Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Human-Animal Interactions, Animal Behaviour and Emotion".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 80603

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
Interests: mammalian social behavior; parental care, and ecology; applied animal behavior; human–animal interactions; animal shelters; animal welfare
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Dogs and humans have interacted with one another in diverse ways and settings for tens of thousands of years. Recent research has shown that dog–human interactions can influence behavioral responses, physiological measures, and welfare of both species. This Special Issue, “Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing”, will focus on the dog–owner relationship as well as interactions between dogs and humans who are somewhat familiar or totally unfamiliar. We invite original research articles, critical reviews, and commentaries on topics such as attachment behaviors in dogs and humans, effects of dog–human interactions on neural, hormonal, and behavioral responses of participants, impacts of dog ownership on human wellbeing, as well as how demographic characteristics, such as sex and age, influence these heterospecific interactions. Articles on pet dogs, shelter dogs, working dogs, and free-ranging dogs are welcome. 

Dr. Betty McGuire
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • attachment
  • dog–human interaction
  • dog ownership
  • human–animal interaction
  • pet dogs
  • shelter dogs
  • working dogs

Published Papers (21 papers)

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15 pages, 592 KiB  
Article
Influence of Walker Sex and Familiarity on Scent-Marking Behavior of Juvenile and Mature Shelter Dogs
by Betty McGuire, Philippa Kok, Miles Garland, Bailey Guy, Alexandra Jackson and Scott Haber
Animals 2023, 13(23), 3649; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13233649 - 25 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4214
Abstract
Many mammals living on farms, in zoos, and in research settings behave differently with familiar people versus strangers, and the sex of the person can also influence interactions. We conducted two studies to examine the influence of a dog’s sex and maturity and [...] Read more.
Many mammals living on farms, in zoos, and in research settings behave differently with familiar people versus strangers, and the sex of the person can also influence interactions. We conducted two studies to examine the influence of a dog’s sex and maturity and a walker’s sex and familiarity on the behavior of shelter dogs during leash walks. In Study 1 with unfamiliar walkers (n = 113 dogs), we found that mature males urinated at higher rates when walked by a woman than by a man, whereas mature females urinated at similar rates. Mature males and mature females were less likely to defecate when walked by a man than by a woman. Juvenile dogs were generally less affected than mature dogs by a walker’s sex, suggesting a role for experience in mature dogs’ responses. In Study 2, when dogs were walked more than once by a man and a woman (n = 81 dogs), we found patterns of urination and defecation like those in Study 1. Importantly, the effects of the dog’s sex and maturity and the walker’s sex on dogs’ patterns of urination and defecation did not change over walks as dogs became familiar with walkers. Dogs in shelters are directly exposed to so many people that they may be less responsive to differing degrees of familiarity than mammals living in other settings. Our data indicate that dog maturity and sex and human sex influence dog–human interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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19 pages, 533 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Brief Outing and Temporary Fostering Programs on Shelter Dog Welfare
by Lisa M. Gunter, Emily M. Blade, Rachel J. Gilchrist, Betsy J. Nixon, Jenifer L. Reed, JoAnna M. Platzer, Ingrid C. Wurpts, Erica N. Feuerbacher and Clive D. L. Wynne
Animals 2023, 13(22), 3528; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13223528 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 15154
Abstract
Human interaction is one of the most consistently effective interventions that can improve the welfare of shelter-living dogs. Time out of the kennel with a person has been shown to reduce physiological measures of stress as can leaving the shelter for a night [...] Read more.
Human interaction is one of the most consistently effective interventions that can improve the welfare of shelter-living dogs. Time out of the kennel with a person has been shown to reduce physiological measures of stress as can leaving the shelter for a night or more in a foster home. In this study, we assessed the effects of brief outings and temporary fostering stays on dogs’ length of stay and outcomes. In total, we analyzed data of 1955 dogs from 51 animal shelters that received these interventions as well as 25,946 dogs residing at these shelters that served as our controls. We found that brief outings and temporary fostering stays increased dogs’ likelihood of adoption by 5.0 and 14.3 times, respectively. While their lengths of stay were longer in comparison to control dogs, this difference was present prior to the intervention. Additionally, we found that these programs were more successful when greater percentages of community members (as compared to volunteers and staff) were involved in caregiving as well as when programs were implemented by better-resourced shelters. As such, animal welfare organizations should consider implementing these fostering programs as evidence-based best practices that can positively impact the outcomes of shelter dogs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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15 pages, 3230 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Domestication Syndrome Hypothesis in Dogs: Pigmentation Does Not Predict Cortisol Levels
by JoAnna M. Platzer, Lisa M. Gunter and Erica N. Feuerbacher
Animals 2023, 13(19), 3095; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13193095 - 4 Oct 2023
Viewed by 2305
Abstract
Previous research has found connections between pigmentation, behavior, and the physiological stress response in both wild and domestic animals; however, to date, no extensive research has been devoted to answering these questions in domestic dogs. Modern dogs are exposed to a variety of [...] Read more.
