Effect of Kennel Door Design on Vocalization in Dogs
Noise levels in dog kennels are a concern for those working in this environment and the dogs within, since it may cause hearing damage and public disturbance. The effect of visual contact with conspecifics and humans outside the kennel on noise levels remains unknown, and the case can be made for either clear visibility or partial occlusion of the kennel door. For example, it may be important to allow dogs to readily see what is happening to allow them to settle, but this may also increase frustration and noise as a consequence. Obscuring the bottom half of the door may reduce distraction, but may also encourage dogs to jump up in order to see what is happening.
Therefore this study examined the effect of obscuring the bottom portion of double-panel glazed kennel doors on barking noise levels within a 12 unit block. This intervention effectively prevented continuous visual access to the centre of the kennels, although access was possible by looking over this barrier. Baseline noise was recorded prior to entry into the kennels by an experimenter who then followed a standard route within the unit until the dogs habituated to their presence (habituation test). This was determined from noise levels sampled every 5 seconds returning to within baseline levels on 12 successive occasions. Four replicates of each condition were undertaken using an extended ABBA design, with at least a week between tests. Data were tested for normality (Kolmogorov-Smirnov) and a two-sample t-test used to compare the effect of the intervention on time taken for habituation to occur, number of bouts of vocalization, mean and peak noise levels during the habituation test, having established that the number of dogs in the kennel (n = 8-13) did not correlate with measures of noise intensity or habituation.
Beesley, C. H. and Mills, D. S. (2010) Effect of kennel door design on vocalization in dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 5 (1). pp. 60-61. ISSN 1558-7878
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Topic(s): Breeder Resource, Environment, Environmental Management and Monitoring, Noise Levels