Animal Behaviour and Welfare
Animal Behaviour and Welfare
News Article | December 15, 2015
Does it seem like this is all you're hearing this time of year as holiday marketers try and outfit you — and your fellow dog lovers — with the *perfect* holiday gift? Well I’m here to do the same, that is, provide you and any dog lovers on your list with dog science books that would make any dog jump for joy. Heck, a dog might even curl up next to you as you read one of these titles. Since there is not one way to be a dog lover, I’ve created sections with different types of books: there are the academic heavy hitters (books for anyone wanting a textbook degree in all things dog), and the crowdpleasers (for those wanting a reader-friendly adventure into the growing field of dog behavior and cognition). Since living with a dog is not always smooth sailing, another set of books is for those wanting their dog to stop doing, well, you name it. The list finishes with a miscellaneous section characterized by beauty, variety, and utility. Take your pick, and enjoy! These academic-minded texts are for those wanting to get as close to primary research as possible. The Encyclopedia of Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare Daniel Mills, Editor-in-chief @ABCWelfare Weighing in at 6.5 pounds, this is the heaviest of all the hitters. It is also one of my favorite go-to resources when I want to look up anything in the field of applied animal behavior, from "agonism" to "istwert." Well-written passages summarize complex concepts. Enjoy! Animal Behaviour for Shelter Veterinarians and Staff, ASPCA Emily Weiss, Heather Mohan-Gibbons and Stephen Zawistowski, Eds. @ASPCA @ASPCApro Published earlier this year, this book explores the behavior side of animal sheltering and rescue. It is a great resource for anyone in the field, whether a volunteer or a professional. Alexandra Horowitz and I wrote the first chapter, Introduction to Dog Behavior, and the ASPCA made our chapter freely available! Click here to access the PDF. Dog Behaviour, Evolution, and Cognition Ádám Miklósi @FamDogProject Have you ever seen a dog textbook? Now you have. Welcome to the second edition of Miklósi’s text introducing readers to the hows and whys of studying dog behavior, cognition and the dog-human relationship. Filled to the brim with primary research. The Social Dog: Behavior and Cognition Juliane Kaminski and Sarah Marshall-Pescini, Eds. "This edited volume includes chapters from leading researchers in the fields of social cognition and behavior, vocalization, evolution, and more, focusing on topics including dog-dog and dog-human interaction, bonding with humans, social behavior and learning, and more. As the number of published studies increases, this book aims to give the reader an overview of the state of the art on dog research, with an emphasis on social behavior and socio-cognitive skills.” Domestic Dog Cognition and Behavior: The Scientific Study of Canis familiaris Alexandra Horowitz, Ed. @DogUmwelt "This book highlights the state of the field in the new, provocative line of research into the cognition and behavior of the domestic dog. Eleven chapters from leading researchers describe innovative methods from comparative psychology, ethology and behavioral biology, which are combined to create a more comprehensive picture of the behavior of Canis familiaris than ever before. This volume reflects a modern shift in science toward considering and studying domestic dogs for their own sake, not only insofar as they reflect back on human beings.” Companion Animal Ethics Peter Sandøe, Sandra Corr, Clare Palmer What happens when we open our homes to other species? Sandøe and colleagues explore the ethical questions and challenges that arise as a result of humans keeping animals as companions. Topics include obesity, behavior issues, selective breeding, over-treatment, abandonment, euthanasia, environmental impacts, neutering, and more. There’s a lot of cruddy information out there about dogs. There, I said it. While these aren’t the only books to highlight the growing field of what we know (and don’t know) about dogs, they’re at the top of my list. And I slipped one in about cats. The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs Patricia McConnell Meet the book that got me into the field of applied ethology, for which I am forever grateful. “Although humans and dogs share a remarkable relationship that is unique in the animal world, we are still two entirely different species, each shaped by our individual evolutionary heritage. Since we each speak a different native tongue, a lot gets lost in the translation.” This book will help you get lost in translation less. Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know Alexandra Horowitz @DogUmwelt “This book is as close as you can get to knowing about dogs without being a dog yourself.“ This highly acclaimed book invites readers into the sensory and cognitive world of the dog. A book that deeply affects its readers — myself included. Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet John Bradshaw @petsandus It’s easy to say that dogs are man’s best friend, but living up to it is the hard part. Anthrozoologist John Bradshaw helps us get there. Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet John Bradshaw @petsandus Like , but with cats! Bradshaw has pioneered reams of research on cat behavior and cognition and produced a must-read for cat lovers. No, your cat does not want to kill you. I WANT MY DOG TO STOP DOING… For all the talk of love and friendship, dogs and humans are not always on the same page. Understanding where dogs are coming from is the first step to decreasing unwanted behavior, and these books can help you get there. And you'll find many of the same techniques used to train dogs to drive cars! Decoding Your Dog: Explaining Common Dog Behaviors and How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones Debra Horwitz, Ed., and contributors John Ciribassi, Steve Dale, and the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists @DebraHDVM Unwanted behavior is the number-one reason dogs are given up to shelters, and guess what? We can very often decrease unwanted behavior! In this book, board-certified specialists of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists combine cutting-edge science with accessible real-life examples to help dogs and owners get on the same page. 12 Terrible Dog Training Mistakes Owners Make That Ruin Their Dog's Behavior...And How To Avoid Them Suzanne Hetts @SuzanneHetts "Learn to avoid the harmful mistakes that make your dog's behavior worse and keep you and your family annoyed and frustrated." A great book from Hetts, a respected leader in the field of applied animal behavior. Beware the Straw Man: The Science Dog Explores Dog Training Fact & Fiction Linda Case @ScienceDogBlog Welcome to a skeptic's look at commonly held beliefs about dog behavior and training. In 32 essays, Case discusses new studies of dog behavior, cognition and training and provides thought-provoking analysis of the findings. Beloved Dog Maira Kalman @MairaKalman A beautiful and touching read, Kalman shares her personal story from dog-phobic youngster to rampant appreciator. Check out the book trailer where Kalman connects with her subjects -- my favorite part starts at 1:26 where the little black dog seems to cry out, “HANDS! Your hands must have food in them!” The Dogs of Littlefield Suzanne Berne Not about dogs, instead, a mystery featuring dogs. I was sent an advanced copy and, while I’m just getting started, I’m enjoying how Berne — an Orange Prize winner — captures the many faces of dog people. The book takes place in a seemingly charmed town now overrun by mysterious dog poisonings. That there is the twist. I’m hooked. AND THERE'S MORE! Wondering how to decide what to feed your dog? New dog in the home? Want to know how Chaser the Border Collie came to learn upwards of 1,000 words? How do dogs detect different scents, from cancer to cadavers? See the following reviews I've published here and at Do You Believe in Dog? a pen-pal style canine science blog with my colleague, Mia Cobb: Would Your Dog Make a Good Cadaver Detection Dog? A review of What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World by Cat Warren @Cat_Warren How to Teach Language to Dogs. A review of Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words by John Pilley and Hilary Hinzmann @ChasertheBC What Should You Feed Your Dog? Get to know Dog Food Logic: Making Smart Decisions for Your Dog in an Age of Too Many Choices by Linda Case @ScienceDogBlog Books for Before & After You Get a Puppy/Dog. A list of highly-regarded books. @DoUBelieveInDog
News Article | August 22, 2016
A few years back, on a night when I thought I was going to dinner with friends, I instead walked into a surprise party for me! My friends were covered in tartan patterns and kilts because I was on my way to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland for a Masters in Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare. And since dogs are my bag, the goodbye cake featured a photo-quality image of one of my favorite dogs, Petunia, a somewhat odd selection, as dogs on cakes go. Petunia was found abandoned in New York City in a sorry state with a massive goiter on her neck. The goiter was later treated so the cake image was goiter-free. Instead, the cake captured Petunia’s permanent parts: her black and white cow-like splotches, and of course, her huge nipples. Dog nipples don’t attract attention until they feature prominently on a cake. Even then, there’s not much to say apart from, “Wow. That dog has really large nipples. And they’re on that cake.” But for researchers, there’s more to dog nipples than hoping you don’t get a piece of cake with nipples on it. Nipples — or, better said, nipple preference in young animals — has been investigated in numerous species to explore how they successfully access milk, a crucially important resource. And as we’ll see, there’s some confusion about how different young mammals do it. Unlike precocial animals who are born essentially saying, “I got this. See ya,” altricial animals can’t make it on their own; they need considerable early-life care and provisioning to stay alive. In mammals, milk — accessed by nursing from the mother’s nipples — is crucial for survival. While this might seem simple enough — get milk, stay alive — the process can play out in a number of different ways. For example, imagine a species where numerous young are born at the same time. The young theoretically could compete for access to nipples, the source of an important, yet limited, resource. In fact, studies find that puppies gain less weight in larger litters and gain more weight if there are deaths in a litter. Should Hollywood pick up on this theme, the resulting G-rated animated blockbuster might look like this: too many puppies are born in a litter and the competition is fierce, so a few of the puppies, led by Amy Schumer, embark on a perilous journey to find more milk. And they do! Another mamma dog, played by Meryl Streep, has just lost all her puppies in a freak accident (off-screen, of course), and the trekking puppies connect with the new mom just in the nick of time! PS: Suing if I see this idea anywhere. Like most movies with talking dogs, that one’s not realistic. What do puppies actually do with nipples? Do they “[jockey] for position while nursing with the mother” as one self-proclaimed dog behavior specialist claims, or is something else going on? Researchers around the globe have teamed up to investigate the pre-weaning period, when young are dependent on a mother’s milk, and whether nipple preference and competition is the same across all altricial species. What is the state of nipple competition in different species? If you’re someone who calls fives on your favorite chair, kittens feel you. Newborn kittens show a clear preference for particular nipples and develop what’s referred to as a “teat order,” typically nursing from one or two specific nipples. Not only do preferences develop early in life, but contests for access to nipples