Previous research has found connections between pigmentation, behavior, and the physiological stress response in both wild and domestic animals; however, to date, no extensive research has been devoted to answering these questions in domestic dogs. Modern dogs are exposed to a variety of stressors; one well-studied stressor is residing in an animal shelter. To explore the possible relationships between dogs’ responses to stress and their pigmentation, we conducted statistical analyses of the cortisol:creatinine ratios of 208 American shelter dogs as a function of their coat color/pattern, eumelanin pigmentation, or white spotting. These dogs had been enrolled in previous welfare studies investigating the effect of interventions during which they left the animal shelter and spent time with humans. In the current investigation, we visually phenotype dogs based on photographs in order to classify their pigmentation and then conduct post hoc analyses to examine whether they differentially experience stress as a function of pigmentation. We found that the dogs did not differ significantly in their urinary cortisol:creatinine ratios based on coat color/pattern, eumelanin pigmentation, or white spotting, either while they were residing in the animal shelter or during the human interaction intervention. These preliminary data suggest that pigmentation alone does not predict the stress responses of shelter dogs; however, due to the small sample size and retrospective nature of the study, more research is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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15 pages, 582 KiB  
Article
“An Aid with Soul”—Understanding the Determinants of Guide Dog-Owner Compatibility from Qualitative Interviews
by Yana Bender, Tim Matschkowski, Stefan R. Schweinberger and Juliane Bräuer
Animals 2023, 13(17), 2751; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13172751 - 29 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1760
Abstract
Guide dogs hold the potential to increase confidence and independence in visually impaired individuals. However, the success of the partnership between a guide dog and its handler depends on various factors, including the compatibility between the dog and the handler. Here, we conducted [...] Read more.
Guide dogs hold the potential to increase confidence and independence in visually impaired individuals. However, the success of the partnership between a guide dog and its handler depends on various factors, including the compatibility between the dog and the handler. Here, we conducted interviews with 21 guide dog owners to explore determinants of compatibility between the dog and the owner. Experienced compatibility between the dog and the owner was associated with positive relationship aspects such as feeling secure with the dog. Certain characteristics emerged as subjective determinants of compatibility, including shared hobbies, high levels of openness in both or only the dog, similar activity levels and higher activeness in dogs, similar expressions of calmness; happiness; greediness; friendliness; and a complementary dominance–submissiveness relationship. Owners who perceived themselves to be similar in their personality to their dogs often reported to have a strong bond, to feel secure with their dog and to be less influenced by previous relationships. However, our results suggest that a strong bond between the dog and the owner does not exclusively yield positive effects. Moreover, prior dog ownership seems to have a potentially strong impact on the subsequent relationship. Our results contribute to the understanding of dog–owner compatibility and may improve the matching process of guide dogs and their prospective handlers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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15 pages, 1315 KiB  
Article
Impact of the Dog–Human Bond on Canine Social Evaluation: Attachment Predicts Preference toward Prosocial Actors
by Emily M. Richards, Zachary A. Silver and Laurie R. Santos
Animals 2023, 13(15), 2480; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13152480 - 1 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1988
Abstract
Scholars have argued that social evaluation, the capacity to evaluate different potential social partners, is an important capacity not just for humans but for all cooperative species. Recent work has explored whether domesticated dogs share a human-like ability to evaluate others based on [...] Read more.
Scholars have argued that social evaluation, the capacity to evaluate different potential social partners, is an important capacity not just for humans but for all cooperative species. Recent work has explored whether domesticated dogs share a human-like ability to evaluate others based on prosocial and antisocial actions toward third parties. To date, this work has shown mixed results, suggesting that individual differences may play a role in dogs’ capacity to evaluate others. In the present study, we test whether attachment—an individual difference that affects human social evaluation performance—can explain the mixed pattern of social evaluation results observed in dogs. We first tested dogs on a social evaluation task in which an experimenter either helped or refused to help the dog’s owner open a container. We then assessed dogs’ attachment strength using a subset of the C-BARQ. We found that attachment was a statistically significant predictor of dogs’ preference toward the prosocial actor but was not a predictor in antisocial or control conditions. This finding provides early evidence that attachment may drive positivity biases in dogs and that attachment might explain mixed results within canine social evaluation literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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12 pages, 241 KiB  
Article
Influence of Sex of Stranger on Responses of Shelter Dogs during Canine Behavioral Evaluations
by Betty McGuire and Andrew Song
Animals 2023, 13(15), 2461; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13152461 - 30 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1444
Abstract
In many situations, domestic dogs display greater uneasiness with unfamiliar men than unfamiliar women. However, little is known about whether the sex of an unfamiliar person is a risk factor for stranger-directed aggression, especially with respect to behaviors less intense than biting. We [...] Read more.
