An analysis of video-recordings of 20 dogs with separation problems suggested that separation behaviour may be divided into; exploratory behaviour, object play including elements of predatory behaviour, destructive behaviour and vocalization. Elimination behaviour was only found in one case. Separation behaviour was correlated with the level of arousal. There was a clear distinction between 'destructive' dogs and 'howlers'. Object play seemed to be closely related with destructive behaviour. A model for the time course of activity from the owner's departure was developed. The model includes 2 components: (1) a cyclic component of 23-28 min and controlled by internal factors, and (2) a long-term exponential decrease, which may be influenced by external factors arousing the dog. It is suggested that separation problems are caused by frustration related to the dependency on the owner and are not caused by disobedience or boredom. It is then proposed that the frustration in turn may lead to arousal, increased fear and the disinhibition of play or predatory behaviour, leading to destructive behaviour. It is also suggested that barking was caused by arousal, whereas howling and whining may have been caused by fear.
|Applied Animal Behaviour Science
|Division of Ethology and Health, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Bulowsvej 13, DK-1870 Frederiksberg C, Copenhagen, Denmark.
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