continue, and kittens actively defend against littermates. Summary: My nipple. Numerous studies find that piglets behave similar to kittens and display “teat fidelity” where individuals interact mainly with one or two nipples. Very quickly after birth, piglets compete for nipples. But unlike kittens, many piglets soon reach a cease-fire. “Teat fidelity” helps reduce subsequent disputes over nipples, which could lead a piglet to miss a nursing. Summary: My nipple. Puppies did not get the same memo as kittens and piglets and do not show consistent use of or preference for particular nipples. Puppies instead latch onto many different nipples. Researchers observed very few incidents of “contest” behavior, such as a puppy pushing into a nursing littermate to dislodge them from a nipple, and they observed no incidence of “high-intensity contest behavior” like biting, growling or swiping at another puppy. Puppies suckled in a “seemingly haphazard manner” and not all at the same time. Some would suckle, others slept, others played, and others wandered around (in other words, all doing different cute things at the same time). Summary: Nipple shnipple. The puppy observations come from a 2013 paper by Lourdes Arteaga and colleagues published in Ethology. The researchers investigated the pattern of nipple use in 10 different litters of puppies, 1 to 28 days of age. Since the litters were both mixed- and pure-bred (including five different breeds), these results are not thought to be breed-specific, but instead are generalizable across dogs. They are all equally adorable, but there is not one singular pattern of nipple use across altricial mammals. Researchers continue to investigate what’s behind the differences. For example, Skok & Škorjanc suggest that the intense fighting between piglets immediately after birth could be about colostrum, a critical limited resource that pigs (ungulates) only access after birth due to their particular “route of maternal antibody transfer to the offspring.” Researchers also suggest that kitten nipple preference and contests might help to “optimize the number of nipples remaining productive across lactation, and to reduce energetically costly scrambles and potentially injurious contests among littermates.” But what’s behind puppies' la-di-da approach to nursing? In a paper published earlier this year in the Journal of Comparative Psychology, Robyn Hudson and colleagues hypothesized that the pattern of chaotic, competition-free nursing behavior observed in dogs could be an artifact of the domestication process. The observed differences between kittens and puppies, they suggest, could be “due to different degrees of domestication,” with dogs under the thumb of domestication for considerably more time than cats, possibly resulting in “relaxed selection.” Or, they wondered, could the observed differences be due to lifestyle and phylogenetic differences between dogs and cats? To investigate these possibilities, they turned to the dingo, a canid that has been exposed to considerably less human influence than the dog. Would the dingo behave more like kittens or puppies? Turns out the dingoes behaved exactly like the dogs! Bradley Smith, of Central Queensland University and one of the paper’s co-authors, shared over email, “Honestly, we had no idea whether or not dingoes would be the same as dogs. We were unsure whether the domestication process changed the nursing behaviour in dogs. Turns out that it hasn’t — dogs and dingoes were exactly the same.” Domestication didn’t do it. Smith adds, “It might be interesting to look at wolves, but I suspect they are no different to dogs and dingoes.” With this new information in hand, the researchers suggest that observed differences between kittens and puppies are not an “artifact of domestication,” but instead represent lifestyle and phylogenetic differences. The researchers highlight that cats’ history as solitary hunters and obligate carnivores and dogs’ history as social, group-living omnivores sets the stage for differences in parental care and associated behaviors. But our understanding of dogs is not always based on scientific findings. For example, Cesar Millan's website claims that dogs jockey for position while nursing, which is supposedly integral to "The source of dominance." The website goes on, "This position is so instinctual because dogs begin learning it almost from birth as the new litter jockeys for position while nursing with the mother. The more dominant dogs will get more milk while the submissive dogs will learn to wait. Since this first struggle for position deals with food and the possible difference between life and death, it is very primal and makes a big impact." But that’s not what the study found. Early-life jockeying and competition was not observed in dogs! While researchers and animal behavior professionals continue to investigate and discuss the role of dominance in dog-dog social relationships — see end of post for links to recent research — it’s useful to turn to fact, not fiction, when building a case for who dogs are and why they do what they do. Recent research and discussion of dominance in dogs Arteaga L, Rödel HG, Elizalde MT, González D, Hudson R. 2013. The Pattern of Nipple Use Before Weaning Among Littermates of the Domestic Dog. Ethology 119, 12–19. Hudson R, Raihani G, González D, Bautista A, Distel H. 2009. Nipple Preference and Contests in Suckling Kittens of the Domestic Cat are Unrelated to Presumed Nipple Quality. Developmental Psychobiology 51, 322–332. Hudson R, Rödel HG, Elizalde MT, Arteaga L, Kennedy GA, Smith BP. 2016. Pattern of Nipple Use by Puppies: A Comparison of the Dingo (Canis dingo) and the Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris). Journal of Comparative Psychology 130, 269–277. Passillé AM, Rushen J, Hartsock, TG. 1988. Ontogeny of teat fidelity in pigs and its relation to competitive suckling. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 68, 325–338. Skok J, Škorjanc D. 2014. Fighting During Suckling: Is it Really an Epiphenomenon? Ethology 120, 627–632.
