Application of a welfare assessment tool (Shelter Quality Protocol) in 64 Italian long-term dogs’ shelters: welfare hazard analysis

The confined environment of the dog shelter, particularly over extensive time-periods can impact severely on welfare. Surveillance and assessment are therefore essential components of the welfare protocol. The aim of this study was to generate a descriptive analysis of a sample of Italian long-term shelters and identify potential hazards regarding the welfare of shelter dogs. […]

Dog training methods: their use, effectiveness and interaction with behaviour and welfare

Historically, pet dogs were trained using mainly negative reinforcement or punishment, but positive reinforcement using rewards has recently become more popular. The methods used may have different impacts on the dogs’ welfare. We distributed a questionnaire to 364 dog owners in order to examine the relative effectiveness of different training methods and their effects upon […]

Ontogeny and phylogeny: both are essential to human-sensitive behaviour in the genus Canis


Preferences for toy types and presentations in kennel housed dogs

Toys are often provided for adult dogs housed in kennels, but their effectiveness as environmental enrichment is not well documented. At a minimum, toys need to elicit interest in the animal for which they are intended, before any “enrichment” can be claimed. In this study we have examined short-term preferences for toys with a range […]

Training methods and owner-dog interactions: Links with dog behaviour and learning ability

The methods by which owners train their pet dogs range widely, with some exclusively using rewards, and others using a combination, or only punishment-based methods. This paper examines links between the way in which owners reported to have trained their dogs and observations of the dogs’ subsequent behaviour. It also explores associations between behaviour of […]

Behavioural and glucocorticoid responses of dogs (Canis familiaris) to kennelling: Investigating mitigation of stress by prior habituation

We have explored the validity of urinary cortisol/creatinine ratios (C/C) and behavioural measures as indicators of acute psychological stress in the domestic dog, by monitoring 1 year old male Labrador Retrievers (N = 31) prior to and following their introduction to novel kennels in a training establishment. Baseline early morning urine samples were taken in the dogs’ original […]

Behavioural and physiological responses of dogs entering re-homing kennels

Behaviour and urinary cortisol/creatinine ratios (C/C) were monitored in twenty-six dogs, on days 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 10 following their admission to a rehoming kennel. Half had been relinquished from homes, and half were either strays or returns to the shelter. Drinking and grooming increased with time, while panting and paw-lifting decreased, but […]

Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) use human gestures but not nonhuman tokens to find hidden food

The authors examined the ability of domestic dogs to use human body cues (gestures) and equivalent-sized nonhuman cues to find hidden food in an object choice paradigm. In Experiment 1 the authors addressed the importance of the human element of the cue, and the effects of size, topography, and familiarity on dogs’ success in using […]

Understanding of human communicative motives in domestic dogs

Chimpanzees find it easier to locate food when a human prohibits them from going to a certain location than when she indicates that location helpfully. Human children, in contrast, use the cooperative gesture more readily. The question here was whether domestic dogs are more like chimpanzees, in this regard, or more like human children. In […]

Cooperation and competition during dyadic play in domestic dogs, Canis familiaris

Social play involves a dynamic combination of competition and cooperation, yet few studies have systematically evaluated the cooperative side of play. We studied dyadicplay in domesticdogs to investigate factors influencing variation in cooperative play strategies like self-handicapping and role reversal. Dyadicplay bouts were videotaped and coded for asymmetric behaviours. We predicted that variation in play […]