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Owner-companion dog interactions: Relationships between demographic variables, potentially problematic behaviours, training engagement and shared activities

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(Posting of a published paper: Author P.C. Bennett)


Many companion dogs occupy a privileged position in our society, living closely with human caretakers who go to great lengths to provide for their needs and desires. Others fare less well, being abandoned or killed, many because they are believed to exhibit behaviour problems. The aim in this study was to investigate the frequency of potentially problematic behaviours experienced by a convenience sample of companion dog owners and to establish if the presence of these behaviours was associated with demographic variables, involvement in dog training activities and participation in other dog-human interactions. Potentially problematic behaviours were reported to occur by the 413 adult participants only infrequently, but fell into five factors; disobedience, unfriendliness/aggression, nervousness, anxiety/destructiveness and excitability. Each of these f actors was associated with a number of owner and dog characteristics. Engagement in training activities was predictive of lower scores being obtained for many of the behaviours, as well as increased involvement in shared activities. Some of the behaviours, particularly the perceived friendliness of the dog, were also predictive of involvement in shared activities. This confirms that strategies designed to increase participation in dog training activities and promote canine sociability may have significant benefits for both companion dog owners and their dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 102 (2007) 65–84
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +61 3 9903 1144; fax: +61 3 9903 2501.
E-mail address: (P.C. Bennett).
0168-1591 # 2006 Elsevier B.V. doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2006.03.009 Open access under CC BY-NC-ND license.

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