers to deter and aversively-condition bears are likely to be successful or not. The report concludes that aversive conditioning will almost invariably have a limited role in non-lethal management of human-bear conflicts, especially in contrast to efforts focused on people. At its most useful, hazing can be used to temporarily drive bears away from a conflict situation, providing a respite during which managers can then address human-related elements such as the availability of attractants or problematic behaviors of people.
... Even smells such as those released by stressed people and animals can be stressful for dogs (Graham et al., 2005;Siniscalchi et al., 2011Siniscalchi et al., , 2016. In addition, dogs can be fearful when entering a veterinary practice due to previous experiences (Döring et al., 2009;Ziv, 2017). Veterinarians may also use gestures or postures that are stressful for dogs (Mariti et al., 2017;Edwards et al., 2019), such as bending over them (Vas et al., 2005;Győri et al., 2010;McGreevy et al., 2012), touching them (Payne et al., 2015), placing them on the examination table (Döring et al., 2009). ...
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.
... Even smells such as those released by stressed people and animals can be stressful for dogs (Graham et al., 2005;Siniscalchi et al., 2011Siniscalchi et al., , 2016. In addition, dogs can be fearful when entering a veterinary practice due to previous experiences (Döring et al., 2009;Ziv, 2017). Veterinarians may also use gestures or postures that are stressful for dogs (Mariti et al., 2017;Edwards et al., 2019), such as bending over them (Vas et al., 2005;Győri et al., 2010;McGreevy et al., 2012), touching them (Payne et al., 2015), placing them on the examination table (Döring et al., 2009). ...
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.
... All results from the detector dogs are compared with RT-PCR, which are not perfect and whose accuracy depends on viral load being shed. (Ziv, 2017). There is a lack of scientific studies of specific training protocols for odour detection by dogs in order to determine which are the most effective in terms of time to train to criterion and accuracy of detection (Hayes et al., 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
RT‐PCR is currently the standard diagnostic method to detect symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals infected with SARS‐CoV‐2. However, RT‐PCR results are not immediate and may falsely be negative before an infected individual sheds viral particles in the upper airways where swabs are collected. Infected individuals emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in their breath and sweat that are detectable by trained dogs. Here we evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of dog detection against SARS‐CoV‐2 infection. Fifteen dogs previously trained at two centres in Australia were presented to axillary sweat specimens collected from known SARS‐CoV‐2 human cases (n = 100) and non‐cases (n = 414). The true infection status of the cases and non‐cases were confirmed based on RT‐PCR results as well as clinical presentation. Across dogs, the overall diagnostic sensitivity (DSe) was 95.3% (95%CI: 93.1%–97.6%) and diagnostic specificity (DSp) was 97.1% (95%CI: 90.7%–100.0%). The DSp decreased significantly when non‐case specimens were collected over 1 min rather than 20 minutes (P‐value = 0.004). The location of evaluation did not impact the detection performances. The accuracy of detection varied across dogs and experienced dogs revealed a marginally better DSp (P‐value = 0.016). The potential and limitations of this alternative detection tool are discussed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
... Non-aversive dog training is a strategy promoted by dog-advocates, and is further supported by studies demonstrating the negative impact of aversive training techniques on dog welfare. 101 All studies located in the current review using positive behavioural techniques to reduce dog aggression were low-quality and inconclusive. Bias may also exist in studies undertaken by dog behaviouralists who have a financial interest in their own interventions. ...
Article
Background The prevention of dog bites is an increasingly important public health topic, as the incidence of serious injury continues to rise. Objectives To evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to prevent dog bites and aggression. Methods Online databases were searched (PubMed, Cochrane Library, Embase and Google Scholar), using the search terms: dog/s, canine, canis, kuri, bite/s, bitten, aggression, attack, death, fatal, mortality, injury/ies, prevention, intervention , for studies between 1960 and 2021. All study designs were considered. Outcomes of interest were the incidence of dog bites or dog aggression. Non-English studies, and those without full-text access were excluded. Results Forty-three studies met the review criteria, including 15 observational and 27 interventional studies. Fifteen studies investigating dog-control legislation, including leash laws, stray dog control and infringements indicated this can reduce dog bite rates. Breed-specific legislation had less of an effect. Six studies investigating sterilisation, showed while this may reduce dog bites through a reduction in the dog population, the effect on dog aggression was unclear. An alcohol reduction programme showed a significant reduction in dog bite rates in one study. Seven studies assessing educational approaches found that intensive adult-directed education may be effective, with one study showing child-directed education was not effective. Eight studies on dog training (two police-dog related), and six evaluating dog medication or diet were generally low quality and inconclusive. Conclusions Multiple strategies including effective engagement with indigenous communities and organisations will be required to reduce dog-bites and other incidents involving dog aggression. This review provides some evidence that legislated dog control strategies reduce dog bite rates. Available evidence suggests greater restrictions should be made for all dogs, rather than based on breed alone. Due to a burden of child injury, protection of children should be a focus of legislation and further investigations. Prevention strategies in children require redirection away from a focus on child-directed education and future research should investigate the effectiveness of engineering barriers and reporting strategies.
... Dogs have been reported to use social referencing with their human companions, with the emotional reaction of the human influencing that of the dog (24); and emotional contagion between humans and dogs has been reported, especially in female dogs and with duration of the relationship playing a role (25). Research suggests that factors such as owner personality, human-animal interactions, and choice of training methods, particularly over extended time periods, can all impact companion animal behavior and welfare (26)(27)(28)(29)(30)(31)(32)(33)(34). If, during human-animal interactions of shorter duration (such as in a veterinary clinic or animal shelter), the emotional state of the human can influence the emotional state of the animal, then emotional state of human caretakers may play an indirect role in animal welfare, in addition to any direct (behavior-based) impacts that may occur. ...
Article
Full-text available
Negative stress due to human handling has been reported for a number of domestic animals, including dogs. Many companion dogs display significant stress during routine care in the veterinary clinic, risking injury to staff and potentially compromising the quality of care that these dogs receive. On the other hand, positive interactions with humans can have a beneficial effect on dogs, particularly in stressful situations such as animal shelters. Research has shown that dogs can detect human emotions through visual, auditory, and chemical channels, and that dogs will exhibit emotional contagion, particularly with familiar humans. This study investigated relationships between emotional states of dogs and unfamiliar human handlers, using simultaneous measures of cardiac activity and behavior, during two sessions of three consecutive routine handling sets. Measures of cardiac activity included mean heart rate (HR mean ), and two measures of heart rate variability (HRV): the root mean square of successive differences between normal heartbeats (RMSSD); and the high frequency absolute power component of HRV, log transformed (HF log ). We also assessed human handlers' emotional state during handling sessions following an intervention designed to reduce stress, compared with sessions conducted on a different day and following a control activity. Polar H10 cardiac sensors were used to simultaneously record cardiac activity for both canine and human participants, and behavioral data were collected via digital video. The strongest influence on the dogs' stress levels in our study was found to be increasing familiarity with the setting and the handler; HR mean and SI decreased, and HRV (as RMSSD) increased, significantly from the first to the third handling set. Canine HRV (as HF log ) was also highest in set 3, although the difference was not statistically significant. There were no strong patterns found in the human cardiac data across handling set, session, or by pre-handling activity. We did not find consistent support for emotional contagion between the dogs and their handlers in this study, perhaps due to the brief time that the dogs spent with the handlers. Recommendations for application to dog handling, and limitations of our methods, are described.
