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Do dogs respond to play signals given by humans?

Do dogs respond to play signals given by humans?
Do dogs respond to play signals given by humans?
Play signals are known to function in the solicitation and maintenance of intraspecific play, but their role in interspecific play is relatively unstudied. We carried out two studies to examine interspecific signalling when humans play with domestic dogs, Canis familiaris. In the first, we recorded dog–owner play sessions on video to identify actions used by 21 dog owners to initiate play with their dogs. Thirty-five actions were each used by three or more owners. These included postures, vocalizations and physical contact with the dog. The actions varied greatly in their apparent success at instigating play which was, surprisingly, unrelated to the frequency with which they were used. We then did an experiment to determine the effect of composites of commonly used signals upon the behaviour of 20 Labrador retrievers. The performance of both ‘Bow’ and ‘Lunge’ by a human altered the subsequent behaviour of the dogs. Both signals caused increases in play, and Lunge produced significant increases in play bout frequency and mean bout duration. The efficiency of both these postural signals was enhanced when they were accompanied by play vocalizations. Thus, specific actions used by humans do communicate a playful context to dogs and can be described as interspecific play signals.
social play, CANIDS
0003-3472
715-722
Rooney, N.J.
41d2c632-c284-4cef-971c-1d8d1f5de86a
Bradshaw, J.W.S.
c23e8813-8e07-4916-b86f-e09919e8e6fb
Robinson, I.H.
d10d8aa6-f3b0-452d-b42d-a58871b0655f
Rooney, N.J.
41d2c632-c284-4cef-971c-1d8d1f5de86a
Bradshaw, J.W.S.
c23e8813-8e07-4916-b86f-e09919e8e6fb
Robinson, I.H.
d10d8aa6-f3b0-452d-b42d-a58871b0655f

Rooney, N.J., Bradshaw, J.W.S. and Robinson, I.H. (2001) Do dogs respond to play signals given by humans? Animal Behaviour, 61 (4), 715-722. (doi:10.1006/anbe.2000.1661).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Play signals are known to function in the solicitation and maintenance of intraspecific play, but their role in interspecific play is relatively unstudied. We carried out two studies to examine interspecific signalling when humans play with domestic dogs, Canis familiaris. In the first, we recorded dog–owner play sessions on video to identify actions used by 21 dog owners to initiate play with their dogs. Thirty-five actions were each used by three or more owners. These included postures, vocalizations and physical contact with the dog. The actions varied greatly in their apparent success at instigating play which was, surprisingly, unrelated to the frequency with which they were used. We then did an experiment to determine the effect of composites of commonly used signals upon the behaviour of 20 Labrador retrievers. The performance of both ‘Bow’ and ‘Lunge’ by a human altered the subsequent behaviour of the dogs. Both signals caused increases in play, and Lunge produced significant increases in play bout frequency and mean bout duration. The efficiency of both these postural signals was enhanced when they were accompanied by play vocalizations. Thus, specific actions used by humans do communicate a playful context to dogs and can be described as interspecific play signals.

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More information

Submitted date: 12 June 2000
Published date: April 2001
Keywords: social play, CANIDS

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 55602
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/55602
ISSN: 0003-3472
PURE UUID: 73e4b05b-3cd2-4594-8a1a-0170dbab8842

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Date deposited: 04 Aug 2008
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 20:36

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