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0431 Objective evaluation of affective states in dogs

Mcgowan, R. T. S

Journal of Animal Science, 2016, Vol. 94(suppl5), pp.208-208 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    0431 Objective evaluation of affective states in dogs
  • Author: Mcgowan, R. T. S
  • Description: It has long been the impression of most pet owners that dogs have rich emotional lives and that their experiences affect them profoundly in ways similar to how humans are affected. However, there is a lack of methodology to objectively assess affective states in animals, especially positive states. It is widely accepted that there is more to good well-being than the absence of negative states and it is increasingly being accepted that the wellbeing of an animal is greatly influenced by its affective state. Animals continually experience “reward cycles” as they pass through appetitive, consummatory and post-consummatory phases during their daily activities (e.g., eating, playing, problem-solving). High arousal positive emotions (e.g., excitement, anticipation) are associated with appetitive phases, sensory pleasure (e.g., comforting touch, hedonic taste) occur during consumption and low arousal positive emotions (e.g., satisfaction, relaxation) accompany post-consumption phases. This talk will highlight methodology that can be used to evaluate these positive states in dogs, providing examples from studies in both research and shelter settings. Dogs are an ideal non-human model for studying positive affective states because they have traditionally lived in close contact with people (so we are good at reading them and they are even better at reading us), are capable of forming close attachments to people (providing opportunity to study the human animal bond from the animal's perspective) and are kept throughout the world as both companions and working animals (a better understanding of their affective states will help to promote optimal wellbeing). Using behavioral tests (e.g., human interaction, cognitive bias, problem solving) coupled with non-invasive physiological measures (e.g., cardiac activity, salivary cortisol, thermal fluctuations) we can glean new insights into how to measure affective states in dogs. By using a holistic approach that incorporates both behavioral and physiological measures, we can produce scientifically sound evidence to identify which emotions animals experience and how animals express these affective states through their behavior. With this holistic approach we can develop a more objective understanding of animal wellbeing.
  • Is Part Of: Journal of Animal Science, 2016, Vol. 94(suppl5), pp.208-208
  • Identifier: ISSN: 0021-8812 ; E-ISSN: 1525-3163 ; DOI: 10.2527/jam2016-0431
  • Subjects: Dogs ; Affective State ; Non - Invasive Physiological Indicators

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