The behavioural effects of olfactory stimulation on dogs at a rescue shelter

John Binks, Sienna Taylor, Alison Wills, V. Tamara Montrose

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article

4 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Many domestic dogs are kept in rescue and rehoming shelters which are frequently stressful and under-stimulating environments. Dog welfare is often compromised within these environments and there is a need to determine new practical and effective methods of improving the welfare of these kennelled dogs. Olfactory stimulation has been demonstrated to have positive behavioural effects in a range of contexts, however this field remains relatively understudied in the domestic dog. This study aimed to investigate the effects of olfactory stimulation via vanilla, coconut, ginger and valerian upon the behaviour of 15 dogs at a rescue shelter. The dogs were simultaneously exposed to six olfactory conditions using scented cloths following a fixed order (cloth control, coconut, vanilla, valerian, ginger and odour control) for 2 h a day for 3 days with an intervening period of 2 days between conditions. The dogs’ behaviour was recorded every 10 min throughout the 2 h olfactory conditions using instantaneous scan-sampling. Exposure to ginger, coconut, vanilla and valerian resulted in significantly lower levels of vocalisations and movement compared to the control conditions, while coconut and ginger additionally increased levels of sleeping behaviour. These odours may have application in rescue shelters due to the reduction of behaviours such as barking and activity, which may be indicative of stress, as well as being traits perceived as undesirable by adopters. This research provides support for the use of olfactory stimulation within the kennel environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-76
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume202
Issue numberMay
Early online date31 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

Fingerprint

Ginger
Dogs
Cocos
ginger
Vanilla
Valerian
coconuts
dogs
odor control
research support
vocalization
odors
Research
sampling
Odorants

Keywords

  • Dog behaviour
  • Dog welfare
  • Environmental enrichment
  • Olfactory stimulation

Cite this

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title = "The behavioural effects of olfactory stimulation on dogs at a rescue shelter",
abstract = "Many domestic dogs are kept in rescue and rehoming shelters which are frequently stressful and under-stimulating environments. Dog welfare is often compromised within these environments and there is a need to determine new practical and effective methods of improving the welfare of these kennelled dogs. Olfactory stimulation has been demonstrated to have positive behavioural effects in a range of contexts, however this field remains relatively understudied in the domestic dog. This study aimed to investigate the effects of olfactory stimulation via vanilla, coconut, ginger and valerian upon the behaviour of 15 dogs at a rescue shelter. The dogs were simultaneously exposed to six olfactory conditions using scented cloths following a fixed order (cloth control, coconut, vanilla, valerian, ginger and odour control) for 2 h a day for 3 days with an intervening period of 2 days between conditions. The dogs’ behaviour was recorded every 10 min throughout the 2 h olfactory conditions using instantaneous scan-sampling. Exposure to ginger, coconut, vanilla and valerian resulted in significantly lower levels of vocalisations and movement compared to the control conditions, while coconut and ginger additionally increased levels of sleeping behaviour. These odours may have application in rescue shelters due to the reduction of behaviours such as barking and activity, which may be indicative of stress, as well as being traits perceived as undesirable by adopters. This research provides support for the use of olfactory stimulation within the kennel environment.",
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The behavioural effects of olfactory stimulation on dogs at a rescue shelter. / Binks, John; Taylor, Sienna; Wills, Alison; Montrose, V. Tamara.

In: Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Vol. 202, No. May, 01.05.2018, p. 69-76.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article

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