... Training methods sometimes combine these approaches (Fernandes et al. 2017). Numerous studies have shown increased aggression in dogs trained with aversive-based training methods (Ziv 2017), but some methodological issues are pointed out by Fernandes and colleagues (2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
Executive functions (EFs) are a set of cognitive processes used for effortful self-regulation of behaviour. They include inhibition, working memory, cognitive flexibility and, in some models, attention. In humans, socioeconomic factors and life experiences shape development of EFs. Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) must often regulate their behaviour in the human environment (e.g. no jumping up on humans or chasing cats), and life experiences also probably influence the development of EFs in dogs. Research into dog cognition and behaviour has been thriving, and some methods used to explore these concepts (e.g. object-choice task, questionnaires measuring traits like distraction and aggression) are likely to be sensitive to differences in EFs, even if that is not their stated aim. Here we examine relevant studies to identify experiential factors which may influence the development of EFs in dogs living in human care. These are early experience, training, housing and stress. We conclude that the development of dogs’ EFs may be negatively affected by hardships, and positively by surmountable challenges, early in life. Training methods appear important, with punishment-based methods leading to poorer dog EFs. Kennel environments seem to affect dog EFs negatively. While mild stressors might enhance the development of EFs, too much stress seems to have negative effects. Regulation of behaviour, a key outcome of EFs, is crucial for dogs’ integration into human society. We should, therefore, strive to better understand how the environment shapes dogs’ EFs.
Article
Parents raise children in consistent ways, and these parenting styles affect child wellbeing and societal adjustment. Recently, we identified such parenting styles in the owner–dog relationship. Dog owners of the authoritarian- correction orientated (AUC) type stand out for demandingness. Authoritative dog owners adopt either an intrinsic-value orientated style (AUI), of high responsiveness and attention to a dog’s needs, or an authoritative-training orientated style (AUT) of high demandingness and responsiveness in teaching a dog how to behave socially. The causes for dog owners to favor certain dog- directed parenting styles are presently unknown. Orientations toward animals could play a role, and these have previously been determined in dog owners, capsulizing views on dog ownership. A dominionistic orientation values the dog for its utility, a humanistic orientation humanizes dogs, and a protectionistic orientation acknowledges the dog’s species-specific interests. We wanted to know how these views on dog ownership are associated with dog-directed parenting styles. Therefore, orientations toward animals and dog-directed parenting styles were determined from dog-owner reports collected online (n = 518). The Likert-scale items regarding the orientations toward animals were grouped using data reduction techniques. The scores for our newly formed orientations were then rank correlated to the dog-directed parenting styles, with all scores expressed as percentages of the theoretical maximum. A dominionistic orientation was associated with AUC, indicating that combined demandingness and non-responsiveness in dog-directed parenting partly results from the owner’s perceived need to dominate the dog. A humanistic/protectionistic orientation was associated with AUI, suggesting that the combination of parenting responsiveness and relatively low demandingness is an outcome of humanizing dogs. These findings support the idea that orientations toward animals partly underlie dog-directed parenting styles and may constitute a starting point for guiding owners away from less favorable dog-directed parenting styles.
Article
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Clicker training is considered a welfare-friendly way of teaching novel behaviors to animals because it is mostly based on the positive reinforcement. However, trainers largely vary in their way of applying this training technique. According to the most, a reward (e.g., food) should follow every click, while others claim that dogs learn faster when the reward is sometimes omitted. One argument against the use of partial rewarding is that it induces frustration in the animal, raising concerns over its welfare consequences. Here, we investigated the effect of partial rewarding not only on training efficacy (learning speed), but also on dogs' affective state. We clicker-trained two groups of dogs: one group received food after every click while the other group received food only 60% of the time. Considering previous evidence of the influencing role of personality on reactions to frustrated expectations, we included measurements of dogs' emotional reactivity. We compared the number of trials needed to reach a learning criterion and their pessimistic bias in a cognitive bias test. No difference between the two groups emerged in terms of learning speed; however, dogs that were partially rewarded during clicker training showed a more pessimistic bias than dogs that were continuously rewarded. Generally, emotional reactivity was positively associated with a more pessimistic bias. Partial rewarding does not improve training efficacy, but it is associated with a negatively valenced affective state, bringing support to the hypothesis that partial rewarding might negatively affect dogs' welfare.
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When it comes to humans and the necessity for their young ones' medical treatments, the parental responsibility is crucial. The decisions made by parents involve the legal aspects as well as welfare aspects, respectively. Pet animals are usually classified as property in the European Union, but pets are the same as kids regarding medical treatments and illnesses or diseases. In that case, the decisions are made by their owners, posing a legal challenge only if the proposed treatment can trigger damage or needless pain, as defined by the Law on pet animals` welfare. In this article, there will be discussed the best interests both in legal and welfare aspects of decisions being made in the medical treatments of the pets by their owners. Reaching the choice of pets' medical treatments will primarily be focused on pets protection and welfare avoiding unnecessary pain, which is in the pets` best overall welfare interests. While the statute law is not a mandatory one considering the pets' best interests, this article might be a useful resource for professional veterinarians and practitioners. At the same time, this article regards of the best interests of the pets and it can be integrated into the existing ethical frameworks for making medical decisions and more humane treatment of pet animals.
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Considered one of the best odor detectors, dogs go through a rigorous selection and training process. Based on learning theories, modern techniques are used for dog training, respecting individual characteristics, efficiency, and well-being. Since narcotics detection work is perceived as a “play” for the dog, in practice, this promotes a high use rate in the service. The performance of handlers influences the work of the dogs, and well-trained and well-run dogs must work comfortably and accurately. This paper aimed to review the aspects related to the selection, training, and performance of narcotics detection dogs.
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Meeting the physical and emotional needs of a therapy animal requires knowledge of species-typical behaviors. Though to ensure optimal welfare, an awareness of perceptive abilities and signs of stress and fear is necessary to avoid negative emotional states. This information can help those utilizing AAI to select appropriate species for patients and with the implementation of management practices to ensure the welfare of therapy animals. In order to provide a biological perspective on behavior, a review of emotional processing and memory is provided. The intention was to serve as a reminder that every experience shapes perception and for therapy animals every AAI should be perceived as positive. Lastly, training of therapy animals and reinforcement of appropriate and desired behaviors should be positive as it is more effective and humane than punitive methods, such as positive punishment. Learning the behavioral and social needs of a species will undoubtedly provide useful information to safeguard the welfare of therapy animals.
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When considering the unique aspects of health‐related welfare of small breed dogs, dental disease prevention and treatment is key to ensuring wellness. By ensuring our clients understand what it means to provide a healthy environment, appropriate behavioral expression opportunities, optimal nutrition, excellent health, and positive mental experiences, we can positively guide the way our clients care for their animals, and potentially choose breeding stock free from heritable dental conditions. Animal welfare, in comparison, chooses to focus on the subjective needs and experience of the animal itself, i.e. what impacts on that patient's daily quality of life is the severe periodontal disease having, and what can be done to alleviate them. When assessing patients with dental disease using the FAWN system, the majority of focus is placed on the need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury, and disease, as well as the need to be able to exhibit normal behavior patterns.
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Applied animal behavior analysis is an extension of the science of behavior to animals in nonlaboratory settings for the purpose of (a) improving that animal’s well-being or welfare (e.g., by promoting species-typical behavior); (b) teaching that animal more adaptive or effective ways to interact with its current environment; (c) training behavioral repertoires or responses that are entertaining, appealing, or useful to humans; or (d) improving human-animal relationships that are strained or diminished by the animal’s behavior. As behavior analysts working with companion animals (primarily dogs and cats) in home and animal shelter settings, the authors represent a sample of those who have utilized a graduate education in behavior analysis in pursuit of applied work with nonhuman animals. In this chapter, we review areas of overlap between the concepts and tactics of behavior analysis and applied animal behavior more broadly. We consider ethical issues that are especially relevant or unique to applied work with companion animals, and provide a brief overview of credentialing opportunities in the field. Finally, we delineate additional educational or supervisory experiences recommended for behavior analysts who are interested in applied animal behavior.
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Evidence‐based veterinary medicine (EBVM) is a set of tools for generating reliable research evidence, disseminating it to clinicians, and using it to support clinical decision making. EBVM provides a system for ensuring that the information clinicians need is not only accurate and relevant but available and easy to use. In the research environment, EBVM guides the design and conduct of scientific studies to minimize bias and ensure the data generated are reliable. EBVM includes techniques and training for clinicians to help identify their information needs and then find relevant and useful evidence. EBVM is useful in meeting our ethical obligations to pet owners. Pet owners have an ethical and often a legal right to be informed about the possible risks and benefits of medical interventions. EBVM methods should be a core part of veterinary medical training. EBVM helps veterinarians provide better care and client communication with greater confidence and less time and effort. Veterinary medicine has made incredible strides regarding the sophistication of care that can be provided by veterinarians in practice. In practice, incremental care has been a part of veterinary medicine since its founding. The veterinary healthcare team are informed service providers. There are both ground‐up and top‐down approaches to implementing incremental care practices in the profession. Organized veterinary medicine also has a role to play. Incremental care is a philosophy that holds that there are medical options falling along the entire cost spectrum for most health conditions and that all the available options should be discussed with pet owners. This is in contrast to “gold standard care,” in which only the most effective and most expensive treatment options are, at least initially, presented. Licensing boards and legislatures are inconsistent in their approach to standards of care in veterinary medicine. Prevalence and incidence are both terms used to describe the occurrence of a disease over a period of time. Epidemiology focuses on factors of disease, such as cause, risk factors, frequency, and distribution/pattern. Prevalence and incidence are terms commonly used when describing the study of epidemiology. Prevalence can be expressed over a period of time, referred to as period prevalence, and can also be expressed at a specific point in time, known as point prevalence. There are two ways in which incidence can be expressed: incidence risk and incidence rate. Prevalence is commonly utilized in veterinary medicine as it does not require defining the population that is at risk of developing that disease. Hemangiosarcoma is an aggressive form of cancer that is most commonly encountered in German shepherd dogs, Labrador retrievers, and golden retrievers. The incidence rate is the number of new cases per year divided by the at‐risk population per unit time. Veterinary medical checklists are an effective strategy to reduce avoidable errors. Failures occur in every industry, including veterinary medicine. Comparisons are more difficult to make between veterinary medicine and the aviation industry due to the paucity of studies in the veterinary literature. There is one tool in particular that the aviation industry has relied upon that has gradually trickled into various facets of human healthcare: the checklist. In aviation, checklists may be used for ordinary procedures, such as take‐offs and landings, as well as for malfunctions and emergencies. Checklists in veterinary surgery are an appropriate tool to address surgical instrument retention, among other surgical errors. In addition to surgical errors, medical errors may occur in veterinary practice. Checklists are also important aspects of convergence schedules, to ensure that client communication is managed appropriately. Human‐based errors in medicine and surgery can and will happen to some degree to every veterinary practice and every healthcare provider. Today's consumers want their healthcare on their own schedules, and at their own convenience. Veterinarians providing telehealth must comply with all laws and regulations associated with their license to practice veterinary medicine. Telehealth has the potential to enhance animal care and the delivery of veterinary services, and regulations are evolving accordingly. Veterinarians with a valid Veterinarian‐Client‐Patient Relationship (VCPR) have professional discretion to confer with specialists and consultants, but they remain the physicians of record and do not transfer that VCPR to the specialist or consultant. Veterinarians providing telehealth must be legally authorized to practice veterinary medicine. Technology is available that allows remote monitoring of pets, and this can be an important resource when considering virtual care. Remote monitoring can play a key role in wellness care. Veterinarians may initially have some worries that offering telehealth services will cannibalize their office visits, but such fears are generally unfounded. Pet‐specific care is a concept that can revolutionize our approach to providing veterinary healthcare. When marketing veterinary services, it is important to know the client signalment as well as the patient signalment. The most effective way to market veterinary services is to customize the marketing strategy to target client demographics. Baby Boomers grew up during the American‐dream, white picket‐fence era post World War II. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are both members of the Baby Boomer generation. Generation X is often referred to as the bridge between Millennials and Baby Boomers. Generation X also has strong brand loyalty, particularly to those brands who give back. Millennials began entering the workforce as the economy crashed, and as a result are the largest generation of entrepreneurs. The youngest generation that is beginning to develop its buying power is Generation Z, the iGeneration, or Gen Z. Assessing risk accurately and using that assessment to inform medical care for patients is a skill that can be developed and improved. Wellness care is all about reducing risk. Some health risks are nearly universal, such as exposure to contagious diseases and parasites. In ill patients, risk analysis helps to guide us toward the most likely diagnoses so that we can diagnose and treat the pet appropriately. Risk assessment also guides our client education efforts. Some diseases are high risk for a great many dogs and cats. We should ensure that every client is aware of these common risks and has the opportunity to prevent or screen for these diseases when possible. The second way to prioritize risk is by seriousness of problem. A point scoring system may be useful for recommending wellness screening laboratory testing. Wellness plans can be designed to be the same for every patient or individualized for each patient. With pet ownership comes risk that the pet may require substantial healthcare services and at considerable expense. Pet health insurance is one of the most common ways in which pet owners mitigate pet health risk. The ways in which individuals manage risk typically fall into one of four categories: avoidance, mitigation, transfer, and acceptance. Risk avoidance is the elimination of an exposure that has the potential to result in a negative outcome. Risk mitigation is an activity that may lessen the chance of a negative outcome associated with a particular risk. Most pet owners do not understand or plan for the true financial risk that comes along with being a pet owner. The best way to be fully prepared for the true financial risk of pet ownership is to transfer the risk to an insurance company by purchasing pet health insurance. Most people transfer risk through purchase of an insurance policy. Owning a pet and providing appropriate veterinary care for that pet's lifetime costs more than most pet owners realize, and veterinarians need to be prepared to discuss costs at the time they make their recommendations. Transparent and upfront cost discussions with clients based on appropriate healthcare recommendations will lead to improved relationships, happier and more trusting clients, happier team members, and better outcomes for pets. Providing appropriate preventive and end‐of‐life care for a pet is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the total cost of pet ownership. If cost of care is a barrier, a veterinarian should offer payment assistance options rather than modifying the recommendations. As more and more people embrace the perception of pets as family members, the veterinary profession has worked hard to meet the needs of a more demanding audience of veterinary caregivers. The escalating discrepancy between emotionally invested owners and the higher cost of advanced veterinary medicine has been widely characterized by industry analysts as an affordability crisis. The primary concern is that as the gap between veterinary cost and ability to pay widens, a lower percentage of pets will receive the treatments the industry has prepared for them. This chapter presents the primary affordability factors affecting the demand for veterinary services. It also presents supply‐side considerations factoring into the affordability of veterinary care. Pet owners are finding it difficult to pay for the more expensive veterinary services offered by an increasingly sophisticated veterinary profession, leading to what industry analysts have described as an affordability crisis. Professional service providers have been particularly vexed after the provision of their service with both billing and collecting from their clients. There are whole consulting industries whose sole purpose is to provide professional service providers with the skills and support to actually charge a “full” price without providing discounts, and buoy the self‐worth of the provider. The goal of a sound patient payment discount program should be to: reward for expected good behavior on the part of compliance, reward the client for achieving strategic financial benchmarks, and reward intended patient intangibles such as marketing the practice to other potential clients. Some pet owners may prey on the humanistic trait of most veterinary hospitals to emphasize patient care over finances. Blockchain may be a foreign concept to many, but it is an important topic because it is demonstrating real benefits in many aspects of human healthcare and is bound to gain more prominence in veterinary medicine as well. It could be particularly useful in pet‐specific care in which various stakeholders could have secure privileges to various aspects of the medical record. In a blockchain, individual records are bundled together into blocks, and then linked sequentially within the chain. The three parts of the process are thus: the record, the block, and the chain. To make sure only authorized users have access to the information, blockchain systems use cryptography‐based digital signatures to verify identities. Blockchain is more difficult to hack, and tends to be more secure than traditional systems. The concept of placebo is