In many situations, domestic dogs display greater uneasiness with unfamiliar men than unfamiliar women. However, little is known about whether the sex of an unfamiliar person is a risk factor for stranger-directed aggression, especially with respect to behaviors less intense than biting. We analyzed data collected by behavioral staff over a 27-month period (n = 283 dogs) at a New York shelter to determine whether the sex of an unfamiliar person influenced behaviors assessed during the Stranger test of the canine behavioral evaluation. Scores ranged from 1 (calm and friendly) to 5 (will not approach stranger or unsafe to allow an approach). No concerning behaviors (scores 1–3) were assessed for 19.2% of 26 undersocialized dogs from one home and 89.9% of the remaining 257 dogs. Within the group of 257, those tested with a male stranger had significantly higher scores than those tested with a female stranger; the effect size was small to moderate. Thus, we found that dogs responded differently to male and female strangers during this testing situation, but from a practical standpoint, our findings do not warrant adjustments in how shelters conduct or interpret tests for stranger-directed aggression. Our findings also highlight the importance of early exposure to different people and situations for dogs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
19 pages, 3197 KiB  
Article
What Is Written on a Dog’s Face? Evaluating the Impact of Facial Phenotypes on Communication between Humans and Canines
by Courtney L. Sexton, Colleen Buckley, Jake Lieberfarb, Francys Subiaul, Erin E. Hecht and Brenda J. Bradley
Animals 2023, 13(14), 2385; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13142385 - 22 Jul 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 8907
Abstract
Facial phenotypes are significant in communication with conspecifics among social primates. Less is understood about the impact of such markers in heterospecific encounters. Through behavioral and physical phenotype analyses of domesticated dogs living in human households, this study aims to evaluate the potential [...] Read more.
Facial phenotypes are significant in communication with conspecifics among social primates. Less is understood about the impact of such markers in heterospecific encounters. Through behavioral and physical phenotype analyses of domesticated dogs living in human households, this study aims to evaluate the potential impact of superficial facial markings on dogs’ production of human-directed facial expressions. That is, this study explores how facial markings, such as eyebrows, patches, and widow’s peaks, are related to expressivity toward humans. We used the Dog Facial Action Coding System (DogFACS) as an objective measure of expressivity, and we developed an original schematic for a standardized coding of facial patterns and coloration on a sample of more than 100 male and female dogs (N = 103), aged from 6 months to 12 years, representing eight breed groups. The present study found a statistically significant, though weak, correlation between expression rate and facial complexity, with dogs with plainer faces tending to be more expressive (r = −0.326, p ≤ 0.001). Interestingly, for adult dogs, human companions characterized dogs’ rates of facial expressivity with more accuracy for dogs with plainer faces. Especially relevant to interspecies communication and cooperation, within-subject analyses revealed that dogs’ muscle movements were distributed more evenly across their facial regions in a highly social test condition compared to conditions in which they received ambiguous cues from their owners. On the whole, this study provides an original evaluation of how facial features may impact communication in human–dog interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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12 pages, 1707 KiB  
Article
You Are Not Welcome! A Media Analysis of Risk Factors, Prevalence and Management of Free-Roaming Dogs in Iran
by Farshad Amiraslani
Animals 2023, 13(14), 2347; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13142347 - 18 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1272
Abstract
History has witnessed a long-term relationship between humans and animals. Historical documents and modern findings prove that humans’ needs to use animals for companions or services are commonplace in many parts of the world, leading to the domestication of certain animals. Yet, modern [...] Read more.
