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Assessing dogs using a temperament test - will training affect the outcome? : a test-retest trial as a forensic tool

By Sophie Luisa Fechner

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Abstract

Temperament Tests can be a forensic tool as they are often used to clarify legal cases in which dogs were allegedly involved in circumstances of aggression towards humans or other dogs. The test used in this study, the standardized temperament test of Lower Saxony, a battery type test of 36 situations scaled from 1-7 aims to identify those dogs that show disturbed or inadequate aggression at the point of the evaluation. To be able to use this test as a forensic decision making tool it is important to understand if aggressive behaviour shown in the test can be altered through training. The records of all Temperament Tests applied at the Hamburg Shelter since 2006 to 2016, a total of 264 were analysed. From these records, the dogs that were subject to two Temperament Tests were chosen: n= 28 dogs. These dogs had been subject to a first Temperament Test at the Shelter, were trained, and then took a re-test. The 36 situations comprising the test were bundled into 5 sub-groups of situations evaluating similar circumstances and the results of the first and the second temperament test were analysed applying a paired Wilcoxon signed rank test with continuity correction. The training the dogs had been subject to in the meantime was taken into consideration. The average values in two of the five bundles were lower in the second temperament test: in the bundle of situations where the dogs had to interact with threatening humans the average value went from 1.64 in the first test to 1.39 in the second test (P=0.03) and in the bundle of situations of dog-dog contact, the average value went from 1.98 in the first test to 1.53 in the second test (P=0.02). These results suggest that training does have an effect on the aggressive behaviour shown in some test situations. 23/28 dogs, 82,1%, passed the second Temperament Test after being trained at the shelter. Practical implications and future applicability of the test are discussed.

Submitter

Mason N McLary

HABRI Central

Date 2017
Pages 71
Publisher Universidade de Lisboa
Location of Publication Lisbon, Portugal
Department Medicina VeterinĂ¡ria
URL http://hdl.handle.net/10400.5/13120
Language English
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Tags
  1. Aggression
  2. Animal roles
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  5. breed specific legislation
  6. Dogs
  7. Health
  8. Mammals
  9. Personality
  10. temperament
  11. Temperament tests
  12. training