well known in human medicine. In fact, the caregiver placebo effect may be evident around 30–40% of the time regarding subjective evaluations, such as for lameness in dogs and cats. Another manifestation of caregiver placebo effect can be seen as a feature of being enrolled in a study, or receiving an intervention perceived as new and potentially exciting – known as the Hawthorne effect. One very interesting aspect of placebo studies is that sometimes they can still provide benefits even if the patient/client knows they are administering placebos. This is known as the honest placebo effect. The nocebo effect is an interesting phenomenon in which people have negative expectations about something and that alone is enough to make them perceive an ill effect. The human–animal bond (HAB) is the glue that keeps companion animals in families. Veterinary clinics and the wider community benefit from strong HABs. The HAB may affect owner decisions as to the choice of pet and where it is acquired, how the pet lives with them and owner lifestyle such as where they live, work, and take holidays. When veterinary clinic staff are aware of the HAB in general and, more specifically, the nature of their personal bond with their pets, it can help them support owners and accept different approaches to pet care. Compassion fatigue can occur when staff are interacting with clients whose attachment levels are very different from their own beliefs and attitudes about the HAB. Education of staff about the HAB and how it varies with different people can help staff accept owner decisions and minimize staff stress. Veterinary professionals should play an active role in promoting the human–animal bond among their clients. Education should be taken beyond the typical exam room discussions to include alternative methods that are easily absorbed by pet owners. The human–animal bond is a mutually beneficial relationship between people and animals. In addition to traditional exam room conversations, some opportunities are considered to educate veterinarians' clients. These include: enhanced exam room communication, custom literature, practice blog and social media, educational open house, and community event. The entire veterinary healthcare team should contribute to educating clients on important topics that impact the human–animal bond. To promote the human–animal bond, veterinary professionals should educate clients on the importance of preventive care, fear, and stress in animals, positive reinforcement training, enrichment, exercise and nutrition, pain in pets, and pet health insurance. The very good news is that pain management is now a central, and increasingly sophisticated, feature of small animal medicine and surgery, with an increasingly wide array of tools at the disposal of all members of the veterinary team. Underrecognized and undermanaged pain inflicts very real physiological and medical consequences, resulting in significant patient morbidity and in the extreme can contribute to mortality. Evidence‐based industry guidelines and consensus statements are available to direct veterinary clinicians to the highest, wisest, safest multimodal strategies for acute and chronic pain. Several clinical metrology instruments are validated for both dogs and cats to assign scores for acute postsurgical pain. Disasters, man‐made or natural, can be devastating. Lives can be disrupted or lost, property damaged or destroyed. It is vitally important that veterinary practices have a written disaster plan to cover emergency relocation of animals, back‐up of medical records, continuity of operations, security, fire prevention, and insurance and legal issues. For practices affected by a disaster, first and foremost there needs to be an evacuation plan for people and animals. Veterinarians should be included in the larger local or state government's disaster planning, and veterinarian should have a role in the incident command system. Disaster planning needs to include preparation for continuity of operations. Sometimes clients will have to go to an emergency shelter that also allows pets. Having medical records, medications, food, and water ready to go will make the evacuation less stressful. Sterilization surgery is considered the norm in North American dogs and cats, and is increasingly performed at young ages to prevent breeding of adopted dogs, and potentially reduce behaviors that may lead to relinquishment. The primary purpose of gonadectomy is to manage canine and feline populations. The majority of American veterinarians advocate for elective sterilization surgery. Most American dogs and cats undergo elective ovariohysterectomy (OVH) or castration within their first year of life. Neutering curbs unfavorable behaviors: castrated male dogs roam, mount, and urine‐mark less frequently, and male cats are less likely to spray. OVH is the standard sterilization surgery for bitches and queens in the US. Ovariectomy (OVE) may be performed as a minimally invasive technique using laparoscopy. The desire for less invasive procedures has led to the successful adoption of OVE in other countries. Pet overpopulation is a global, multifaceted, animal welfare issue. The veterinary healthcare team (VHT) is on the front line of the intersection of animals and the people in their lives, and the One Health concept recognizes the interconnection between people, animals, and the environment they share. The VHT should be knowledgeable about how their actions fit into the larger picture of the human/animal environment. Zoonotic diseases are those that can pass between people and animals. Connection between human and animal health is the use and misuse of antibiotics. Antibiotic use should be restricted for appropriate bacterial diseases and education by the VHT will help clients understand this use. A distrust of commercial pet foods has led some clients to make their own pet food or sometimes veterinarians recommend homemade diets for pets with specific medical conditions. Clients with a love for exotic pets pose a unique challenge for VHTs. Wildlife poses a unique threat to pets and people. Cancer is a disease of dysregulated genes. Personalized cancer medicine (Pmed) is a therapeutic approach to pet‐specific care that most often analyzes the molecular features of a patient's cancer, and uses this information to design treatment plans that target critical genetic alterations in that patient's tumor. Pmed can also be used to form the scientific rationale for new drug development that starts with the cancer patient rather than cancer cells in tissue culture. It is clear that cancer is a disease of dysregulated genomics. New genomic characterizations of cancer has fueled the field of precision medicine as a therapeutic approach, delivered recent drug approvals in human oncology, and is increasingly available to all species of cancer patients. Precision cancer medicine can be utilized to improve the understanding of a patient's cancer.
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Our own experiences and scientific evidence demonstrate the significant positive impact therapy animals have on us, including our physical and emotional well-being. For the safety of all animals involved in animal-assisted interventions (AAI), and the humans they interact with, the well-being of therapy animals must also be carefully evaluated. The physical well-being of a therapy animal is paramount for its welfare, as well as the welfare of the humans that benefit from the animal interaction. Appropriate preventative and wellness care can reduce the occurrence of disease in animals and allow for a longer, better quality of life.
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Hunted wild game meat (HGM) is growing in popularity and attracting a premium among consumers. This has led to the emergence of supply chains for industrially produced HGM in many countries. With the growing demand for Halal meat and the disposable income of its consumers around the globe, meat and game industries in countries rich in wild game and feral animals would be encouraged to consider supplying Halal hunted game meat (HHGM) to Halal consumers around the world. Meeting the Halal requirements for industrial HHGM is easy given the already existing supply chains for HGM in many producing countries. What is needed by the Game and Meat Industries in these countries to comply with the Halal requirements in terms of the hunted animal and the hunter, the hunt location, modes and methods, the handling and processing of hunted carcases and the hunted animal welfare and sustainability in the industrial production of HHGM, is the subject of this review.
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Fluvoxamine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and potent σ1-receptor agonist, commonly used in human medicine to treat major depressive disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, as well as other anxiety disorders. To our knowledge, its clinical use in canine behavior medicine has not been well-studied. The purpose of this retrospective study was to document the use of fluvoxamine in conjunction with behavior modification and appropriate environmental changes, in client-owned dogs diagnosed with various anxiety disorders. Our hypothesis was that fluvoxamine combined with the other recommendations could result in a positive outcome without major side effects. All dogs diagnosed with at least one anxiety disorder between January 1st, 2016 and June 30th, 2020 and who received at least 6 months of fluvoxamine were included (n=72). Their medical records were thoroughly reviewed. A phone survey was conducted to validate data in the medical records and enquire about the perceived effect of fluvoxamine on behavior problems. Variables included dog characteristics, drug dosage, treatment observance, and concomitant diseases. Data were categorized and statistically analyzed by parametric and non-parametric tests to study possible associations between different variables. Out of the 72 dogs with at least one anxiety disorder, 11 had an anxiety disorder without aggression, 47 were aggressive towards humans, 51 were aggressive towards other dogs, 5 had compulsive disorders, and 32 had suspected or confirmed separation anxiety. According to the owners’ perception of their dog's behaviors (n=66), 45% of dogs showed a marked improvement, 38% showed a moderate improvement, 15% showed a minimal improvement, and 2% showed no improvement. Most studied variables were not found to significantly correlate with the effect of treatment. However, the presence of a concomitant treated medical condition and the optimal dosage of fluvoxamine respectively showed a positive and a negative correlation with the effect of treatment. None of the tested variables were significantly correlated with the time to reach the optimal dosage. The vast majority of side effects were considered mild, and were observed during the first weeks of treatment or during periods of dose adjustments. Fluvoxamine offers a safe and promising alternative for patients who do not respond to approved SSRI or tricyclic antidepressants.
