Skara Master thesis in Animal Science. Studentarbete Nr. 441 Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa - PDF

Human-Canine interaction Active support versus passive support: The influence of type of support given by the owner on the behaviour of the domestic dog (canis familiaris) in an approach test Interaktion

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Human-Canine interaction Active support versus passive support: The influence of type of support given by the owner on the behaviour of the domestic dog (canis familiaris) in an approach test Interaktion hund-människa Aktiv kontra passiv support: Hur typen av support från hundägaren påverkar hundens beteende mot en främmande person under promenader Petra Neessen Skara 2013 Master thesis in Animal Science Studentarbete Nr. 441 Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa Student report No. 441 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Department of Animal Environment and Health ISSN X Human-Canine interaction Active support versus passive support: The influence of type of support given by the owner on the behaviour of the domestic dog (canis familiaris) in an approach test Interaktion hund-människa Aktiv kontra passiv support: Hur typen av support från hundägaren påverkar hundens beteende mot en främmande person under promenader Petra Neessen Studentarbete 441, Skara 2013 Master thesis in Animal Science, Level A2E, EX0567, 30 hp Handledare: Bonne Beerda Wageningen UR, Livestock Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands Joanne van der Borg Wageningen UR, Animal Sciences, Wageningen, The Netherlands Linda Keeling Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health, Skara, Sweden Examinator: Maria Andersson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health, Skara, Sweden Nyckelord: canine, human, interaction, support, owner, domestic dog, dog, canis familiaris Serie: Studentarbete/Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa, nr. 441, ISSN X Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet Fakulteten för veterinärmedicin och husdjursvetenskap Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa Box 234, SKARA E-post: Hemsida: I denna serie publiceras olika typer av studentarbeten, bl.a. examensarbeten, vanligtvis omfattande 7,5-30 hp. Studentarbeten ingår som en obligatorisk del i olika program och syftar till att under handledning ge den studerande träning i att självständigt och på ett vetenskapligt sätt lösa en uppgift. Arbetenas innehåll, resultat och slutsatser bör således bedömas mot denna bakgrund. 2 Abstract Strong emotional responses in domestic dogs (canis familiaris) to unfamiliar people or in situations, for example during walks, may increase the risk of dogs biting people. Aggressive behaviour by dogs towards humans is much discussed and has significant consequences for society. The calming effects of dog-owners on dogs could prevent such unwanted responses. However, to what degree owners directly influence their dog s behaviour in situations that may cause tension in the dog is largely unknown. The way dog-owners react in general and interact with their dog will in part be a reflection of their personality whereas a dog s response to signals from its owner will reflect its personality, making the personalities of both dogs and owners relevant when investigating owner-dog interactions. In this research the effect of active support (tactile and vocal) versus passive support (only presence) given by the owner on the dogs behaviour towards a strange-looking approaching person was investigated. In total 66 dog-owner combinations were tested via an approach paradigm, in which a strange-looking person approaches the dog-owner combination three times, while the owner received an instruction on how to behave during such confrontations. Also characteristics of the owner (using the Five Factor Model of personality and the Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale) and the dog (using the Canine Behavioural assessment & Research Questionnaire) were taken into account. The behaviour of the dog and the effect of the instruction and the repeated exposure on the behaviour was analysed via multiple restricted maximum likelihood analyses. Owners ignoring the dog seemed to facilitate Looking at the stranger, Looking away and Boldness behaviours, indicating a stronger sensitisation for passive avoidance or approach behaviour. However, responses to the degree of social support differed between types of dogs. Relatively, when supported actively by the owner, aggressive dogs seemed to become more aroused and showed more extravert behaviours and fearful dogs showed more active-avoidance behaviour. Thus, when owners gave active support to their dog this reduced conflict-related behaviour towards an approaching person, but effects differed in dogs known to be aggressive or fearful towards strangers in general. In such dogs active support resulted in more aggressive or fear-related behaviour, in comparison to when these dogs received passive support. Social support may