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Dogs' body language relevant to learning achievement

By M. Hasegawa, N. Ohtani, M. Ohta

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The facial expressions and body postures of dogs can give helpful information about their moods and emotional states. People can more effectively obedience train their dogs if we can identify the mannerisms associated with learning in dogs. The aim of this study was to clarify the dog's body language during operant conditioning to predict achievement in the test that followed by measuring the duration of behaviors. Forty-six untrained dogs (17 males and 26 females) of various breeds were used. Each session consisted of 5 minutes of training with a treat reward followed by 3 minutes of rest and finally an operant conditioning test that consisted of 20 "hand motion" cues. The operant tests were conducted a total of nine times over three consecutive days, and the success numbers were counted. The duration of the dog's behavior, focusing on the dog's eyes, mouth, ears, tail and tail-wagging, was recorded during the operant conditioning sessions before the test. Particular behaviors, including wide-eyes, closed mouth, erect ears, and forward and high tail carriage, without wagging or with short and quick wagging, related to high achievement results. It is concluded that dogs' body language during operant conditioning was related to their success rate.

Publication Title Animals
Volume 4
Issue 1
Pages 45-58
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615
Language English
Author Address Azabu University School of Veterinary Medicine, 1-17-71, Fuchinobe, Chuo-ku, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 252-5201,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animals
  3. Canidae
  4. Canine
  5. Carnivores
  6. Conditioning
  7. Dogs
  8. Ear
  9. Eyes
  10. Learning
  11. Mammals
  12. mouth
  13. Movement
  14. peer-reviewed
  15. tails
  16. training of animals
  17. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed