Impact of Classical Counterconditioning (Quiet Kennel Exercise) on Barking in Kenneled Dogs—A Pilot Study
Barking is a major source of noise pollution in dog kennels and negatively impacts the welfare of anyone within earshot, especially the dogs in the kennels themselves. It is crucial to have solutions to help reduce barking quickly and humanely that are easy to understand and put into place that also do not require a lot of resources such as time, expertise, or money. This study looked at the use of an exercise (Quiet Kennel Exercise—QKE) that uses classical counterconditioning (Pavlov) to help change the way the dogs feel when a person enters the kennel area from unpleasant to pleasant. This should help to reduce barking, especially that which is caused by negative emotions such as fear and frustration. After the initial baseline period of 5 days, people passing through the kennel tossed treats to the dogs no matter what the dogs did for 10 days. Data was collected three times a day for the entire study period. Sound level readings (decibels), number of dogs present, and number of dogs barking were recorded. Results showed improvement in the loudest volume recorded after the exercise was in place, fewer dogs barking over time, and each dog barking less each time. The most improvement was noticed in the afternoon.
Zurlinden, S., Spano, S., Griffith, E., and Bennett, S. (2022). Impact of Classical Counterconditioning (Quiet Kennel Exercise) on Barking in Kenneled Dogs—A Pilot Study. Animals, 12(2), 171. DOI: 10.3390/ani12020171
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Topic(s): Breeder Resource, Environment, Environmental Management and Monitoring, Noise Levels