Canine separation anxiety is a common problem behavior with little known about the factors that lead to its development. This study investigated whether high arousal/excited departures and greetings with a dog may lead to the development of increased frequency of separation-related behavior in newly adopted dogs. In experiment 1, we exposed two groups of dogs to a series of either high or low arousal human experimenter interactions. We hypothesized there would be an increase in activity, vocalizations, and time in proximity to door for the dogs in the high arousal condition compared with the low arousal condition, when left alone, and that these behaviors would increase across 10 sessions. Our results did not show this, indicating high arousal departures and arrivals may not play a role in the development of increased separation-related behavior. In experiment 2, we used a survey to ask owners of dogs with, and without, canine separation anxiety about their arousal levels during arrivals and departures at home with their pet dog. We hypothesized dogs with reported canine separation anxiety would have been exposed to higher arousal levels during departures and arrivals. Our results showed a small difference between the groups, in the opposite direction of our hypothesis, where the dogs with reported canine separation anxiety were exposed to slightly lower arousal levels than dogs without, but the difference was small. From both experiment 1 and 2, our results indicate that high excitement and playful levels of owners during departures and arrivals is not associated with the development of increased separation-related behavior in newly adopted dogs. It is important to make the distinction, however, that low arousal departures and arrivals are a well-documented treatment for separation-related behavior, and our results only reflect that these arousal levels do not appear to play a causal role in the development of an increased frequency of them.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2021|
- canine behavior
- human-animal interaction
- separation anxiety
- separation-related behavior