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There is public interest for the welfare of dogs that spend at least part of their lives housed in kennel facilities, such as working, shelter and sporting dogs. The impacts of living in environments that limit social, physical, and behavioral opportunities are generally well understood in other animals, such as livestock and zoo animals. Research exploring the effects of the kennel environment and its enrichment on the behavior and physiology of dogs is emerging. However, human perceptions concerning what is important to the welfare of kenneled dogs have been overlooked. What people believe is important will influence their behavior, with direct relation to care provided to animals and the underlying social license of related industries to operate. This study evaluated the perceived importance of specific kennel management practices relating to canine health, kennel facility design and routine, social interactions, and environmental enrichment. Over 2,000 self-selected adults completed a voluntary, internet-based questionnaire. Differences in beliefs and attitudes were identified based on kennel facility experience, employment role, age, and gender, highlighting potential areas of discordance that may contribute to occupational stress and staff turnover. The results also suggest that research findings published in the scientific literature may not be successfully translating into evidence-based changes in industry practice. Future models to assess animal welfare should include the critical dimension of human-animal interaction. The beliefs, attitudes, and consequent behaviors of people interacting with dogs housed in kennels will determine how living in captivity impacts upon the experiences and welfare of the resident dogs.
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During two retreats in 2017 and 2020, a group of international scientists convened to explore the Human-Animal Bond. The meetings, hosted by the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace Leadership Institute, took a broad view of the human-dog relationship and how interactions between the two may benefit us medically, psychologically or through their service as working dogs (e.g. guide dogs, explosive detection, search and rescue, cancer detection). This Frontiers’ Special Topic has collated the presentations into a broad collection of 14 theoretical and review papers summarizing the latest research and practice in the historical development of our deepening bond with dogs, the physiological and psychological changes that occur during human-dog interactions (to both humans and dogs) as well as the selection, training and welfare of companion animals and working dogs. The overarching goals of this collection are to contribute to the current standard of understanding of human-animal interaction, suggest future directions in applied research, and to consider the interdisciplinary societal implications of the findings.
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With an increasing recognition of the importance of behavioral health, a growing number of shelters provide some type of behavioral treatment for animals in their care. This chapter describes a variety of specialized interventions ranging from basic training of behaviors intended to make shelter dogs more attractive to potential adopters to behavior modification programs designed to rehabilitate complex behavior problems, including intraspecific aggression, fearfulness, and excessive arousal. Studies of how changing shelter dogs’ behavior influences adopters continue to produce conflicting results, and little research exists on the effectiveness of behavior modification with shelter animals. More research is needed to determine which behavior problems in shelter dogs need treatment and what are the most efficient, effective ways to provide that treatment so shelters can make the best use of available resources to improve quality of life, increase adoptability, reduce length of stay, and place more animals successfully in loving homes.
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This article provides a comprehensive overview of methods for evaluating the suitability of trainee dogs for assistance and guide work. It presents both current practices in industry as well as modern techniques with the aim of identifying important behavioural traits. It is divided into (1) selection and training methods, including breed, genetics, and training programme considerations; (2) behaviour assessment methods such as traditional test batteries, individual ratings and observational tests plus emerging techniques such as canine activity monitoring; (3) physiological assessment methods including cardiac, respiratory and hormonal biomarkers. Assistance dog organisations around the world share a similar overall structure of their training programmes and behavioural assessment methods, however the implementation details vary as no standardised technique is widely employed. Physiological indicators have demonstrated great potential to estimate affective states and personality characteristics such as emotional regulation and coping style. Further investigation is encouraged to validate and define the use of physiological measures to complement behavioural scores in evaluating the suitability of prospective dogs for assistance work. A number of commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) devices are discussed in the terms of their suitability and reliability for monitoring canine activities and cardio-respiratory parameters. This interdisciplinary collaboration is key to further understanding the connection between behaviour and physiology, allowing a more complete evaluation of an individual’s capability which will ultimately enable a highly accurate prediction of their training outcome. We recommend that assistance dog organisations and researchers work together to design new assessment protocols considering validated practices and promising techniques from state-of-the-art literature.
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This chapter addresses ethical concerns in companion animal practice including shelter medicine, outdoor cats, overpopulation, neutering/gonadectomy, conformational disorders/brachycephaly, convenience surgeries/declawing/onychectomy, behavioral medicine, referrals, futile intervention, obesity, and access to veterinary care. Modern animal shelters provide an array of services with population control and animal welfare at the forefront. Sterilization programs have been an integral part of shelter missions to control overpopulation and stop the influx of unwanted animals into shelters. Some shelters have stopped taking in unsocialized cats and euthanizing them. Instead, these cats are now being sterilized, vaccinated, and returned to field. The dog and cat overpopulation crisis in the 1970s coincided with surgical sterilizations becoming routine in private clinics. Neutering involves the surgical removal of gonads. It is performed primarily to prevent companion animal overpopulation. Conformational disorders occur when an animal's shape and structure negatively impact its health and welfare.
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This study investigated the welfare consequences of training dogs in the field with manually operated electronic devices (e-collars). Following a preliminary study on 9 dogs, 63 pet dogs referred for recall related problems were assigned to one of three Groups: Treatment Group A were trained by industry approved trainers using e-collars; Control Group B trained by the same trainers but without use of e-collars; and Group C trained by members of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, UK again without e-collar stimulation (n = 21 for each Group). Dogs received two 15 minute training sessions per day for 4-5 days. Training sessions were recorded on video for behavioural analysis. Saliva and urine were collected to assay for cortisol over the training period. During preliminary studies there were negative changes in dogs' behaviour on application of electric stimuli, and elevated cortisol post-stimulation. These dogs had generally experienced high intensity stimuli without pre-warning cues during training. In contrast, in the subsequent larger, controlled study, trainers used lower settings with a pre-warning function and behavioural responses were less marked. Nevertheless, Group A dogs spent significantly more time tense, yawned more often and engaged in less environmental interaction than Group C dogs. There was no difference in urinary corticosteroids between Groups. Salivary cortisol in Group A dogs was not significantly different from that in Group B or Group C, though Group C dogs showed higher measures than Group B throughout sampling. Following training 92% of owners reported improvements in their dog's referred behaviour, and there was no significant difference in reported efficacy across Groups. Owners of dogs trained using e-collars were less confident of applying the training approach demonstrated. These findings suggest that there is no consistent benefit to be gained from e-collar training but greater welfare concerns compared with positive reward based training.
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Historically, pet dogs were trained using mainly negative reinforcement or punishment, but positive reinforcement using rewards has recently become more popular. The methods used may have different impacts on the dogs’ welfare. We distributed a questionnaire to 364 dog owners in order to examine the relative effectiveness of different training methods and their effects upon a pet dog’s behaviour. When asked how they trained their dog on seven basic tasks, 66% reported using vocal punishment, 12% used physical punishment, 60% praise (social reward), 51% food rewards and 11% play. The owner’s ratings for their dog’s obedience during eight tasks correlated positively with the number of tasks which they trained using rewards (P < 0.01), but not using punishment (P = 0.05). When asked whether their dog exhibited any of 16 common problematic behaviours, the number of problems reported by the owners correlated with the number of tasks for which their dog was trained using punishment (P < 0.001), but not using rewards (P = 0.17). Exhibition of problematic behaviours may be indicative of compromised welfare, because such behaviours can be caused by—or result in—a state of anxiety and may lead to a dog being relinquished or abandoned. Because punishment was associated with an increased incidence of problematic behaviours, we conclude that it may represent a welfare concern without concurrent benefits in obedience. We suggest that positive training methods may be more useful to the pet-owning community
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On wk −1, 24 healthy mixed breed kennel dogs were screened by physical examination, complete blood count, serum biochemistry, and plasma cortisol measurement. Dogs were tested to ensure they barked at an unfamiliar dog. Dogs were randomly assigned to control, electronic bark collar or lemon spray bark collar groups (n = 8 per group). On wk 0 (acclimation baseline), dogs wore inactivated collars 30 min/day for 3 consecutive days. On wks 1 and 2, dogs wore an activated collar 30 min/day for 3 consecutive days. Controls wore an inactivated collar. The bark stimulus was an unfamiliar dog walked in front of the run, three times, 30 s per presentation. Plasma cortisol was measured wk −1, wk 0 d 3, wk 1 d 1, wk 1 d 3 and wk 2 d 3. ACTH was measured wk 0 d 3 and wk 1 d 1. Barking and activity were measured each session.