attenuate behavioural inhibition in fearaggressive dogs, facilitating the expression of conflict behaviour like avoidance and aggression. The personality of the owner had an effect on the behaviour of the dog in that active support given by extravert or conscientious owners reduced the conflict-related behaviour of the dog and active support given by introvert or non-conscientious owners resulted in more conflict-related behaviour. Independently of type of support, dogs of agreeable owners showed relatively high levels of avoidance behaviour and became more aroused with repeated exposure. Dogs of neurotic owners showed relatively much fearful behaviour and those owned by closed people acted less calm towards the approaching person. Owner-dog relationship also had an influence on the effect of active support. Active support given by owners who reported having a good emotional bond with the dogs had a stronger conflict-reducing effect than active support given by owners who had weaker emotional bonds, however former these dogs did respond with more unease as compared to the passive support, which could be linked to behavioural inhibition release. Also a strong opposite of the proposed effect of active support was seen when the dog was seen as costly. Results produced by this type of studies could be used in the future to give advice to dog owners in how to respond in future threatening situations. Preliminary results indicate that giving active support is a good way to reduce the emotional responses in dogs confronted with unfamiliar people. However, if the dog is known to be aggressive or fearful, then it might be better for the surrounding people to ignore the dog, otherwise the reduction of stress might disinhibit unwanted responses of 3 the dog. It is also seen that personality of the owner and the bond the owner has with the dog has an effect on the behaviour of the dog and how the dog responds to support. Thus dog-owner interaction is important in understanding the dogs behaviour and should be included in the investigation towards reducing problem behaviour in dogs. Samenvatting Sterke emotionele reacties van de domesticeerde honden (canis familiaris), bijvoorbeeld tijdens het uitgelaten, kan het risico tot hondenbeten vergroten. Agressief gedrag van honden is een veel besproken onderwerp en heeft significante consequenties voor de samenleving. Het rustgevende effect van eigenaren op honden kan een manier zijn om deze ongewenste reacties tijdens het uitlaten te verminderen, maar op welke manier de eigenaren het gedrag van hun hond direct beïnvloeden in situaties die druk veroorzaken, is grotendeels onbekend. De manier waarop eigenaren reageren en omgaan met hun hond zal gedeeltelijk een weerspiegeling zijn van hun eigen persoonlijkheid en de manier waarop hun hond reageert op de signalen die de eigenaar afgeeft zal de honds persoonlijkheid weerspiegelen. Hierdoor is het van belang om de persoonlijkheid van de honden en de eigenaren te onderzoeken tijdens het bekijken van hond-eigenaar interacties. In dit onderzoek werd het effect van actieve steun (via aanraking en woorden) versus passieve steun (alleen aanwezigheid) gegeven door de eigenaar, op het gedrag van de hond richting een vreemd uitziend tegemoetkomend persoon onderzocht. In totaal waren 66 hond-eigenaar combinaties getest via een benaderingsparadigma. De vreemd uitziende persoon liep drie keer richting de hondeigenaar combinatie, terwijl de eigenaar een instructie kreeg om op een bepaalde manier te reageren. Daarnaast zijn de persoonlijkheidskenmerken van de eigenaar (via Five Factor Model), de hond-eigenaar relatie (via Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale) en kenmerken van de hond (via Canine Behavioural assessment & Research Questionnaire) meegenomen in de analyse. Het gedrag van de hond en het effect van de instructie en herhaalde blootstelling op het gedrag was geanalyseerd via multiple restricted maximum likelihood analyses. Het negeren van de hond faciliteerde het kijkgedrag naar de onbekende persoon, het wegkijken en proactieve gedragingen. Dit laat een sterkere sensitisatie voor vermijding of benaderend gedrag zien. Maar agressieve honden lieten juist meer opgewonden en extraverte gedragingen zien en angstige honden juist meer actief vermijdingsgedrag als ze actief gesteund werden. Vanuit de resultaten van dit onderzoek kan de conclusie worden getrokken dat het geven van actieve steun een vermindering van conflictgerelateerd gedrag richting een benaderende persoon veroorzaakt. Dit effect is echter anders als de hond bekend staat om zijn agressiviteit of angst richting vreemde personen. In dat geval resulteerde de actieve steun juist in agressief of angst-gerelateerd gedrag. Dit kan verklaard worden met dat sociale steun gedragsmatige inhibitie in angst-agressieve honden verminderd, waardoor de uiting van conflict gedragingen zoals vermijding en agressie mogelijk wordt. Daarnaast laten de resultaten zien dat persoonlijkheid van de eigenaar een invloed heeft op het gedrag van de hond, op de manier dat actieve steun