History has witnessed a long-term relationship between humans and animals. Historical documents and modern findings prove that humans’ needs to use animals for companions or services are commonplace in many parts of the world, leading to the domestication of certain animals. Yet, modern societies have degraded many natural habitats for wildlife, confining them to small patches of landscapes or urban areas. Whether a domesticated/free-roaming animal or a wild species, their close contact with humans can create cumbersome situations for both species. This paper explores a link between online media content and on-the-ground efforts to manage free-roaming dogs as a rare case study. As indicated by news articles, the municipal costs of managing free-roaming dogs in Iranian cities have increased, and this can potentially derail the control of such dogs in the long run. This paper lays out pivotal factors for recent increasing human–animal encounters, which have led to many challenges (e.g., rabies) across cities in Iran. We show that some urban features (e.g., topography) can influence the presence and behaviours of free-roaming animals in the cities. The findings of this paper can be related to other developing countries where the plague of rabies is rising. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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11 pages, 510 KiB  
Article
How Dog Behavior Influences Pet Owner’s Perceptions of Dog Preference for Dental Chews
by Anamarie C. Johnson, Holly C. Miller and Clive D. L. Wynne
Animals 2023, 13(12), 1964; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13121964 - 12 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1710
Abstract
American pet owners spend billions of dollars on food and treats so it is important to understand what products they want and what they think their dog would enjoy. This study analyzed video recordings of dogs engaging in dental chews in their home [...] Read more.
American pet owners spend billions of dollars on food and treats so it is important to understand what products they want and what they think their dog would enjoy. This study analyzed video recordings of dogs engaging in dental chews in their home environment and compared the observed appetitive behaviors to owner preference and owner-reported dog preference. Overall, appetitive behavior differed significantly between some dental chews. Owner preference for the chews correlated significantly with dog appetitive behavior, but the effect was small (r (702) = 0.22, p = 0.001), whereas owner-reported dog preference correlated significantly with dog appetitive behavior and showed a moderate effect size (r (702) = 0.43, p = 0.001)—similar in magnitude to findings when parents are asked to report on their children’s behavior. By merging objective behavioral observation of owner-recorded videos with their survey responses, we were able to preliminarily parse out what factors owners may use to assess preference and encourage the future use of in-home video recordings to better understand dog and owner engagement and interaction with pet products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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17 pages, 1131 KiB  
Article
Do Your Homework as Your Heart Takes over When You Go Looking”: Factors Associated with Pre-Acquisition Information-Seeking among Prospective UK Dog Owners
by Rebecca Mead, Katrina E. Holland, Rachel A. Casey, Melissa M. Upjohn and Robert M. Christley
Animals 2023, 13(6), 1015; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13061015 - 10 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4105
Abstract
The factors influencing why and how people decide to acquire a dog are not well understood and little is known about the extent to which prospective owners undertake preparatory research. This study aimed to better understand what factors influence whether prospective dog owners [...] Read more.
The factors influencing why and how people decide to acquire a dog are not well understood and little is known about the extent to which prospective owners undertake preparatory research. This study aimed to better understand what factors influence whether prospective dog owners in the UK conduct preparatory research. A 2019 online survey of current (n = 8050) and potential (n = 2884) dog owners collected quantitative and qualitative data. Additional qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews with current (n = 166) and potential (n = 10) dog owners. Of the current owners surveyed, 54% stated that they had looked for advice or information prior to acquiring their dog. Of potential owners, 68% reported already having looked for information, while a further 14% were planning to undertake research prior to acquiring a dog. Those with previous dog ownership experience were less likely to undertake pre-acquisition research, as were those who had worked with dogs. Demographic factors were also associated with the likelihood of conducting pre-acquisition research, with younger prospective owners being more likely to have undertaken research, as well as those with formal education qualifications. Among current owners, pre-acquisition research was more likely among those who acquired their dog through a breeder; a specific breed or a mix of two breeds; or as a puppy. Qualitative data were consistent with and added additional understanding and context to these findings. Almost half of current owners did not conduct pre-acquisition research, highlighting the need for increased awareness of its importance and the development of targeted interventions to encourage this activity. Understanding the different factors that influence whether dog owners undertake research may be of interest to animal welfare and veterinary organisations, in order to inform interventions to better prepare people for dog acquisition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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24 pages, 1552 KiB  
Article
Defining the Characteristics of Successful Biosecurity Scent Detection Dogs
by Ariella Y. Moser, Wendy Y. Brown, Pauleen Bennett, Peta S. Taylor, Bethany Wilson and Paul McGreevy
Animals 2023, 13(3), 504; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13030504 - 31 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3054
Abstract
To perform their role effectively, scent detection dogs require certain characteristics. Identifying these characteristics will inform the selection of prospective dogs and preferred approaches to their training. The current study drew upon the perspectives of industry stakeholders to identify the behavioural traits considered [...] Read more.