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The use of electronic training devices for dog training is controversial. The aims of this study were to give an indication of the extent to which dog owners use these devices in England, identify factors associated with their use, and compare owner report of outcomes. A convenience sample of dog owners in England was used to identify numbers using electronic training devices and identify reasons for use. Factors associated with use of remote e-collars only were determined by comparing dogs trained using these devices with two control populations matched for reason of use (recall / chasing problems). Comparison groups were: those using other 'negative reinforcement / positive punishment' training techniques, and those using 'positive reinforcement / negative punishment' based methods. A multinominal logistic regression model was used to compare factors between categories of training method. Owner reported success for use was compared using chi-squared analysis. For England only, 3.3% (n = 133) owners reported using remote activated e-collars, 1.4% (n = 54) reported use of bark activated e-collars, and 0.9% (n = 36) reported using electronic boundary fences. In comparison with the e-collar group, owners using reward based training methods for recall / chasing were 2.8 times more likely to be female and 2.7 times less likely to have attended agility training. Owners using other aversive methods for recall / chasing were 2.8 times more likely to have attended puppy classes than those using e-collars. However, the model only explained 10% variance between groups. A significantly higher proportion of owners in the reward group reported training success than those in the e-collar group. In conclusion, a fairly low proportion of owners select to use electronic training devices. For a population matched by reason for training method use, characteristics of dogs, including occurrence of undesired behaviours do not appear to distinguish between training methods. Rather, owner gender and attendance at training classes appear more important, although explaining a relatively small amount of variance between groups. More owners using reward based methods for recall / chasing report a successful outcome of training than those using e-collars.
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Over the past two decades, we have seen an international shift in perspectives concerning the physical punishment of children. In 1990, research showing an association between physical punishment and negative developmental outcomes was starting to accumulate, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child had just been adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations; however, only four countries had prohibited physical punishment in all settings. By 2000, research was proliferating, and the convention had been ratified by 191 of the world's 196 countries, 11 of which had prohibited all physical punishment. Today, research showing the risks associated with physical punishment is robust, the convention has been integrated into the legal and policy frameworks of many nations, and 31 countries have enacted prohibitions against the physical punishment of children.(1) These three forces - research, the convention and law reform - have altered the landscape of physical punishment. The growing weight of evidence and the re cognition of children's rights have brought us to a historical point. Physicians familiar with the research can now confidently encourage parents to adopt constructive approaches to discipline and can comfortably use their unique influence to guide other aspects of children's healthy development. In doing so, physicians strengthen child well-being and parent-child relationships at the population level. Here, we present an analysis of the research on physical punishment spanning the past two decades to assist physicians in this important role.
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Controllability and predictability are important modulators of the behavioral effects of aversive stimulation on animals. An experiment was conducted to further investigate both the immediate and proactive effects of controllability and predictability of shocks on adrenocortical responsivity. In an initial stress induction phase, the controllability and predictability of electric shocks were independently varied in groups of dogs, and plasma cortisol responses were measured. In a subsequent test phase, all groups of dogs received identical shocks in a novel situation. Cortisol responses to these test shocks were analyzed as a function of the controllability and predictability of previous induction shocks. The results showed that during stress induction, uncontrollable shocks produced significantly greater cortisol elevations that controllable shocks but that predictability had no significant effect on cortisol responses. However, unpredictable shocks during stress induction acted proactively to significantly increase cortisol response to novel test shocks, whereas prior controllability did not modulate subsequent responsivity to novel shocks.
Article
Application of aversive stimuli in training, in particular via electronic training collars, is a highly controversial issue. The aim of the present study was to evaluate stress and learning effects of 3 different training methods, i.e. electronic training collar, pinch collar and a conditioned quitting signal in dog training organized in 3 sessions. In order to assess stress effects of the training methods, salivary cortisol concentrations and behavioural reactions of 42 police dogs of the breed Malinois were measured. The electronic training collar induced less stress and had stronger learning effect in comparison to the other methods in a training situation which required high motivation in case that proficiency of dog trainer is proved. It was also noted that quitting signal was markedly stressful in dogs. In the present study, however, theoretical and practical knowledge of each dog trainer could not be achieved during the assessment of pinch collar as well as quitting signal. Therefore, the findings of the study lead to the conclusion that debates over effectiveness of training methods should include not only the training aids but also the qualification of the trainer.
Article
Determining the most appropriate intervention to address student problem behavior may be a difficult dilemma encountered by school psychologists during consultation activities with special education teachers. IDEA (1997) promotes the least restrictive environment and the least intrusive interventions that can be effective. The intrusiveness of assessment and interventions applied to a problem behavior should involve a positive correlation with the severity of problem behavior with more severe problems warranting more intrusive interventions. This matching of more intrusive interventions to more severe problem behaviors may not be representative of actual practice in education. This type of relationship also infers that more intrusive interventions warrant more extensive assessment procedures although conceptually, more extensive assessments should lead to less intrusive interventions. The ethical issues associated with the intrusiveness of assessment and intervention procedures are discussed within the context of ensuring the least intrusive intervention. Some issues of intrusive interventions to be discussed are the nature and occurrence of the problem behavior, previous interventions attempted, justification of proposed treatments, implementation of proposed treatments, and methods of monitoring and assessing intrusive interventions.
Article
Behavioural effects of the use of a shock collar during guard dog training of German shepherd dogs were studied. Direct reactions of 32 dogs to 107 shocks showed reactions (lowering of body posture, high pitched yelps, barks and squeals, avoidance, redirection aggression, tongue flicking) that suggest stress or fear and pain. Most of these immediate reactions lasted only a fraction of a second. The behaviour of 16 dogs that had received shocks in the recent past (S-dogs) was compared with the behaviour of 15 control dogs that had received similar training but never had received shocks (C-dogs) in order to investigate possible effects of a longer duration. Only training sessions were used in which no shocks were delivered and the behaviour of the dogs (position of body, tail and ears, and stress-, pain- and aggression-related behaviours) was recorded in a way that enabled comparison between the groups. During free walking on the training grounds S-dogs showed a lower ear posture and more stress-related behaviours than C-dogs. During obedience training and during manwork (i.e. excercises with a would-be criminal) the same differences were found. Even a comparison between the behaviour of C-dogs with that of S-dogs during free walking and obedience exercises in a park showed similar differences. Differences between the two groups of dogs existed in spite of the fact that C-dogs also were trained in a fairly harsh way. A comparison between the behaviour during free walking with that during obedience exercises and manwork, showed that during training more stress signals were shown and ear positions were lower. The conclusions, therefore are, that being trained is stressful, that receiving shocks is a painful experience to dogs, and that the S-dogs evidently have learned that the presence of their owner (or his commands) announces reception of shocks, even outside of the normal training context. This suggests that the welfare of these shocked dogs is at stake, at least in the presence of their owner.
Article
Stressors impact on all areas of a pet's life, potentially to the detriment of their well-being. In addition, should this lead to behavior change, it is likely to cause strain in the owner-pet relationship with an increased risk of relinquishment. Understanding why events may be perceived as stressful to a given individual is essential in remedying their effect. Clinicians need to be skilled in recognizing and categorizing potential stressors as well as auditing the background stress in the animal's environment as only once this has been accomplished can specific measures be implemented to reduce the effects of the stress load.
