Owner-dog interaction with 'separation related behavior' (SRB) dogs and 'non-separation related behavior' (non-SRB) dogs after a separation period.
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The aim of this study was to characterize owner-dog interactions after a separation period in a group of dogs displaying severe signs of 'separation related behavior' (SRB) and in a control group (non-SRB dogs) as reported by their owners.. Seventy-four owners and their dogs participated in this study: 35 SRB and 12 non-SRB dogsInteractions between owners and their dogs were filmed before, during and after a simulated separation period. Three different camera’s videoed the owner-dog interactions from different angles. Gaze directions of the owner, physical contact, verbal and non-vocal interaction styles were scored and analyzed. The scores of SRB owners and non-SRB owners were compared as well as gender effects. The results of this study suggest that there are a few differences between SRB and non-SRB owners regarding their human-dog interaction. SRB owners look more into the camera and look more around the room compared to non-SRB owners. Non-SRB owners pet their dog more during the reunion phase. Further results suggest that there is no significant difference in control or comfort interaction style or greeting behavior between SRB and non-SRB owners. When women were compared to men, results suggest that male owners pet their dog more and look more at their dogs. Owners’ verbal control and non-verbal control were significantly positively correlated. When comparing the owner data with the dogs’ behaviours shown during the same study,, it shows that owners’ verbal control during the reunion-phase is positively correlated to the dogs’ vocal behavior during the separation-phase and the ‘total look around’ of the owner is significantly positively correlated to all-vocalizations in the dog.