To perform their role effectively, scent detection dogs require certain characteristics. Identifying these characteristics will inform the selection of prospective dogs and preferred approaches to their training. The current study drew upon the perspectives of industry stakeholders to identify the behavioural traits considered relevant for detection dogs in biosecurity screening roles. Dog handlers, trainers, and supervisors (n = 25) in Australian biosecurity operations participated in focus group interviews to determine the perceived characteristics that, in their experience, influence detection performance. Their descriptions were used to create a questionnaire which was then administered to handlers to assess the working behaviours of current biosecurity dogs. Responses were collected for 88% of the operational dogs (n = 36). An exploratory factor analysis revealed seven tentative dimensions: search motivation, emotional stability, search arousal, food motivation, play motivation, search independence, and search focus. Search motivation and search arousal were both positively associated with handler ratings of detection performance (p ≤ 0.006). In general, biosecurity dogs were scored consistently high in ratings of search motivation, emotional stability, and food motivation. Our approach has advanced our understanding of the working behaviours and characteristic profile of biosecurity detector dogs and will be used to inform candidate selection processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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28 pages, 702 KiB  
Article
Interviews with Indian Animal Shelter Staff: Similarities and Differences in Challenges and Resiliency Factors Compared to Western Counterparts
by Deyvika Srinivasa, Rubina Mondal, Kai Alain Von Rentzell and Alexandra Protopopova
Animals 2022, 12(19), 2562; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12192562 - 26 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 5264
Abstract
Animal shelters in India are at the forefront of efforts to improve free-ranging dog welfare and tackle animal overpopulation. In terms of cultural and political context, access to resources, and public health challenges, they operate in a very different environment than Western counterparts. [...] Read more.
Animal shelters in India are at the forefront of efforts to improve free-ranging dog welfare and tackle animal overpopulation. In terms of cultural and political context, access to resources, and public health challenges, they operate in a very different environment than Western counterparts. Despite these distinctions, current sheltering literature is largely centered around countries such as the United States. The goal of this exploratory study was to examine the experiences of Indian animal shelter staff. Researchers conducted ten semi-structured interviews, in a mix of Hindi and English, with managers, veterinary nurses, and animal caretakers from three shelters. Using thematic analysis, shelter challenges as well as resiliency factors that enable staff to cope with these challenges were identified. Key challenges were inadequate funding, community conflict, and high intake numbers. Resiliency factors included flexibility, duty of care, co-worker relationships, and understanding animal needs. The results of this qualitative study revealed that the experiences of shelter staff are shaped by social, political, and cultural factors and that there is a need for further, context specific research on Indian sheltering rather than only relying on Western perspectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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15 pages, 1282 KiB  
Article
Selection Factors Influencing Eventual Owner Satisfaction about Pet Dog Adoption
by Ian R. Dinwoodie, Vivian Zottola, Karla Kubitz and Nicholas H. Dodman
Animals 2022, 12(17), 2264; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12172264 - 1 Sep 2022
Viewed by 3850
Abstract
Personal likes, experience, and deep-rooted interests to satisfy emotional needs such as companionship, affection, empathy, and security are some of the underlying human motivations for acquiring a pet companion. In this study, we asked how long the owner took to decide whether to [...] Read more.
Personal likes, experience, and deep-rooted interests to satisfy emotional needs such as companionship, affection, empathy, and security are some of the underlying human motivations for acquiring a pet companion. In this study, we asked how long the owner took to decide whether to adopt a dog, who their dog was adopted from, their primary motivation for adoption, a ranking of characteristics considered during the adoption process, and how satisfied they were with the eventual outcome. Participants (n = 933) to this Center for Canine Behavior Studies survey completed an online questionnaire with responses representing 1537 dog/owner pairs. A majority of participants reported satisfaction with at least one of their adopted dogs. Odds of eventual satisfaction are higher for participants who spent less than a week considering an adoption or were seeking a pet to provide companionship and affection. Participants that prioritized personality as an adoption criteria were more likely to be satisfied with their adopted dogs. A mast majority (91%) of participants reported they would consider adopting another dog in the future. Selection criteria rankings that participants indicated they would employ for future adoptions tended to shift away from physical to behavior characteristics when compared to selection criteria priorities of prior adoptions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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16 pages, 2043 KiB  
Article
Patient and Caregiver Perceptions of Animal Assisted Activity in Orthodontics
by Katelyn Cass, Clare Bocklage, Taylor Sulkowski, Christina Graves, Nare Ghaltakhchyan, Allen Rapolla, Tate Jackson, Kimon Divaris, Chris Wiesen, Timothy Strauman and Laura Jacox
Animals 2022, 12(14), 1862; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12141862 - 21 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2161
Abstract
Dental anxiety affects up to 21% of children and 80% of adults and is associated with lifelong dental avoidance. Animal assisted activity (AAA) is widely used to reduce anxiety and pain in medical settings and has promise in dentistry. The primary objective of [...] Read more.
