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J Vet Med Sci. 2017 Jul 28;79(7):1278-1283. doi: 10.1292/jvms.16-0403. Epub 2017 May 25.

Relationship between sociability toward humans and physiological stress in dogs.

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College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 151-742, Korea.


Sociability is an essential trait for dogs to successfully interact with humans. In this study, the relationship between sociability and physiological stress was examined. Additionally, whether differences exist between companion dogs (C group) and shelter dogs (S group) was examined. Overall, healthy 37 dogs (C group=21 and S group=16) were examined. After 5 min of walking, the dog and the owner (or the chief manager) rested freely in the experimental location for 5 min. The behavioral test with 6 categories was conducted to evaluate sociability over 4 min. The establishment of two groups (H group=dogs with high sociability; L group=dogs with low sociability) was supported by the statistical results of the behavioral tests. Saliva was collected before (P1) and after the test period (P2), and salivary cortisol levels were determined and statistically analyzed. The cortisol concentrations at P2 and the differences in concentrations between P1 and P2 (P2-P1) in the groups with high sociability were significantly lower than those in the groups with low sociability. These results may demonstrate that sociable dogs adapt more comfortably to strangers and unfamiliar situations. Meanwhile, there were significant differences in hormonal results between the C and S groups. For this reason, their sociability should be evaluated using behavioral and physiological assessments before re-adoption to ensure their successful adaptation.


animal welfare; behavior; dog; physiological stress; sociability

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