Gibbons J.M.,Animal Behaviour and Welfare |
Lawrence A.B.,Animal Behaviour and Welfare |
Haskell M.J.,Animal Behaviour and Welfare
Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Year: 2010
Sociability is the relative preference of individual animals to seek out close contact with conspecifics. The aim of this study was to develop suitable tests that could be used to measure the sociability of individual cows on commercial farms. A standardised runway test was used as a "gold standard" test of social motivation and was repeated three times on 46 focal cows. In the runway test, the average latency to reach 5 m and 2 m from the herd and the time spent in these areas were recorded and analysed for repeatability. Latency to reach the 5 m line over the three tests was the most repeatable variable (0.54) and was taken as a measure of social motivation against which to assess other measures of sociability shown by the cows in their home-pen. The home-pen measures were the distance of each cow to the two nearest neighbours, location of the cow in the cow shed, and the level of synchrony based on individual behaviour of each focal cow compared with the rest of the herd's behaviour. Cows that had high latencies to reach the 5 m line had fewer recordings with two near neighbours (W 1 = 5.31, P = 0.021), were less synchronised with the herd (W 1 = 4.82, P = 0.028), were not present at the feedface during peak feeding (W 1 = 4.13, P = 0.042) and stood at the periphery of the cow shed (W 1 = 4.03, P = 0.045). These results indicate that these measures could be used to assess the sociability of individual dairy cows in on-farm studies. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Langford F.M.,Animal Behaviour and Welfare |
Cockram M.S.,University of Prince Edward Island
Animal Welfare | Year: 2010
Methods to assess changes in the mental state of animals in response to their environment can be used to provide information to enhance animal welfare. One of the most profound changes of mental state observable in mammals is the change between wakefulness and sleep. Sleeping mammals have characteristics that are similar to one another and are measurable, such as specific behaviours, changes in responsiveness to external stimuli and changes in electrophysiology and neurochemistry. Although sleep is a ubiquitous behaviour in the life of mammals, there has been relatively little research on this topic in domesticated animals. All animals are motivated to sleep and this motivation increases after a prolonged period of wakefulness. In humans, sleep can be affected by what has occurred in the prior period of wakefulness and this has also been demonstrated in some non-human mammals. An important aspect of human sleep medicine is the association between stress and subsequent sleep disturbances. Studying changes in amount, bout length, distribution or type of sleep after exposure to potentially stressful events, could help us understand how animals respond to changes in their environment. It is possible that different types of stressors could affect sleep characteristics in different ways and that monitoring and identifying these changes could be useful in providing an additional way of identifying management procedures that have the potential to affect welfare. Sleep measurement is a potentially valuable tool in studies to assess animal welfare. © 2010 Universities Federation for Animal Welfare.