resulteert in minder conflict-gerelateerd gedrag van de honden van extraverte of consciëntieuze eigenaren. Dit effect was andersom voor honden van eigenaren die niet consciëntieus of introvert waren. Ook bleek dat honden van meegaande eigenaren meer vermijdingsgedrag laten zien en meer opgewonden raakte bij herhaalde blootstelling en honden van gesloten eigenaren waren minder kalm naar de tegemoetkomende persoon toe. Hond-eigenaar relatie had ook een invloed op het effect van actieve steun. Actieve steun gegeven door eigenaren die een goede emotionele band hadden met hun hond, gaf een sterker conflict- 4 reducerend effect, dan actieve steun gegeven door eigenaren die een minder goede band hadden. De honden bleken wel meer ongemak te vertonen in vergelijking met de honden die genegeerd werden. Dit laatste is mogelijk te verklaren door een verlichting van de gedragsmatige inhibitie. Het tegenovergestelde effect van actieve steun was te zien als de hond gezien word als een kostenpost. De resultaten van dit onderzoek kunnen in de toekomst worden gebruikt om advies te geven aan eigenaren betreffende hun eigen reactie in een toekomstige bedreigende situatie. Voorlopige resultaten geven aan dat actieve steun een goede manier is om ongewilde reacties van de hond richting onbekende personen te verminderen. Echter als de hond bekend staat om zijn agressieve of angstig gedrag, dan is het verstandiger om de hond te negeren, anders kan de vermindering van conflict leiden tot meer ongewilde reacties van de hond richting de omstanders. Persoonlijkheid van de eigenaar en de relatie tussen de eigenaar en de hond bleken ook een effect op het gedrag van de hond en het effect van steun daarop. Hond-eigenaar interactie is dus ook van belang in het onderzoek naar het gedrag en het verminderen van probleem gedrag van de hond. 5 Table of Contents Abstract... 3 Samenvatting... 4 Dog-owner interaction Anxiolytic effects of human support Anxiolytic effects of animals on humans Communication between dogs and owners Effect personality of owner and perceived owner-dog relationship on the dogs behaviour Effect repeated exposure to stressor Current study Material and Methods Participants Procedure Stranger Approach Test Measurements Statistical Analysis Results General behaviour and data reduction Effect of instruction and trial on the dogs behaviour Effect C-BARQ scores on the dogs behaviour Effect MDORS scores on the dogs behaviour Effect personality scores owner on the dogs behaviour Effect of changing the behaviour of the stimulus Discussion Acknowledgements References Appendix A Appendix B Appendix C Appendix D Appendix E Appendix F Dog-owner interaction Inappropriate emotional responses of domestic dogs (canis familiaris), e.g. during walks, may lead to bites, and this phenomenon may have significant consequences for society. People may get serious injuries and sometimes these injuries even lead to fatalities (Cornelissen & Hopster, 2010). Cornelissen and Hopster (2010) performed a survey among Dutch citizens and found that most dogrelated biting incidents involve dogs in public areas with non-owners being the victims, and that these bites typically appeared to be intentional and without clear triggers. Owners are likely to affect their dogs behaviour and they may (unintentionally) play a role in their dogs unwanted responses, and thus owner behaviour is a potential source to reduce the number of dog bites. One way this owner-dog relationship can possibly reduce the number of dog bites is by reducing the stress of the dog during encounters with other dogs and humans by providing social support. The effect of owner provided social support in conflict situations is not yet researched, but the calming effects of human presence on animals has been reported for different situations and species (including dogs). 1.1 Anxiolytic effects of human support Humans can have calming (anti-anxiety) effects on other humans, for example resulting from a parent-child bond. Wolfram and Turner (1996) investigated the effect of the presence of the parent on children subject to a venipuncture procedure. Both the parent and the child had to indicate their level of distress right after the procedure using a 10cm visual analogue scale. Both parent and child indicated to experience less distress when the parent was present. Not only does the presence of the parent have an anxiolytic effect, but they also serve as a social reference for the infant. Infants use emotional expressions of the parent in order to regulate their own emotional response. This was tested by De Rosnay et al. (2006), who instructed mothers to interact with a stranger in a socially anxious manner and in a non-anxious manner, without directly interacting with their child. First the stranger interacted with the mother and after 90s they interacted with the child while the mother ignored the interaction. The results showed that children (between 12 and 14 month old) were more fearful towards the stranger and avoided that person more, when the mother previously interacted anxiously towards this