Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Sunday, 10 April 2016

A descriptive study on human-dog intercations in Brazil

Kwok, Y. E., von Keyserlingk, M. A., Sprea, G., & Molento, C. F. M. (2016). Human-animal interactions of community dogs in Campo Largo, Brazil: A descriptive study. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research.

•We introduce and describe the community dog program of Campo Largo, Brazil
•The relative frequency of dog-initiated interactions towards vehicles was much lower than those directed towards humans
•Community members and strangers interacted similarly and mostly in a positive manner with community dogs
•Only strangers kicked dogs
•Behaviors varied across dogs, particularly regarding chasing and avoiding vehicles

Free-roaming, ownerless dogs comprise a considerable portion of Brazil’s dog population. To address societal concerns for animal welfare, the Brazilian town of Campo Largo established the ‘community dog program’, where free-roaming dogs are cared for by self-appointed community members, known as maintainers. As this program was established only two years ago, little is known about the interactions that take place between these dogs and people residing in these communities. Thus, the objective of this study was to describe the types of human-animal interactions observed between community dogs and humans in Campo Largo. Dog subjects (n=7), selected by the municipality based on accessibility and community approval, were of mixed breeds, and averaged 4.0±4.16 (mean±SD) years old, ranging from 1 to 10 years old. Over an 18-day period, each dog was observed through continuous focal sampling for six consecutive hours on three separate days, with the exception of two dogs, Pitoco and Moranguinha, who were observed for one and two days, respectively. Interactions were presented as medians and total counts, and grouped as dog-initiated or human-initiated. Human-initiated interactions were further distinguished as either stranger-initiated and community member-initiated. Of the 465 total dog-human interactions, 298 were initiated by dogs and 167 by humans. Dogs interacted with vehicles a total of 157 times. Relative frequency of dog-initiated interactions towards vehicles was much lower than those directed at humans. While dogs approached humans a median of 9 times per 6 h observation period they approached vehicles 0 times per observation day. Vehicle-chasing was observed a median of 2 times per 6 h period. Avoiding and barking at humans was observed, directed most often towards strangers who had no known previous contact with the dogs. While humans petted, hugged and kissed dogs, they were also seen to kick, scold and attempt to scare them. Both community members and strangers showed affection towards dogs. Kicking was observed a total of 4 times, only performed by strangers. However, strangers were also observed to feed dogs a median of once per observation period. This descriptive study is the first documentation on the types of interactions between community dogs and humans in Campo Largo.

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