Article
The features of severe ischemic brain damage after strangulation by the owner of a 1-year-old German shepherd dog are described. The dog was disciplined by the owner during training by holding the dog off the ground by his choke chain collar. At first, the dog behaved normally, but he became increasingly ataxic and started circling to the left and showed reduced consciousness. The neurological examination revealed severe disorientation, left lateral pleurothotonus, and circling. The neurological findings were consistent with a multifocal brain lesion. A magnetic resonance imaging scan was performed and showed changes in the T2- and diffusion-weighted images, consistent with severe cerebral edema resulting from ischemia. Because of the severity of the clinical features, the dog was later euthanized. To the author's knowledge, this is the first report of a severe brain ischemia after strangulation in a dog.
Article
The methods by which owners train their pet dogs range widely, with some exclusively using rewards, and others using a combination, or only punishment-based methods. This paper examines links between the way in which owners reported to have trained their dogs and observations of the dogs’ subsequent behaviour. It also explores associations between behaviour of owner and dog when tested in their own home. A total of 53 owners were surveyed about their preferred methods for training each of seven common tasks, and were each filmed interacting with their dog in a series of standardised scenarios. Dogs owned by subjects who reported using a higher proportion of punishment were less likely to interact with a stranger, and those dogs whose owners favoured physical punishment tended to be less playful. However, dogs whose owners reported using more rewards tended to perform better in a novel training task. Ability at this novel task was also higher in dogs belonging to owners who were seen to be more playful and who employed a patient approach to training. This study shows clear links between a dog's current behaviour and its owner's reported training history as well as the owner's present behaviour. High levels of punishment may thus have adverse effects upon a dog's behaviour whilst reward based training may improve a dog's subsequent ability to learn.
Article
While only a few studies have analysed training methods used on working dogs, a recent survey in 303 Belgian military handlers revealed the use of harsh training methods on military working dogs (MWD). The present work aims at analysing the training methods used on Belgian MWD and the behaviour of handlers to objectify the performances of the dog handlers teams (DH teams) and the welfare of the animals.A standardized evaluation, including obedience and protection work exercises, was conducted on DH teams (n=33). Every evaluation was done twice to assess the reliability of the observation methods. The behaviours of MWD and handlers were recorded on videotape and subsequently analysed. Results showed that handlers rewarded or punished their dogs intermittently. Stroking and patting the dogs were the most frequently used rewards. Pulling on the leash and hanging dogs by their collars were the most commonly used aversive stimuli.The team's performance was influenced by the training method and by the dog's concentration: (1) low-performance dogs received more aversive stimuli than high-performance dogs; (2) dog's distraction influenced the performance: distracted dogs performed less well.Handlers punished more and rewarded less at the second evaluation than at the first one. This suggests that handlers modified their usual behaviour at the first evaluation in view to present themselves in a positive light. During the second evaluation the dogs reacted to this higher frequency of aversive stimuli as they exhibited a lower posture after aversive stimuli. The authors cannot prove that the welfare of these dogs had been hampered, but there is an indication that it was under threat.Low team performances suggest that DH teams should train more regularly and undertake the usefulness of setting a new training system that would rely on: the use of more positive training methods, an increased training frequency, the elaboration of a course on training principles, and an improvement of dog handler relationship.
Article
Five cases are described that involve severe attacks on humans by dogs who were being trained or maintained on an electronic pet containment system. The system is designed to boundary train a dog through the use of electric shock in an escape-avoidance conditioning paradigm. Data were collected from legal documents filed in personal injury lawsuits. Analysis of the findings show that all dogs lacked a marked history of aggressive responding, all were adult males, and most were reproductively intact. All attacks happened near the boundary of the property. In every case, the system was operational at the time of attack. Moreover, in most cases, the dog received shock. Findings lend themselves to possible interpretation in terms of unconditioned aggression as a result of a dog having received electronic shock and avoidance-motivated aggression mediated through fear reduction toward human stimuli.
Article
In a questionnaire survey of dog owners, 88% of respondents’ dogs had received some form of training. Training methods varied; 16% of owners said that they used only positive reinforcement, 12% used a combination of positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement, 32% used a combination of positive reinforcement and positive punishment, and the remaining 40% used a combination of all categories. Seventy-two percent of owners used some form of positive punishment. The mean number of potentially undesirable behaviors reported was 11.3 per dog. Attendance at formal training classes did not significantly affect the total number of potentially undesirable behaviors reported. However, dogs that had attended puppy socialization classes were less likely to show an undesirable reaction to dogs from outside the household, and owners who carried out informal training at home, but did not attend any form of formal training class, were more likely to report some form of aggression in their dog. The training method used by owners was also related to the total number of potentially undesirable behaviors shown by the dogs. When individual categories of potentially undesirable behavior were investigated, the type of training method used was also significantly associated with attention-seeking score, fear (avoidance) score, and aggression score. Other factors related to the overall number of potentially undesirable behaviors included the age and origin of the dog.
Article
This study addresses interactions between hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis activation in response to stress, relationship quality, and behavior in thunderstorm-anxious dogs and their owners. Using a controlled repeated-measures design, we experimentally manipulated exposure of individuals to a stressor they were highly fearful of, and assessed both their own and their caregivers’ physiological and behavioral responsiveness. Saliva samples were collected from 19 dog–owner dyads before, 20 and 40min after exposure to a simulated thunderstorm and were later assayed for cortisol. In response to the challenge, the dogs exhibited classic signs of fear (i.e., pacing, whining, hiding), their cortisol levels increased 207%, and these levels did not return to baseline within 40min. There were no effects of the owners’ behavior or the quality of the dog–owner relationship on the dogs’ HPA or behavioral reactivity. However, the presence of other dogs in the household was linked to less pronounced reactivity and more rapid recovery of the dog's HPA response. On average, the cortisol levels of the caregivers did not increase. Owners’ mood (e.g. depression, anger) affected their behavioral response towards their dogs. These findings are among the first to study the HPA responsiveness of anxious canines in response to stress in a home setting, and the physiological and behavioral effects of problem canine behavior on their caregivers.
Article
Over one year, 206 dog owners were questioned in a veterinary clinic. The survey included two groups: 151 owners who visited the clinic because of an injury to their dog caused by another dog and 55 people who owned dogs that caused injuries to others. The questioning served to compare aggressors and victims of dog fights. The form contained 43 questions concerning the dog, the owner, and the incident of intraspecific aggression.The results reveal that both groups, victim and aggressor, showed regularities regarding the breeds, gender, and process of the fight. Important factors include housing conditions, criteria concerning the selection of a dog, and the dog's training. Significant differences were found comparing the owners of aggressors and their victims, including the owner's gender, profession, age, his/her attitude towards dogs, the selection of a specific breed, training methods, the purpose of keeping a dog, and previous experiences owning a dog.Further conclusions were drawn regarding the time and location of the incidents. Their influence on a potential solution to the problem caused by aggressive dogs is discussed.
Article
Poor housing conditions, harsh training sessions and uncontrollable or unpredictable social environments are examples of the situations that may lead to reduced welfare status in dogs. Individuals that suffer from poor welfare presumably experience stress and may consequently exhibit stress responses. In order to evaluate stress responses as potential indicators of poor welfare in dogs, we review studies dealing with dogs subjected to stressors. The reported stress responses are categorized as being behavioural, physiological or immunological, and demonstrate the various ways stress is manifested in the dog.
Article
Prior to seeking the counsel of a veterinary behaviorist many dog owners have attempted behavior modification techniques suggested by a variety of sources. Recommendations often include aversive training techniques which may provoke fearful or defensively aggressive behavior. The purpose of this study was to assess the behavioral effects and safety risks of techniques used historically by owners of dogs with behavior problems.A 30-item survey of previous interventions was included in a behavioral questionnaire distributed to all dog owners making appointments at a referral behavior service over a 1-year period. For each intervention applied, owners were asked to indicate whether there was a positive, negative, or lack of effect on the dog's behavior, and whether aggressive behavior was seen in association with the method used. Owners were also asked to indicate the source of each recommendation. One-hundred-and-forty surveys were completed. The most frequently listed recommendation sources were “self” and “trainers”. Several confrontational methods such as “hit or kick dog for undesirable behavior” (43%), “growl at dog” (41%), “physically force the release of an item from a dog's mouth” (39%), “alpha roll” (31%), “stare at or stare [dog] down” (30%), “dominance down” (29%), and “grab dog by jowls and shake” (26%) elicited an aggressive response from at least a quarter of the dogs on which they were attempted. Dogs presenting for aggression to familiar people were more likely to respond aggressively to the confrontational techniques “alpha roll” and yelling “no” compared to dogs with other presenting complaints (P
Article
The use of electric shock collars for training dogs is the subject of considerable controversy. Supporters claim that they are a reliable means of eliminating self-rewarding behaviour and that they can be used over greater distances and with less risk of stress and injury than mechanical devices, such as choke chains. Opponents cite the risk of incorrect or abusive use and temptation to use electric training collars without thought or time given to alternative training methods, regardless of the fact that their use may be associated with pain and fear. The aim of this study was to investigate whether any stress is caused by the use of electric shock collars or not and in this way to contribute to their evaluation with respect to animal welfare.
