Assessing the social organization of multi-dog households: dog behaviour, hormones, personality, and demographics

Castro, Mariana Muner Kroll Dantas de (2017) Assessing the social organization of multi-dog households: dog behaviour, hormones, personality, and demographics. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Domestic dogs and grey wolves, although related species, display differences in social organization. As has been shown in captive vs. free-living wolves, context differences affecting social organization are likely to exist in domestic dogs. Social status has been investigated in free-ranging domestic dogs, among dogs living in kennel environments, and among pet dogs at a day-care facility, but not among cohabiting pet dogs. This study examines whether three methods (a toy possession test (TPT), behavioural characteristics, and owner-reported dominance) for evaluating dominance among dogs living in multi-dog homes yield convergent results. There were no significant relationships among the outcomes of the three methods, indicating they are likely measuring different constructs. Higher TPT scores were related to higher baseline testosterone, an interaction between baseline cortisol and testosterone characterized by low cortisol/high testosterone levels, relative age, Extraversion and Motivation. Behaviours previously associated with dominance were not consistent in their relationships with dog demographics (sex, age), hormones, and personality traits, as measured by the Monash Canine Personality Questionnaire-Revised (MCPQ-R). Owner-reported dominant dogs had higher relative Motivation and Training Focus and lower Amicability. Cohabiting pet dog social organization is probably different from that found in other dog groups, perhaps due to owner behaviour. Assumptions derived from wolf and feral dog studies about the concept of dominance must be evaluated carefully before being accepted as valid for pet dogs.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 12947
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 109-126).
Keywords: domestic dogs, Canis familiaris, social behaviour, social status, dominance, competition, personality, hormones, testosterone, cortisol
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology
Date: September 2017
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Dogs--Behaviour; Dogs--Behaviour--Endocrine aspects; Dogs--Psychology; Dogs--Social aspects

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