Separation-related behavior in dogs (Canis familiaris) – a review and an experimental analysis
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In modern society many dogs (Canis familiaris) spend time home alone, and behavior problems specifically occurring in conjunction with caregivers’ departure and absence are a matter of great concern for dog owners and professionals. Article 1 reviews the current status of knowledge on dogs’ separation-related behavior, focusing on three aspects: First a description of the behaviors described as problematic and current data on their prevalence, then an examination of what is known what is known or hypothesized about the causes of these behaviors, and finally a review of interventions that have been attempted in the past. The first article concludes with suggestions to advance the understanding of dogs’ separation-related behavior through further research on how manipulable antecedent and consequence variables influence behavior under separation conditions, which is then the topic for the second article. Article 2 presents an experiment that used a functional analysis approach to examine weather access to a person functioned as a reinforcer in teaching and maintaining an arbitrary response under separation conditions, and whether antecedent enrichment affected such responding. The results of the study contribute to the current understanding of dogs’ behavior under separation conditions by experimentally demonstrating that human access can be an effective reinforcer. Further, the experiment demonstrated that antecedent access to different forms of food can compete with responding that gives access to an attentive human. The study was limited to three dogs but clearly demonstrated the usefulness of the functional analysis approach, and concludes with proposing further research investigating functional relations in separation-related behavior problems in individual dogs.
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