Article
Fear and anxiety-related behaviors are common in pet dogs and are likely to cause a physiological stress response in individuals that are exposed to those things they find fear or anxiety-inducing. Stress responses are related to a number of changes in hormonal and immune modulation and have been shown in many species to be related to disease processes and shortened lifespan. It was predicted that dogs with fear and anxiety disorders would have decreased lifespan and increased disease frequency and severity.In this retrospective study, owners of 721 deceased dogs completed a 99 question on-line survey that asked about the demographics, training, behavioral characteristics, health history, age at and cause of death in their pets. Correlational and regression analyses were performed to explore relationships between behavior; fear and anxiety subscales; lifespan; and specific diseases and causes of death.Results show that how “well-behaved” an owner felt their dog was positively correlated with lifespan (R2 = 0.18, P < 0.001). Dogs with extreme non-social fear and separation anxiety were found to have an increased severity and frequency of skin disorders (R2 = 0.03, P < 0.001). While neither stranger-directed fear nor any other fear or anxiety scales were related to specific causes of death, fear of strangers was found to be related to a significantly shortened lifespan (R2 = 0.16, P < 0.001). There is evidence to suggest that the stress of living with a fear or anxiety disorder can have negative effects on health and lifespan in the domestic dog.
Article
Stress parameters that can be measured noninvasively may help to identify poor welfare in dogs that live in private homes and institutions. Behavioural parameters are potentially useful to identify stress, but require further investigation to establish which behaviours are appropriate. In the present study, behaviours were recorded and analysed for signs of acute stress in dogs. Simultaneously, saliva cortisol and heart rate were measured to support the interpretation of the behavioural data with regard to stress. Ten dogs of either sex, different ages and various breeds were each subjected to six different stimuli: sound blasts, short electric shocks, a falling bag, an opening umbrella and two forms of restraint. Each type of stimulus had been selected for its assumed aversive properties and was administered intermittently for 1 min. The stimuli that could not be anticipated by the dogs, sound blasts, shocks and a falling bag, tended to induce saliva cortisol responses and a very low posture. The remainder of the stimuli, which were administered by the experimenter visibly to the dog, did not change the cortisol levels but did induce restlessness, a moderate lowering of the posture, body shaking, oral behaviours, and to a lesser extent, yawning and open mouth. Pronounced increases in the heart rate were nonspecifically induced by each type of stimulus. Heart rate levels normalized within 8 min after stressor administration had stopped. Saliva cortisol levels decreased to normal within the hour. Correlations between behavioural and physiological stress parameters were not significant. From the present results, we conclude that in dogs a very low posture may indicate intense acute stress since dogs show a very low posture concomitant with saliva cortisol responses. Dogs may typically show increased restlessness, oral behaviours, yawning, open mouth and a moderate lowering of the posture when they experienced moderate stress in a social setting. The nonspecific character of canine heart rate responses complicates its interpretation with regard to acute stress.
Article
This study was designed to assess effects of exercise on plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of immunoreactive (ir) beta-endorphin, ACTH, cortisol, norepinephrine, and glucose in the conscious dog. Dogs were exercised on a treadmill at low or high intensity (4.2 miles/h and a 6% or 20% incline) for 90 min, and were allowed to recover for 90 additional min. Neither intensity of exercise changed plasma glucose levels, but dose-related changes in glucose kinetics did occur. CSF glucose declined in both groups. During low intensity exercise, plasma levels of ir-beta-endorphin, ACTH, and cortisol increased with duration of exercise. During high intensity exercise, ACTH, ir-beta-endorphin and cortisol increased faster, and the integrated plasma response of these hormones was greater. Thus, peripheral release of ir-beta-endorphin, ACTH, and cortisol during exercise is dose-related with respect to time and intensity. CSF ir-beta-endorphin and ACTH both increased during low- but not high-intensity exercise. CSF cortisol rose markedly in both exercise groups. During high-intensity exercise there was a 50% increase in CSF norepinephrine, indicating that exercise induces alterations in central noradrenergic turnover. We conclude that exercise is a physiologic regulator of both peripheral and central neuroendocrine systems.
Article
Domesticated dogs occasionally exhibit predatory behaviour towards domestic sheep when running loose in pasture. Both young and old dogs of either sex may chase sheep. Electronic dog collars applying electric shocks are utilised as one method of training dogs to refrain from attacking sheep. This device is used for a number of other training purposes which have raised concern for the welfare of the dogs being trained. This study aims at testing long-term learning effects of previous sheep tests on sheep chasing in hunting dog breeds (Norwegian elkhounds (grey), English setters, and hare hunting dogs), in particular with use of electronic dog collars, in addition to uncovering potential secondary negative effects on dogs’ behaviour and mental stability. The dogs (N=114) were subjected to three tests for two subsequent years, the second year being reported here. Dogs were tested for reactions to different stimuli, including a sheep, in a path test. In a sheep confrontation test, dogs were fenced in with a sheep group and given el. shocks when approaching 1–2 m from sheep. A questionnaire to the dog owners reported differences in dogs’ behaviour between the years.
Article
Reflexive fighting was elicited between paired rats as a reflex reaction to electric shock prior to any specific conditioning. Such fighting was fairly stereotyped and easily differentiated from the rats' usual behavior. The strength of this reflex was not attributable to any apparent operant reinforcement. Elicitation of fighting was a direct function of the enclosed floor area and a nonmonotonic function of the shock intensity. Failure to scramble the polarity of the electrified grid produced inconsistent fighting. Under optimal conditions fighting was consistently elicited by shock regardless of the rat's sex, strain, previous familiarity with each other, or the number present during shock. Repeated shock presentations did not produce an appreciable decrease in fighting until signs of physical debility appeared. Although shock did not cause a rat to attack inanimate objects, it did produce attack movements toward other small animals. Failure of guinea pigs to defend themselves revealed that the elicitation of fighting from the rat does not require reciprocal attack. Paired hamsters showed fighting reactions similar to those of the rats, whereas guinea pigs failed to fight. Electrode shock and a heated floor elicited fighting between the rats, but intense noise and a cooled floor did not.
Article
The effect on intraocular pressure (IOP) from dogs pulling against a collar or a harness was evaluated in 51 eyes of 26 dogs. The force each dog generated while pulling against a collar or a harness was measured. Intraocular pressure measurements were obtained during application of corresponding pressures via collars or harnesses. Intraocular pressure increased significantly from baseline when pressure was applied via a collar but not via a harness. Based on the results of the study, dogs with weak or thin corneas, glaucoma, or conditions for which an increase in IOP could be harmful should wear a harness instead of a collar, especially during exercise or activity.
What's wrong with this picture? Effectiveness is not enough
  • S Friedman
Friedman, S., 2009. What's wrong with this picture? Effectiveness is not enough. J. Appl. Comp. Anim. Behav. 3, 41e45.
Stressdits effects on health and behavior: a guide for practitioners
  • D Mills
  • C Karagiannis
  • H Zulch
Mills, D., Karagiannis, C., Zulch, H., 2014. Stressdits effects on health and behavior: a guide for practitioners. Vet. Clin. North Am.: Small Anim. Pract. 44, 525e541.