Separation distress in a sample of rescued galgos form Spain
- problem behavior,
- separation anxiety,
Given the potential impact separation distress could have on the welfare of the dog experiencing it and on the overall quality of life of the whole family, this study investigated the presence of such complaint among 189 (123 females, 66 males, aged 5.1 ± 2.6 years) already rehomed rescued galgos form Spain, the pieces of advices given to prevent it, the perceived compliance with them and their effectiveness. An online dedicated questionnaire and a convenience sample of respondent were used. A logistic regression with presence/absence of separation distress as the target variable, and age and sex of the dog, length of adoption, presence of another dog in the household and presence and type of advice as possible predictors included in the initial model was run. Twenty-one galgos (11.1%; 12 females, 9 males) were reported as showing separation distress. Advice in order to prevent the development of separation distress was given by the rescue association in 168 cases. The most frequent pieces of advice given, often in combination, were to gradually get the dog used to be alone (120 cases), to not pet/cuddle/give attention to the dog (apart form the necessities of life) for the first 2-4 weeks post-adoption (79 cases), to leave the radio/TV on when leaving the dog alone (23 cases). The score given by respondents to their compliance with the advice was not significantly different depending on the advice/combination of advice given. Among the nine respondents declaring that they had regretted adopting the dog at some point after adoption, three gave separation distress as reason. Among the possible predictors included in the initial model, only age of the dog and being given the advice of “gradually getting the dog used to separations” were significant in the final Logit model, the former having a protective effect (p<0.01), the latter increasing the risk of the dog showing the behavior (p<0.05).