Comparison of tethering and group-pen housing for sled dogs

White, J., McBride, E.A. and Redhead, E. (2006) Comparison of tethering and group-pen housing for sled dogs At Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) Conference 2006. 13 Sep 2006.


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The experiment investigated whether there would be a difference in behaviour between the effects of long-term tethering without exercise, long-term tethering with exercise and group pen housing on sled dogs. Siberian husky sled dogs from a commercial sled-dog kennel (n=9), were exposed to four different housing conditions and filmed to record behaviours for analysis. Filming took place at the sled dog kennel. The conditions consisted of six-months with no-exercise/tethered (Condition A), exercise (daily running)/tethered (Condition B), four weeks no-exercise/tethered (Condition C) and no exercise/un-tethered in group pens with 3 dogs per pen (Condition D). The dogs were returned to baseline (Condition A) after three months in group pen housing to control for order effects. Subjects were then filmed after a two-week habituation period. The tethered housing conditions (A,B and C) produced evidence of more repetitive behaviours and fewer social behaviours than the un-tethered housing condition. Although un-tethering subsequently reduced rebound and repetitive behaviours, the variable of tethering without exercise (conditions A and C) revealed the greatest difference in behaviour. Long term tethering with no exercise produced agonistic behaviours indicative of frustrative non-reward heightened by the intermittent delivery of the reward of exercise. Increased aggression vigorously directed at neighbouring dogs and an overall increase in vigilance was the direct consequence of the frustration of non- reward. Un-tethering significantly reduced interdog aggression (p=.05), but the dogs remained vigilant. Therefore, long-term tethering without exercise or with the intermittent reward of exercise produces an increase in frustrative maladaptive behaviours such as aggression and increased vigilance.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Venue - Dates: Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) Conference 2006, 2006-09-13 - 2006-09-13
Keywords: Dos, Sled Dog, Tethering, Housing, Group-Pen, Behaviour, Exercise

ePrint ID: 55343
Date :
Date Event
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2008
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 17:44
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