The effect of conspecific removal on the behaviour and physiology of pair-housed shelter dogs

Walker, Jessica K., Waran, Natalie K. and Phillips, Clive J. C. (2014) The effect of conspecific removal on the behaviour and physiology of pair-housed shelter dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 158 46-56. doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2014.06.010

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Author Walker, Jessica K.
Waran, Natalie K.
Phillips, Clive J. C.
Title The effect of conspecific removal on the behaviour and physiology of pair-housed shelter dogs
Journal name Applied Animal Behaviour Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0168-1591
Publication date 2014-09-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.06.010
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 158
Start page 46
End page 56
Total pages 11
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Abstract Dogs (Canis familiaris) are a highly social species and within a shelter environment pair-housing is recommended to prevent the stress associated with social isolation. Separation of individuals which may have formed bonds in this environment is a usual occurrence, as a result of rehoming or euthanasia. To investigate the impact of separation, the behaviour, cognitive bias, faecal S-IgA and cortisol levels were examined in 12 adult pair-housed dogs, maintained in a private animal shelter. Prior to separation, dogs engaged in more affiliative than agonistic behaviour with conspecifics (means of 3 and 0.1% of time respectively). Following separation, increased activity was observed in the form of more running and grooming (P= 0.02), circling (P= 0.006), figure of 8 movement (P= 0.01), posture changes (P= 0.003) and stretching (P= 0.005), and less play behaviour was observed (P= 0.01). Secretory IgA increased (P=0.02) after separation (mean. = 443.7. ±. 182.5. ng/mL; before separation mean. = 370.1. ±. 108.2. ng/mL). Cortisol concentrations were not affected by separation (P= 0.26, mean before separation. = 792. ng/g; mean after separation. = 874. ng/g). There was no indication from cognitive bias testing that the dogs' emotional valency was affected, as latencies to reach ambiguous cues before and after separation did not differ significantly (P= 0.33). These results demonstrate that separation of a dog from a conspecific negatively affected behaviour and stimulated the immune system, changes which could be indicative of stress.
Keyword Behaviour
Cognitive bias
Conspecific separation
Immunoglobulin A
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Veterinary Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 9 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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