Factors Affecting Dog-Dog Interactions On Walks With Their Owners

Scientific Journal Articles

Little is known about factors influencing dyadic interactions between dogs in public places. This paper reports on the effect of dog age, gender and size, human gender and the use of a leash on the occurrence of body sniffing, scent-marking, playing games, showing a threat and biting in canine dyads on walks with their owners. Observations of 1870 interacting dogs were made in public places where owners frequently walked their dogs. Dogs off a leash sniffed one another more often than dogs on a leash (P < 0.001). Males sniffed females more often than vice versa (P < 0.05) and than when dogs of the same gender sniffed one another (P < 0.01). Males marked more often than females when they encountered the same gender (P < 0.05) as well as the opposite gender (P < 0.001). Puppies played together more than twice as often as adults (P < 0.001) and eleven times as often as seniors (P < 0.001). The occurrence of play was seen more often between dogs of opposite genders than between males (P < 0.01). Small, medium and large dogs played with dogs of the same size more often than with dogs of different sizes. Threat appeared twice as often between dogs on a leash as between dogs off a leash (P < 0.001). Dogs of the same genders showed a threat nearly three times more often than dogs of opposite genders (P < 0.01). Males (P < 0.05) and females (P < 0.01) bit dogs of the same gender more than five times more often than dogs of the opposite gender. Dogs showed a threat more often (P < 0.05) and they bit another dog more than four times more often (P < 0.05) when both owners were men than when they were women. In conclusion, the dog age, gender and size, human gender and the use of a leash had a marked effect on dyadic interactions between dogs on walks with their owners.

Rˇezácˇ, P., Viziová, P., Dobesˇová, M., Havlícˇek, Z., and Pospísˇilová, D. (2011). Factors affecting dog-dog interactions on walks with their owners. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 134, 170-176.

Photo: iStock.com/Dona Shiell

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Topic(s): Behavior, Dog to Dog, Pet Families, Social Interactions