Consultations involving canine aggression are very challenging for behaviourists. The aim of this study was to analyse the behaviour of dogs during behavioural consultations, in order to assess whether those which were aggressive to people acted differently in this context from those which were not. Videos of twenty-six behavioural consultations, carried out in a behavioural service, were analysed. The sample included 13 dogs with a history of aggression towards people and 13 dogs with other non-aggression behavioural problems (NAG). Of the aggressive dogs, seven showed aggression toward family members (AGF) and six towards strangers (AGS). For each video, a total of 30 minutes were observed in three focal periods (minutes 0-10, 25-35 and 50-60). The duration of social and non-social behaviours was recorded. Contrasts between groups were analysed using the Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney tests (p<0.05). Compared with the NAG group, the AGS group dogs displayed significantly longer durations of: attention-seeking from the owner (medians: 0.875 versus 0; minimum-maximum ranges: 0-16.25 versus 0-1; U=9.50; p=0.003), sniffing the owner (2.38 versus 0; 0-9 versus 0-3.5; U=13.00; p=0.011), and proximity to the owner (460.75 versus 131.375; 343-776 versus 38.3-476; U=9.00; p=0.009). AGF dogs showed a statistically higher level of behavioural signs of stress (sum of: licking lips + yawning + shaking + scratching + autogrooming + trembling + whining) compared to NAG (53 versus 19; 8-105 versus 1-120; U=21.00; p=0.052), and a longer duration of autogrooming (14 versus 0; 0-98 versus 0-5; U=20.00; p=0.027). No difference was found between AGF and AGS groups. From reports and scientific literature, it could be hypothesised that the higher level of social, and affiliative behaviours displayed by AGS dogs to their owners might be due to their seeking for a secure base; they were in the presence of an unfamiliar person (the behaviourist). The stress displayed by AGF dogs was perhaps related to anxiety, originating in inconsistency and conflict within the dog-owner relationship, and the use of punishment by the owners (who were present). In conclusion, a careful analysis of the behaviour of dogs during a consultation could provide additional valuable support in the diagnostic process.
|Titolo:||Analysis of dog behaviour during consultations: a comparison between dogs aggressive and non-aggressive to people|
GAZZANO, ANGELO (Primo)
MARITI, CHIARA (Ultimo)
|Anno del prodotto:||2015|
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