Many dogs are involved in didactic projects where they work into classrooms. The current study aimed at preparing and evaluating a behavioural test to assess dogs’ suitability to work with children in a classroom. Twenty-nine pet dogs (19 females and 10 males; 36.8±20.4 month old; 18 purebred and 11 mix-breed; 12 trained for different jobs) were examined. All dogs underwent a purposely prepared behavioural test called DO.C. (DOgs in Classroom), divided into three steps: environmental stimuli (exploration of an unknown room, going up and down stairs, motivation for food and toys, response to noises, novel object, cleaning trolley and bike); social stimuli (contact with an unknown woman and man, passing through a silent group of people, passing through a screaming group, contact with a group, response to an unknown dog, and response to a walking child, a running child and a running and screaming child); and training (sit, down, stay, recall and walking on the leash). All tests were recorded and observed by two trained people who assigned for each stimulus a 1-4 score (1 corresponding to the least and 4 to the most desirable behaviour). Dogs were considered as suitable when all responses to social stimuli were 4, while the minimum accepted score for environmental stimuli was 3. Dog owners had to fill in a questionnaire regarding how their dogs, in daily life, responded to the stimuli administered in the DO.C. test. According to the test, only 5 out of 29 (17.2%) tested dogs resulted suitable at the involvement in didactic projects. The average agreement between the two observers was 80.2%. The results of DO.C. agreed with the owners’ response to the questionnaire for 80.0% of suitable dogs. Among dogs who did not pass the test, 9 out of 24 (37.5%) were reported to be suitable by their owners. These preliminary data, to be confirmed by testing more dogs, suggests that DO.C. test may be used to assess dogs’ suitability to be involved in didactic projects within the classroom.

DO.C.: a behavioural test to evaluate dogs’ suitability for working in the classroom

MARITI, CHIARA;CARLONE, BEATRICE;RICCI, EVA;ZILOCCHI, MARCELLA;GAZZANO, ANGELO
2012

Abstract

Many dogs are involved in didactic projects where they work into classrooms. The current study aimed at preparing and evaluating a behavioural test to assess dogs’ suitability to work with children in a classroom. Twenty-nine pet dogs (19 females and 10 males; 36.8±20.4 month old; 18 purebred and 11 mix-breed; 12 trained for different jobs) were examined. All dogs underwent a purposely prepared behavioural test called DO.C. (DOgs in Classroom), divided into three steps: environmental stimuli (exploration of an unknown room, going up and down stairs, motivation for food and toys, response to noises, novel object, cleaning trolley and bike); social stimuli (contact with an unknown woman and man, passing through a silent group of people, passing through a screaming group, contact with a group, response to an unknown dog, and response to a walking child, a running child and a running and screaming child); and training (sit, down, stay, recall and walking on the leash). All tests were recorded and observed by two trained people who assigned for each stimulus a 1-4 score (1 corresponding to the least and 4 to the most desirable behaviour). Dogs were considered as suitable when all responses to social stimuli were 4, while the minimum accepted score for environmental stimuli was 3. Dog owners had to fill in a questionnaire regarding how their dogs, in daily life, responded to the stimuli administered in the DO.C. test. According to the test, only 5 out of 29 (17.2%) tested dogs resulted suitable at the involvement in didactic projects. The average agreement between the two observers was 80.2%. The results of DO.C. agreed with the owners’ response to the questionnaire for 80.0% of suitable dogs. Among dogs who did not pass the test, 9 out of 24 (37.5%) were reported to be suitable by their owners. These preliminary data, to be confirmed by testing more dogs, suggests that DO.C. test may be used to assess dogs’ suitability to be involved in didactic projects within the classroom.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/226349
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