Accelerometers track changes in physical activity which can indicate health and welfare concerns in dogs. The FitBark 2 (FitBark) is an accelerometer for use with dogs; however, no studies have externally validated this tool. The objective of this study was to evaluate FitBark criterion validity by correlating FitBark activity data to dog step count. Dogs (n = 26) were fitted with a collar-mounted FitBark and individually recorded for 30 min using a three-phase approach: (1) off-leash room explore; (2) human-dog interaction; and (3) on-leash walk. Video analysis was used to count the number of times the front right paw touched the ground (step count). Dog step count and FitBark activity were moderately correlated across all phases (r = 0.65, p < 0.001). High correlations between step count and FitBark activity were observed during phases 1 (r = 0.795, p < 0.001) and 2 (r = 0.758, p < 0.001), and a low correlation was observed during phase 3 (r = 0.498, p < 0.001). In conclusion, the FitBark is a valid tool for tracking physical activity in off-leash dogs; however, more work should be done to identify the best method of tracking on-leash activity.
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