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Development of a novel paradigm for the measurement of olfactory discrimination in dogs ( Canis familiaris): a pilot study

By H. E. Salvin, C. McGrath, P. D. McGreevy, M. J. Valenzuela

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Olfactory dysfunction in older human beings has been shown to be associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline, yet age-related changes in olfactory behavior have received little attention in the dog model of human aging. We developed an odor habituation and fine odor discrimination paradigm to test the hypothesis that dogs would show a novelty response toward unfamiliar urine from entire male conspecifics. We tested 26 odor detection dogs (14 females, 12 males) from the New South Wales police dog unit, ranging in age from 1 year 2 months to 11 years 10 months. First, dogs were familiarized with a master odor over 2 presentations. Second, we measured difference in investigation time of a master odor as compared with 5 odor mixtures using the following ratios of novel-to-master odor: 100:0, 80:20, 60:40, 40:60, and 20:80. Dogs habituated to the master odor after the first presentation ( t(25)=6.048, P8 years, N=6) to show reduced habituation as compared with middle-aged dogs (5-8 years, N=9) and with all dogs aged

Publication Title Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
Volume 7
Issue 1
Pages 3-10
ISBN/ISSN 1558-7878
DOI 10.1016/j.jveb.2011.04.005
Language English
Author Address Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW,
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Age
  2. Aging
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Animal physiology
  5. Animals
  6. APEC countries
  7. Australasia
  8. Australia
  9. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  10. Canidae
  11. Canine
  12. Carnivores
  13. Commonwealth of Nations
  14. Countries
  15. Developed countries
  16. Dogs
  17. Humans
  18. Mammals
  19. Measurement
  20. Men
  21. mixtures
  22. models
  23. Oceania
  24. odors
  25. OECD countries
  26. peer-reviewed
  27. Pets and companion animals
  28. Primates
  29. ratios
  30. Research
  31. samples
  32. Techniques
  33. urine
  34. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed