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Frost R.O.,Smith College | Patronek G.,Center for Shelter Dogs | Rosenfield E.,Smith College
Depression and Anxiety

Recent research has highlighted the prevalence and harmful consequences of hoarding,1 and investigators have proposed inclusion of hoarding disorder in DSM-5.2 An unanswered question about the proposed disorder is whether people who hoard animals would meet diagnostic criteria for it. This article discusses the similarities and differences between object and animal hoarding. People who hoard animals appear to meet the basic diagnostic criteria for hoarding disorder. Their homes are cluttered, disorganized, and dysfunctional. They have great difficulty relinquishing animals to people who can more adequately care for them, and they form intense attachments (urges to save) that result in significant impairment. However, they differ from people who hoard objects in several ways. These differences are significant enough to warrant comment in the text description accompanying the diagnostic criteria and consideration as a subtype of hoarding disorder. More research is necessary to determine the exact relationship between object and animal hoarding. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc. Source

Jones S.,Tufts University | Jones S.,University of California at Davis | Dowling-Guyer S.,Center for Shelter Dogs | Patronek G.J.,Tufts University | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science

Stress can compromise welfare in any confined group of nonhuman animals, including those in shelters. However, an objective and practical method for assessing the stress levels of individual dogs housed in a shelter does not exist. Such a method would be useful for monitoring animal welfare and would allow shelters to measure the effectiveness of specific interventions for stress reduction. In this pilot study, activity levels were studied in 13 dogs using accelerometers attached to their collars. Behavioral stress scores as well as urinary and salivary cortisol levels were measured to determine if the dogs' activity levels while confined in the kennel correlated with behavioral and physiological indicators of stress in this population. The results indicated that the accelerometer could be a useful tool to study stress-related activity levels in dogs. Specific findings included a correlation between the salivary cortisol and maximum activity level (r =.62, p =.025) and a correlation between the urine cortisol-to-creatinine ratio and average activity level (r =.61, p =.028) among the study dogs. Further research is needed to better understand the complex relationship between stress and activity level among dogs in a kennel environment. © 2014 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Source

Shabelansky A.,Center for Shelter Dogs | Dowling-Guyer S.,Center for Shelter Dogs | Dowling-Guyer S.,Tufts University | Quist H.,Tufts University | And 2 more authors.
Applied Animal Behaviour Science

Behavior evaluations are widely used by animal shelters and other organizations that rehome dogs. The dog-to-dog subtest is a common feature of most canine behavior evaluations. The use of model devices such as a stuffed dog during this subtest could be convenient for shelters and increase safety. However, there is little research indicating if a fake dog can be reliably used instead of a live dog. In this study, the consistency of shelter dogs' reactions toward a fake and a real dog during the dog-to-dog subtest was investigated. Forty-five shelter dogs were evaluated using two different stimulus conditions. In one condition, the test dog was confronted with a single plush dog (the same plush dog for all test dogs), and in the other, with a single live dog (the same live dog for all test dogs). A standardized list of behaviors was recorded as observed or absent for both conditions with each dog serving as its own control. To calculate the agreement of individual behaviors between the two conditions, Cohen's Kappa was used. However, since many of the behaviors occurred at very low or high frequency rates, Prevalence-Adjusted, Bias-Adjusted Kappa (PABAK) was used along with Cohen's Kappa due to Cohen's Kappa's sensitivity to high or low prevalence, for which PABAK adjusts. For the purposes of this study, PABAK or Kappa scores greater than 0.61 were considered an indicator of a good degree of agreement between reactions toward the fake and the real dogs. The degree of agreement varied widely across individual behaviors with, Kappa ranging from -0.04 to 0.75 and PABAK from 0.29 to 1. Collapsing individual behaviors into behavior traits (e.g., friendly, aggressive, fearful) revealed a high degree of agreement for the friendly trait (Kappa = 0.60, PABAK = 0.69). However, the aggressive trait did not demonstrate adequate agreement (Kappa = 0.11 and PABAK = 0.38) and the fearful trait demonstrated only moderate agreement between the two stimulus conditions (Kappa = 0.50 and PABAK = 0.51). These results suggest that, while it may be possible to use a fake dog for the dog-to-dog subtest to assess friendly behavior toward other dogs, fearful and aggressive behaviors may not be consistent between the fake and real dogs, thus limiting the usefulness of the fake dog during behavior evaluations. In addition, the results of this study suggest more research is needed into the predictive validity of both fake and real dogs, since it appears the stimulus dog, whether fake or real, can influence the subtest's results. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. Source

Marder A.R.,Center for Shelter Dogs | Shabelansky A.,Center for Shelter Dogs | Patronek G.J.,Center for Shelter Dogs | Dowling-Guyer S.,Center for Shelter Dogs | D'Arpino S.S.,Center for Shelter Dogs
Applied Animal Behaviour Science

In order to assess the relationship between food-related aggression in the shelter as identified by a standardized canine behavior evaluation and owner-reported food-related aggression after adoption, this retrospective cohort study followed 97 dogs adopted from a shelter and their adoptive owners. The Match-Up II Shelter Dog Rehoming Program, a standardized canine behavior evaluation that was administered to all the dogs in the study prior to adoption, was used to classify dogs as either food aggressive (FA+) or not food aggressive (FA-). Adoptive owners were subsequently surveyed to assess the dogs' behavior after adoption, the owners' perception of food-related aggression, and their satisfaction with the dog as a pet. Twenty (20.6%) dogs evaluated were deemed FA+ in the shelter, and slightly more than half (11/20; 55%) of them were later reported by adopters as exhibiting FA+ behavior in the home after adoption, whereas out of the 77 dogs that were deemed to be FA- in the shelter, 17 (22%) were reported to be FA+ by adopters; conversely, the majority (60/77; 78%) of dogs identified as FA- in the shelter were reported by adopters as not having exhibited FA+ behavior in the home (P=0.004). Most adopters, including those whose dogs were reported FA+ in the home, did not consider FA+ behavior to be a challenge to keeping the dog as a pet. In conclusion, in this sample of shelter dogs, the observation of FA+ behavior during a standardized dog behavior evaluation was associated with FA+ behavior in the home following adoption, however, an almost equal number of dogs observed to be FA+ on the behavior evaluation did not show food aggression after adoption. Failure to observe FA+ behavior on the shelter test was associated with the absence of FA+ behavior after adoption. The detection of FA+ via a behavior evaluation should be interpreted with caution, since a positive finding in the shelter evaluation does not consistently indicate that the behavior will occur in the home nor that a dog is unsuitable for adoption. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

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