Dental anxiety affects up to 21% of children and 80% of adults and is associated with lifelong dental avoidance. Animal assisted activity (AAA) is widely used to reduce anxiety and pain in medical settings and has promise in dentistry. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate caregiver and patient perceptions of canine AAA in orthodontics. A cross-sectional survey consisting of pre-tested and validated questions was conducted (n = 800) including orthodontic patients (n = 352 minors, n = 204 adults) and parents/caregivers (n = 244) attending university orthodontic clinics. In this study, AAA and dog therapy were not used or tested for dental anxiety management. More than a third of orthodontic patients (37%) had moderate or greater anxiety related to care. Participants believed that therapy animals would make dental experiences more enjoyable (75%) and reduce anxiety (82%). There was little to no concern expressed regarding cleanliness (83%), allergies (81%), and safety (89%) with a therapy animal in dental settings. Almost half of the participants would preferentially select an orthodontic office offering AAA. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we assessed whether perceptions of AAA changed before and after the shutdown of dental offices, with no significant differences. Across patients and caregivers, the responses support the use of AAA in orthodontic settings with minimal concerns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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19 pages, 1448 KiB  
Article
Reactivation of a Hospital-Based Therapy Dog Visitation Program during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Lisa Townsend, Jennifer K. Heatwole and Nancy R. Gee
Animals 2022, 12(14), 1842; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12141842 - 20 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2326
Abstract
This study examined human–animal interactions during the reactivation of a hospital-based therapy dog program during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were collected from human–dog interactions at an academic medical center in Virginia. Interaction length, participant role, age group (pediatric or adult), and observed gender [...] Read more.
This study examined human–animal interactions during the reactivation of a hospital-based therapy dog program during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were collected from human–dog interactions at an academic medical center in Virginia. Interaction length, participant role, age group (pediatric or adult), and observed gender were recorded. Handler adherence to human and animal safety protocols (donning personal protective equipment (PPE), using hand sanitizer, and limiting visit length) was measured. Observations from 1016 interactions were collected. t-tests and analysis of variance were conducted. Most visit recipients were healthcare workers (71.69%). Patients received longer visits than other participants (F(4880) = 72.90, p = <0.001); post hoc Bonferroni analyses (p = 0.05/4) showed that patients, both adult (M = 2.58 min, SD = 2.24) (95% C.I = 0.35–1.68) and pediatric (M = 5.81, SD = 4.38) (95% C.I. 3.56–4.97), had longer interaction times than healthcare workers (M = 1.56, SD = 1.92) but not visitors (p = 1.00). Gender differences were not statistically significant (t(552) = −0.736), p = 0.462). Hand sanitizer protocols were followed for 80% of interactions. PPE guidelines were followed for 100% of visits. Most interactions occurred with healthcare workers, suggesting that therapy dog visits are needed for this population. High adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols supports the decision to reactivate therapy animal visitation programs in hospitals. Challenges to safety protocol adherence included ultra-brief interactions and crowds of people surrounding the dog/handler teams. Program staff developed a “buddy system” mitigation strategy to minimize departures from safety protocols and reduce canine stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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16 pages, 612 KiB  
Article
The Role of Dogs in the Relationship between Telework and Performance via Affect: A Moderated Moderated Mediation Analysis
by Ana Junça-Silva, Margarida Almeida and Catarina Gomes
Animals 2022, 12(13), 1727; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131727 - 4 Jul 2022
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3518
Abstract
Although there is evidence that pets may help individuals facing significant daily stressors, and that they may enhance the well-being of their owners, little is known about the benefits of pets for job performance. Since the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, teleworking was a strategy [...] Read more.
