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Evaluating ADHD Assessment for Dogs: A Replication Study

By Barbara Csibra, Nóra Bunford, Márta Gácsi

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The family dog, in its natural environment, exhibits neuropsychological deficits redolent of human psychiatric disorders, including behaviours similar to human Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms. For dogs, Vas and colleagues developed a 13-item questionnaire to measure inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity (Dog ARS; 2007). We re-assessed, in a large sample of dogs (N = 319), psychometric properties of the Dog ARS, to identify possible limitations as a basis for further development. We examined the cross-study stability of factor structure and 40-day temporal stability of item and subscale scores and compared owner-report with expert (dog trainer)-report (n = 86), paralleling human parent/teacher assessments. To identify ambiguous items, we administered a modified version (including “I don’t know” options, N = 520) to a different sample. We could replicate the factor structure with evidence of good internal consistency and test–retest reliability of both subscales. Agreement between owner and trainer ratings was fair (inattention) and moderate (hyperactivity/impulsivity). Three ambiguous items were identified. Overall, we claim that the Dog ARS is a reliable tool to assess ADHD-like behaviour in dogs, but in its current form, it is not suitable to detect diagnosable individuals, as it does not comprise items assessing functional impairment, and also, the inclusion of owner-expert ratings in the evaluation process would be necessary. 

Date 2022
Publication Title Animals
Volume 12
Issue 7
Pages 807
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615
DOI 10.3390/ani12070807
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Attention deficit disorder
  2. Domestic animals
  3. Hyperactivity
  4. models
  5. open access
  6. Questionnaires
  1. open access