DOG BEHAVIOR https://dogbehavior.it/index.php/dogbehavior «Dog behavior» is a four-monthly peer-reviewed international journal that focuses on all aspects of the behavior of dog and related canids, with a particular emphasis on clinical applications and research. en-US DOG BEHAVIOR 2421-0684 Assessing dogs’ performance in a social and non-social reversal learning task https://dogbehavior.it/index.php/dogbehavior/article/view/118 <p>Reversal Learning could be an essential tool for dogs to accomplish a favorable adaptation to the human environment. Some dimensions of the social context, such as the presence of humans as choice stimuli, might influence dogs’ achievement in reversal learning tasks. Our goal was to assess the influence of the human presence on dogs’ ability to solve these tasks. For that purpose, we compared the performance of the same subjects in a social and non-social condition. Dogs had to choose between two passive humans (social reversal task) and between two apparatuses (non-social reversal task) as the discriminative stimuli. Our results showed no significant differences in the mean number of trials before giving the first correct response and mean number of correct responses comparing the social and non-social reversal conditions. This could indicate that reversal learning is independent of the social nature of the acquired stimulus, and that the human presence might not facilitate dogs’ performance. However, in the last block of trials, dogs made significantly more correct responses in the social task than in the non-social task. This result must be considered with caution. Further research is required to compare social and non-social tasks applied to the same subjects and including distinct dimensions of the social context. In addition, future work should address other factors that potentially shape dogs’ ability to learn reversals.</p> Jesica Paola Fagnani Mariana Bentosela Gabriela Luciana Barrera Copyright (c) 2020 DOG BEHAVIOR 2020-10-07 2020-10-07 6 2 1 11 10.4454/db.v6i2.118 The Hovawart breed: analysis of various characteristics of dogs in a home environment in Italy https://dogbehavior.it/index.php/dogbehavior/article/view/119 <p>The aim of this survey was to investigate the characteristics of the Hovawart breed in a sample of dogs bred in Italy. A questionnaire was developed and piloted on Hovawart owners. The questionnaire included general information about the owners and the dogs, with more detailed questions on the behaviours exhibited by the dogs. One hundred questionnaires were received and processed, including 59 female and 41 male dogs. The results revealed that the main activities for Hovawart dogs were shows (57%), followed by rescue, utility, and defence. No dogs showed aggressive behaviour towards their owners, however 50% and 48% showed aggressive behaviour towards other animals due to competition or hierarchical reasons and towards unfamiliar people in self-defence. Only 28% of the dogs ever showed wariness, however a large number of owners did not refer to any nuisance behaviour in relation to their dog.</p><p>The majority of owners did not mention any health problems. Cancer and hip dysplasia were the problems most complained.</p> Lorella Giuliotti Maria Novella Benvenuti Alice Faoro Daniela Nespolino Fabio Macchioni Francesca Cecchi Copyright (c) 2020 DOG BEHAVIOR 2020-10-07 2020-10-07 6 2 13 21 10.4454/db.v6i2.119 Feeding dogs from raised bowls – a survey of the practice among Italian owners https://dogbehavior.it/index.php/dogbehavior/article/view/117 <p>Feeding dogs from raised bowls is gaining popularity among owners, although being cited among the factors increasing the risk of gastric dilatation-volvolus in giant breeds. We aimed at investigating the prevalence of the practice among Italian owners, their stated reasons for it and whether it was associated to a different prevalence of health issues or undesirable behaviors. A convenience sample was recruited via social media and online filled-in questionnaires concerning 715 dogs were collected (mean age ± SD, 5.2±3.57 years, mean weight=19.4 Kg, SD=12.2 kg). One-hundred and eighty owners (25.2%) declared to feed their dogs from raised bowls, thirty-eight of which stated they did so following veterinary advice. Thirty-one mentioned prevention of gastric dilatation-volvolus as the reason for their choice (12 having been advised on the topic by vets), 33 other advantages linked to easier swallowing or digestion. No significant differences were found in the prevalence of health issues or undesirable behaviors between dogs fed from raised bowls and those fed from non-raised bowls.</p><p>When dogs were divided in size categories according to their stated height at the withers, bigger dogs were more often said to be fed from raised bowls than smaller ones (p&lt;0.001). Sighthounds being reported to be 43 cm or more tall at the withers were more often (p&lt;0.05) fed from raised bowls than dogs of the same size category even if they were not taller. It is concluded the practice of feeding dogs from raised bowls is relatively widespread especially among bigger dogs and sighthounds owners and, therefore, both more scientific studies on its actual effect on dogs’ health and more widespread information on them are needed.</p> Simona Normando Copyright (c) 2020 DOG BEHAVIOR 2020-10-07 2020-10-07 6 2 23 29 10.4454/db.v6i2.117