Behavioral responses to emotional challenges in female rats living in a seminatural environment: The role of estrogen receptors

Estrogen receptors (ERs) are involved in sexual as well as non-sexual behaviors. In the present study we assessed the effects of stimuli inducing positive or negative affect on sociosexual, exploratory and fear-related behaviors of female rats housed in groups (4 females, 3 males) in a seminatural environment. Ovariectomized females were treated with oil, 17β‑estradiol benzoate […]

Assessment of positive emotions in animals to improve their welfare

It is now widely accepted that good welfare is not simply the absence of negative experiences, but rather is primarily the presence of positive experiences such as pleasure. However scientific investigation of positive emotions has long been neglected. This paper addresses two main issues: first, it reviews the current state of scientific knowledge that supports […]

Behaviour of domestic fowl in anticipation of positive and negative stimuli

Underlying the study of animal welfare is the assumption that animals experience emotional states. Although there has been a bias towards studying negative emotions, research into positive emotions is necessary for an overall welfare assessment. The aim of the current study was to find behavioural expressions specific for anticipation of different events in domestic fowl, […]

Urinary oxytocin as a noninvasive biomarker of positive emotion in dogs

A reliable assay based on physiological parameters that does not require subjective input from the owners is required to assess positive emotions in dogs. In addition, when viewed from an animal welfare perspective, physiological parameters should be collected in a noninvasive manner. Oxytocin (OT) is a biomarker that may be associated with a calm, relaxed […]

Owner perceptions of companion dog expressions of positive emotional states and the contexts in which they occur

Promotion of positive experiences in companion animals is essential for maximising good welfare. However, the dearth of published literature on the experience and expression of positive emotional states in companion dogs suggests they are less well understood than negative emotions. Owner knowledge can provide a basis for generating hypotheses for experimental research, and can inform […]

What we can measure, we can manage: The importance of using robust welfare indicators in Equitation Science

Ever since the phrase, ‘the happy athlete’ was introduced into the FEI rules for dressage (Article 401.1) there have been discussions about what this actually means and whether it is possible to recognize and reward positive emotions in working horses. For those interested in the study of equine behaviour, the use of such subjective terms […]

How good is this food? A study on dogs’ emotional responses to a potentially pleasant event using infrared thermography

Understanding how animals express positive emotions is becoming an interesting and promising area of research in the study of animal emotions and affective experiences. In the present study, we used infrared thermography in combination with behavioral measures, heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV), to investigate dogs’ emotional responses to a potentially pleasant event: […]