Although there is evidence that pets may help individuals facing significant daily stressors, and that they may enhance the well-being of their owners, little is known about the benefits of pets for job performance. Since the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, teleworking was a strategy implemented in many countries to reduce the virus widespread and to assure organizational productivity. Those who work from home and who own pets may work close to them. Based on the conservation of resources theory, this study aimed to analyze whether positive affect mediated the relationship between telecommuting and self-reported job performance and if psychological and physical closeness to the pet would moderate this relationship in such a way that it would be stronger for those who worked closer to their pet, and who were more emotionally attached to them. For this study, we collected data from 81 teleworkers who did not own pets, and from 320 teleworkers who owned pets. Both answered an online questionnaire. Findings: Results from the study showed the existence of significant differences between those who owned and who did not own pets regarding positive affect and performance, in which those who owned pets reported higher levels of positive affect and self-reported performance and perceived telework more positively. Moreover, positive affect mediated the relationship between telework and self-reported job performance. Furthermore, emotional and physical closeness moderated the mediating effect. This study contributes to a better understanding of the human-animal interaction and how pets can be a personal resource able to change their owners‘ affective experiences and job performance while they are working from home. The findings demonstrate that telework may be a suitable organizational strategy for pet-owners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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9 pages, 267 KiB  
Article
Are Hair Cortisol Levels of Humans, Cats, and Dogs from the Same Household Correlated?
by Justyna Wojtaś, Aleksandra Garbiec, Mirosław Karpiński, Patrycja Skowronek and Aneta Strachecka
Animals 2022, 12(11), 1472; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12111472 - 6 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2715
Abstract
Human–animal interactions and the emotional relationship of the owner with the pet are the subjects of many scientific studies and the constant interest of not only scientists but also pet owners. The aim of this study was to determine and compare the hair [...] Read more.
Human–animal interactions and the emotional relationship of the owner with the pet are the subjects of many scientific studies and the constant interest of not only scientists but also pet owners. The aim of this study was to determine and compare the hair cortisol levels of dogs, cats, and their owners living in the same household. The owners were asked to complete a questionnaire concerning the frequency of their interactions with pets and emotional relationship with each of their cats and each of their dogs. The study involved 25 women who owned at least one dog and at least one cat. In total, 45 dogs and 55 cats from 25 households participated in the study. The average level of hair cortisol of the owners was 4.62 ng/mL, of the dogs 0.26 ng/mL, and in the hair of cats 0.45 ng/mL. There was no significant correlation between the hair cortisol level of the owner and dog or the owner and the cat and between dogs and cats living together. A significant positive correlation was observed between the hair cortisol level in the owner and the pet, for dogs in which the owner performs grooming treatments once a week and for cats which are never kissed. Although our study did not find many significant correlations, studies using other stress markers might have yielded different results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
21 pages, 2168 KiB  
Article
Impact of Dog’s Age and Breed on Dog Owner’s Physical Activity: A German Longitudinal Study
by Benedikt Hielscher-Zdzieblik, Ingo Froboese, James Serpell and Udo Gansloßer
Animals 2022, 12(10), 1314; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12101314 - 20 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2563
Abstract
Dog ownership contributes positively to physical activity (PA). The impact of different dog breeds and age on PA is less investigated in longitudinal studies. This study aimed to evaluate PA changes in dog owners as their dogs’ ages increased and to explore whether [...] Read more.
Dog ownership contributes positively to physical activity (PA). The impact of different dog breeds and age on PA is less investigated in longitudinal studies. This study aimed to evaluate PA changes in dog owners as their dogs’ ages increased and to explore whether there are differences in PA between owners of different breeds over a three-year period. Owners of different dog breeds were categorized into nine groups according to the perceived energy level and size of the breed. PA was monitored using an online questionnaire for three consecutive years. Linear mixed models (LMM) showed a small, but significant decrease in total PA, leisure time walking, dog-related PA and dog walking over three years. No decreases were found if only participants who attended at all time points were included. In all LMM analyses, a significant relationship between the dog breed and the outcomes of PA were shown. At baseline, dog owners performed different types of activities depending on their dog breed. In conclusion, owners of different dog breeds differ in their types of PA. The study emphasizes that age, size and energy level of the dog does not per se have an impact on dog owners PA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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10 pages, 273 KiB  
Article
Creation and Validation of a Tool for Evaluating Caregiver Burnout Syndrome in Owners of Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) Diagnosed with Behavior Disorders
by Carmen Luz Barrios, Vanessa Gornall, Carlos Bustos-López, Rosa Cirac and Paula Calvo
Animals 2022, 12(9), 1185; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12091185 - 5 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2102
Abstract
Currently, domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are the most common species among companion animals. The close bond that can grow between owners and their dogs could be worn out and finally broken due to various causes. One main cause is canine [...] Read more.
