Sunday, 24 February 2013

New Insight Into Dogs' Fear Responses to Noise


Feb. 18, 2013 — A study has gained new insight into domestic dogs' fear responses to noises. The behavioural response by dogs to noises can be extreme in nature, distressing for owners and a welfare issue for dogs.

The research by academics from the School of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Bristol, and funded by the RSPCA, is published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science. The study provides an important insight into dogs' fear of noises, and could improve our understanding of behavioural signs of fear or anxiety.

In the study two approaches were taken to investigate the occurrence of, and risk factors for, these behaviours: a postal survey of dog owners to investigate general demographic factors and a structured interview of a sub-set of owners to gather more detailed information.

Almost half of the owners who were interviewed reported that their dog showed at least one behavioural sign typical of fear when exposed to noises such as fireworks, thunder and gunshots, even though only a quarter had reported their dog as 'fearful' of noises.

This suggests that whilst they are aware of their pet's behavioural response when exposed to a loud noise, owners do not necessarily recognise this as being indicative of fear or anxiety. This has relevance both for awareness of compromised welfare, and the methodology for surveying such behaviour.

Read more:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130219102542.htm

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