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Ability of owners to identify resource guarding behaviour in the domestic dog

By Jacquelyn A. Jacobs, David L. Pearl, Jason B. Coe, Tina M. Widowski, Lee Niel

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Abstract

Canine resource guarding (RG) describes the behaviour used by a dog to achieve or maintain control over an item of perceived value. Three distinct behavioural patterns of RG have been proposed; rapid ingestion (i.e., rapid consumption of an edible item), avoidance (i.e., positioning of the head or body to maintain item control, or location change with the item) and aggression. Research and clinical treatment has been mainly focused on aggressive forms due to the potential for harm to people and other animals. However, rapid ingestion and avoidance patterns are equally important since they may be precursors to aggression, with owner response being an important influencing factor. If this hypothesis is correct, accurate owner recognition of all patterns of RG behaviour is an important first step in preventing future aggression around items. The aim of this study was to determine if owners were able to accurately identify types of RG behaviour patterns, and if additional dog experience influences this ability. Owners (n=1438) were recruited to watch videos, each involving different examples of RG behaviour patterns, and asked to identify each of the categories they observed. Four canine behaviour experts independently validated the videos, prior to the study, for the type of behaviour pattern(s) displayed. Data were analysed using multi-level logistic regression in Stata 13. Owners were more likely to correctly identify the presence or absence of biting aggression compared to all other RG behaviour patterns (p

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 188
Pages 77-83
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2016.12.012
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Tags
  1. Aggression
  2. Avoidance
  3. Canine
  4. identification
  5. Ingestion