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Behav Processes. 2014 Mar;103:306-14. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2014.01.015. Epub 2014 Jan 24.

Effects of space allowance on the behaviour of long-term housed shelter dogs.

Author information

  • 1Department of Comparative Biomedicine and Food Science, University of Padua, Viale dell'Università 16, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy. Electronic address: simona.normando@unipd.it.
  • 2Department of Animal Medicine Production and Health, University of Padua, Viale dell'Università 16, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy. Electronic address: barbara.contiero@unipd.it.
  • 3Department of Animal Medicine Production and Health, University of Padua, Viale dell'Università 16, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy. Electronic address: giorgio.marchesini@unipd.it.
  • 4Department of Animal Medicine Production and Health, University of Padua, Viale dell'Università 16, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy. Electronic address: rebecca.ricci@unipd.it.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess the effects of space allowance (4.5 m(2)/head vs. 9 m(2)/head) on the behaviour of shelter dogs (Canis familiaris) at different times of the day (from 10:30 to 13:30 vs. from 14:30 to 17:30), and the dogs' preference between two types of beds (fabric bed vs. plastic basket). Twelve neutered dogs (seven males and five females aged 3-8 years) housed in pairs were observed using a scan sampling recording method every 20 s for a total of 14,592 scans/treatment. An increase in space allowance increased general level of activity (risk ratio (RR)=1.34), standing (RR=1.37), positive social interactions (RR=2.14), visual exploration of the environment (RR=1.21), and vocalisations (RR=2.35). Dogs spent more time in the sitting (RR=1.39) or standing (RR=1.88) posture, in positive interactions (RR=1.85), and active visual exploration (RR=1.99) during the morning than in the afternoon. The dogs were more often observed in the fabric bed than in the plastic basket (53% vs. 15% of total scans, p<0.001). Results suggest that a 9.0 m(2)/head space allowance could be more beneficial to dogs than one of 4.5 m(2).

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS:

Dog; Shelter; Space allowance; Welfare

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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