Gibbons J.M.,Animal Behaviour and Welfare |
Lawrence A.B.,Animal Behaviour and Welfare |
Haskell M.J.,Animal Behaviour and Welfare
Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Year: 2011
Flight speed (FS) is an objective measure of the behavioural response to handling procedures in beef cattle but to date there is no published work on dairy cattle. It is useful to determine whether there is consistency in FS in dairy cattle, and assess the relationship between FS and other subjective measures of responsiveness in dairy cattle. The aims of this study were to: (a) evaluate the repeatability of the FS and crush score (CS) test in dairy cattle by repeated measurements and (b) examine the correlation of FS and CS with reactivity responses in a human approach test (HAT). FS and CS measurements for 55 Holstein-Friesian heifers were conducted three times at 4-week intervals. Flight response to a HAT was assessed in the passageway of the home-pen on a subset of 33 animals. On completion of the HAT, an assessment of six qualitative terms (at ease, friendly, bold, docile, shy, fearful and nervous) were assessed on a visual analogue scale according to a subjective judgement of whether a cow scored low or high for each term. Correlations between the three monthly repetitions of FS measurements were all significant and positive (FS 1,2: r s=0.36, P=0.007; FS 2,3: r s=0.31, P=0.002; FS 1,3: r s=0.47, P<0.001) which indicates a level of individual consistency. No significant correlations between the three monthly repetitions of CS measurements were found. The mean FS was correlated with HAT flight response (r s=0.42, P=0.004). However, no significant correlations existed between the HAT and the CS. In conclusion, the results suggest that both HAT and FS measurements provide consistent (both intra- and inter-measure) assessments of temperament under these handling situations in dairy cows. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
Seehuus B.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences |
Mendl M.,Animal Behaviour and Welfare |
Keeling L.J.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences |
Blokhuis H.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Year: 2013
The 'reward cycle' conceptualises reward acquisition as a cyclic phenomenon divided into three motivational stages with related emotional or affective states. For feeding behaviour such a cycle consists of an appetitive stage characterised by foraging and exploration linked to emotions such as wanting and anticipation, a consummatory stage with eating behaviour linked to liking and pleasure, and a post-consummatory stage linked to satiety and relaxation with behaviour like resting and preening. In this study we investigated whether disturbing the feed reward cycle in laying hen chicks, by denying access to parts of a pen designed to accommodate the stages of the cycle (litter area 'appetitive'; feed area 'consummatory'; perches and dark area 'post-consummatory'), resulted in a more negative affective state. To test this, we used a spatial cognitive bias task in which a bowl in one location in the test arena was associated with a positive outcome (mealworm), and in a different location with a negative outcome (unpalatable puffed rice soaked in quinine sulphate). Three ambiguous probe locations were presented during the test. Chicks (n=22) discriminated between the positive and negative location as evidenced by a significant difference in times to reach these locations (mean difference variable-feed treatment 22.1 ± 8.8. s; closed-litter treatment 23.3 ± 6.5. s; closed-dark treatment 24.4 ± 4.9. s and baseline mean difference 22.3 ± 6.4. s). Chicks denied access to the litter area was significantly quicker to reach the probe near the negative location than when denied access to the feed area (mean 8.9 ± 1.7 vs. 18.6 ± 1.7) - an 'optimistic' judgement of ambiguity indicative of a less negative affective state when denied litter compared to when denied feed. Relative to the initial baseline cognitive bias tests, all treatments resulted in slower times to reach the negative location (closed-dark: 14.9 ± 1.9; variable-feed: 12.6 ± 1.9; closed-litter: 13.7 ± 1.9) and shorter times to the positive location (closed-dark: -7.3 ± 1.7; variable-feed: -7.2 ± 1.7; closed-litter: -7.3 ± 1.7). Continuing improvement in learning of the positive versus negative location discrimination following baseline tests, or a change in perception of the incentive value of the positive and negative outcomes, may explain this finding. There was no evidence that variations in fearfulness or sociality (measured in tonic immobility and social reinstatement tests) affected the outcome of the cognitive bias tests. There seems to be different reactions to disrupting different parts of a reward cycle and further investigations into the links between affect and motivational sequences may provide a better understanding of the affective importance of different resources. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Seehuus B.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences |
Blokhuis H.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences |
Mendl M.,Animal Behaviour and Welfare |
Keeling L.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica A: Animal Sciences | Year: 2012
The goal of this study was to design an experimental set-up which would encourage chicks to perform behavioural phases that are traditionally labelled as "appetitive", "consummatory" and "post-consummatory", in different areas of the pen. This concept aims to link these phases, to related positive emotions. In this model, appetitive motivational state is linked to the seeking/wanting of a resource, a consummatory motivational state is linked with sensory pleasure and a post-consummatory motivational state is associated with satiety/relaxation. The study focused on foraging-related behaviours in chicks. A pen was designed with three equally sized areas, a litter, feed and dark area. The results showed that it was possible to at least partially separate appetitive, consummatory and post-consummatory behaviour and that the chicks were highly synchronized in their behaviour and their use of the pen areas. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.