Currently, domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are the most common species among companion animals. The close bond that can grow between owners and their dogs could be worn out and finally broken due to various causes. One main cause is canine behavioral problems, leading to dogs being abandoned or euthanized due to the costs faced by the owner when caring for the animal. Tools have been developed to evaluate the mental and emotional cost of caring for humans, but there is currently no validated tool for evaluating this particular problem. The objective of this study was to develop a questionnaire to evaluate caregiver burnout syndrome for owners of dogs with behavioral disorders. The methodology used consisted of drafting the tool, peer validation using the Delphi methodology and internal validation via Cronbach’s alpha. Non-linear snowball sampling was used (n = 156 participants). A questionnaire with 35 questions was obtained which referred to various aspects of caregivers’ lives. Regarding the description of the sample used, 50% had Low Burnout, 41% had Medium-Low Burnout and 9% had Medium-High Burnout. Furthermore, regarding the internal validation of the questionnaire, the general Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was α = 0.9468. We can thus conclude that the questionnaire is valid for measuring caregiver burnout syndrome in owners of dogs with behavioral disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)

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Jump to: Research

7 pages, 866 KiB  
Brief Report
Salivary Cortisol in Guide Dogs
by Enrique De la Fuente-Moreno, Pedro Paredes-Ramos, Apolo Carrasco-García, Bertha Hernandez-Cruz, Mayvi Alvarado and Claudia Edwards
Animals 2023, 13(12), 1981; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13121981 - 14 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1095
Abstract
Guide dogs work for extended periods and are exposed to multiple environmental stimuli that could lead to higher stress compared with companion dogs. Cortisol is the main hormone associated with stress in most mammals. This study included seven guide dogs and seven same-breed [...] Read more.
Guide dogs work for extended periods and are exposed to multiple environmental stimuli that could lead to higher stress compared with companion dogs. Cortisol is the main hormone associated with stress in most mammals. This study included seven guide dogs and seven same-breed dogs that were trained as guide dogs but became companion dogs to compare their salivary cortisol levels before, during, and after a period of social isolation and exposure to a 110-decibel gunshot sound. Each dog was left alone in an empty room for 60 min. After 15 min, the dogs were exposed to the sound. We collected four saliva samples from each dog. The first one was taken 5 min before starting the social isolation period, and the following ones at 15, 30, and 45 min after the test started. A two-way ANOVA was used to compare the group effect and the time effect during isolation and noise exposure. The results showed higher levels of cortisol in the guide dogs compared with the companion dogs throughout the test. No differences were found in time or in the interaction between time and group. This suggests that being a guide dog increases levels of basal cortisol when compared with dogs that live as companion animals and family members. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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22 pages, 412 KiB  
Systematic Review
Digital Technology Supporting the Remote Human-Dog Interaction: Scoping Review
by Liliana Rodríguez-Vizzuett, Ismael E. Espinosa-Curiel and Humberto Pérez-Espinosa
Animals 2023, 13(4), 699; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13040699 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2027
Abstract
For thousands of years, dogs have coexisted with humans and have been adopted as companion pets and working animals. The communication between humans and dogs has improved their coexistence and socialization; however, due to the nature of their activities, dogs and humans occasionally [...] Read more.
For thousands of years, dogs have coexisted with humans and have been adopted as companion pets and working animals. The communication between humans and dogs has improved their coexistence and socialization; however, due to the nature of their activities, dogs and humans occasionally lose face-to-face contact. The purpose of this scoping review is to examine five essential aspects of current technology designed to support intentional communication between humans and dogs in scenarios where there is no face-to-face contact: (1) the technologies used, (2) the activity supported, (3) the interaction modality, (4) the evaluation procedures, and the results obtained, and (5) the main limitations. In addition, this article explores future directions for research and practice. The PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews) guidelines were followed when conducting the review. Scopus (Elsevier), Springer-Link, IEEE Xplorer, ACM Digital Library, and Science Direct were used as data sources to retrieve information from January 2010 to March 2022. The titles and abstracts were individually reviewed by the authors (L.R.-V., I.E.E.-C., and H.P.-E.), and the full articles were then examined before a final inclusion determination. 15 (3%) out of the 571 records that were obtained met the requirements for inclusion. The most used technologies for dogs are: (1) 71% of technologies focused on generating messages are wearable devices equipped with sensors (bite, tug, or gesture), (2) 60% of technologies focused on receiving messages are wearable devices equipped with vibrotactile actuators, and (3) 100% of technologies focused on bidirectional communication are videochats. 67% of the works are oriented to support search and assistance tasks. 80% of the works developed technology for one-way communication. 53% of the technologies have a haptic dog interaction modality, that is, there is an object that the dog must wear or manipulate in a certain way. All of the reported evaluations were pilot studies with positive feasibility results. Remote human-dog interaction technology holds significant promise and potential; however, more research is required to assess their usability and efficacy and to incorporate new technological developments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog–Human Relationships: Behavior, Physiology, and Wellbeing)
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