same person. Children also look at the parent s expression in uncertain situations (e.g. a novel toy) (Mumme et al., 1996; Vaish & Striano, 2004). When the emotional vocal expression of the parent is then fearful, the child is more hesitant to approach the toy. In this experiment negative vocal expression showed a strong effect on the behaviour of the child, but neutral or positive expression did not (Mumme et al., 1996). The authors did not find an effect of the mothers facial expressions on the children s reactions. Vaish and Striano (2004) investigated the effect of vocal versus facial expressions via a visual cliff paradigm. The children were placed on a table of which a chequered pattern created a visual illusion of a 28cm deep cliff between the child and the mother. Then the child was given positive cues by the mother (vocal cues, facial cues and a combination of the two) to cross. They also found that vocal cues were more effective in convincing the child to cross a (imaginable) cliff (as in shorter latency to cross). However the children also crossed the cliff based on facial cues only, which is not consistent with the findings of Mumme et al. (1996). In other experiments using the visual cliff paradigm the facial cues were also evident. An explanation of this could be that the visual cliff paradigm is more threatening than the novel toy and the children will thus use also facial cues instead of focusing only on vocal cues (Mumme et al., 1996; Vaish & Striano, 2004). 7 Humans do not only have anxiolytic effects on other humans, but effects also exist between humans and animals. An example of this is an experiment based on the Ainsworth s Strange situation procedure. In this procedure the behaviour of the dogs was examined when they were in an unfamiliar room with their owner. After a while a stranger entered the room and the owner left, returning after a short time. This experiment showed that when the owner was present the dog explored more and played more with the stranger, than when the owner was not present. According to the researchers the presence of the owner served as a secure base in which the dogs could explore the environment. This experiment was counterbalanced for the order in which treatments were applied so the results are not because of habituation (Palmer & Custance, 2008; Valsecchi et al., 2010). Anxiolytic effects in dog by their owner s presence (Palmer and Custance 2008, Valsecchi et al. 2010) implies an extensive familiarization period, but the study of Rault et al. (2011) demonstrated that shorter periods of familiarization can be effective too. They familiarized lambs to a person and during a subsequent experiment isolated a lamb from groups consisting of two or three individuals. These individuals could consist of lambs alone or one lamb was replaced with the familiar human. The results showed that the remaining group perceived the absence of a group mate less stressful (less vocalizations) when originally they were together in a group of three than when they were in a group of two. Whether this group consisted of two sheep and a human or three sheep did not affect the response of the sheep. According to Rault et al. (2011) this implies that the person can replace another sheep when looking at the support the group can give. Comparable results were reported in pigs (Bolhuis et al., 2006). Pigs were constrained and tested for heart rate, cortisol levels and behaviour. During this constraint test a familiar pig, familiar human or nobody was present. The results showed that the pigs with a human companion showed less escape behaviour, were less alert and defecated less than when they were alone. Also heart rate was lower in the groups that were provided social support. The above mentioned studies were all about the effect of human presence only, and it is thus unsurprising that human handling affects fear-related behaviour in animals. In an experiment of Waiblinger et al. (2004) it has been shown that gentle handling of cows by a familiar handler during veterinary procedure reduces restless behaviour and lowers increases in heart rate. During the veterinary procedures (e.g. rectalisation and sham insemination) the handlers, whom the cows were previously familiarized to, petted the cow and spoke to them in a soothing way. This was also done by one of the caretakers and an unknown person. The heart rate increased during the tests in general, but less so when they were stroked during the treatment by a familiar person. Also, the cows showed less restless behaviour. Stroking by a familiar person thus seems to be perceived positively by animals at times of stress. These effects were not seen when the unknown person or one of the caretakers petted the cow, indicating the importance of the bond between animal and person. A similar result is found in an experiment with dogs (Hennesy et al., 1998). People were instructed to stroke the dog gently and speak to it in a soothing tone for 20 minutes. This petting session was preceded and
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