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Revisiting a Previously Validated Temperament Test in Shelter Dogs, Including an Examination of the Use of Fake Model Dogs to Assess Conspecific Sociability

By Shanis Barnard, Danielle Kennedy, Reuben Watson, Paola Valsecchi, Gareth Arnott

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

This study assessed the feasibility and reproducibility of a previously validated temperament test (TT) for shelter dogs. The test was developed to measure dog behaviour in the kennel, and traits of sociability towards people and other dogs, docility to leash, playfulness, cognitive skills, and reactivity. We introduced the use of differently sized fake dogs to check their appropriateness in correctly assessing sociability to dogs to broaden its applicability (as the original study used real stimulus dogs). We hypothesised that dogs’ responses may be modulated by the body size of the stimulus dog presented. The reduction analysis of the TT scores extracted five main dimensions (explaining 70.8% of variance), with high internal consistency (alpha > 0.65) and being broadly consistent with existing research. Behavioural components that were extracted from the fake dog experiment showed that dogs are likely to show signs of anxiety and fear toward both the real and fake dog. Dogs’ responses towards a real vs. fake stimulus were significantly correlated (p < 0.05) and they were not affected by the size of the stimulus (p > 0.05). We discuss the importance of interpreting these data with caution and use behavioural tests as a partial screening tool to be used in conjunction with more extensive behavioural and welfare monitoring.

Submitter

Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2019
Publication Title Animals
Volume 9
Issue 10
Pages 14
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ani9100835
URL https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/9/10/835
Language English
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal roles
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Dogs
  4. Mammals
  5. open access
  6. Pets and companion animals
  7. Shelter pets
  8. sociability
  9. temperament
Badges
  1. open access