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Judging a dog by its cover: morphology but not training influences visitor behavior toward kenneled dogs at animal shelters

By A. Protopopova, C. D. L. Wynne

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Abstract

Currently, visitor behavior in companion animal shelters is not adequately explored. A sequence of experiments investigated how visitors interacted with kenneled dogs at an animal shelter and whether training dogs to not engage in undesirable behavior in their kennels would evoke more interest from shelter visitors. In a set of two experiments, two sides of an animal shelter were differentially entered into training phases in a multiple baseline design. During the training phase, dogs were trained to not engage in undesirable in-kennel behavior (i.e., to not be in the back of the kennel, to not face backwards, to not lean on kennel walls, and to not bark) through pairing of the visual presentation of the experimenters (experiment 1) and shelter visitors (experiment 2) with treats. Across both experiments, visitors attended to approximately 35% of kenneled dogs and only spent an average of 15 s looking at individual dogs. We found that whereas training was effective in decreasing undesirable behavior in dogs (experiment 1: U=4.83, p

Publication Title Anthrozoƶs
Volume 29
Issue 3
Pages 469-487
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI 10.1080/08927936.2016.1181381
Language English
Author Address Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University, PO Box 42141, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA.a.protopopova@ttu.edu
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Tags
  1. Animal housing
  2. Animals
  3. Anthrozoology
  4. Bark
  5. Canidae
  6. Canine
  7. Carnivores
  8. Dogs
  9. Education
  10. Extension
  11. Humans
  12. Information
  13. Kennels
  14. Mammals
  15. Men
  16. Pets and companion animals
  17. Primates
  18. Psychiatry and psychology
  19. shelters
  20. Social psychology and social anthropology
  21. training
  22. vertebrates
  23. visitors
  24. young animals
  25. Zoology