Digital Dogsitter® reduces vocalization in dogs suffering from separation-related problems

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Tiira , K 2021 , ' Digital Dogsitter® reduces vocalization in dogs suffering from separation-related problems ' , Applied Animal Behaviour Science , vol. 243 , 105460 .

Title: Digital Dogsitter® reduces vocalization in dogs suffering from separation-related problems
Author: Tiira, Katriina
Contributor organization: Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme
Departments of Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Research Centre for Animal Welfare
University of Helsinki
Date: 2021-10
Language: eng
Number of pages: 6
Belongs to series: Applied Animal Behaviour Science
ISSN: 0168-1591
Abstract: Separation-related behaviour problems are common in domestic dogs. Vocalization is one of the most common symptoms in dogs, and neighbors often complain about dog barking and howling. We investigated the effect of digital application Digital Dogsitter® on the dogs’ vocalization (barking, howling, whining) when left alone. Digital Dogsitter® is an application, used via laptop or pc, and it activates as a reaction to the dog's vocalization and then plays a short owner-recorded feedback. Altogether 40 participants who had a laptop/pc at home and a dog that suffered from separation related symptoms, specifically vocalization, completed the study. Dogs’ vocalization (when alone at home) was recorded before and after using Digital Dogsitter® for two weeks, in order to investigate whether Digital Dogsitter® reduces dog's vocalization. The amount of total dog vocalization noise (in milliseconds) was significantly reduced (P < 0.001, N = 40) after using Digital Dogsitter® for two weeks. The reduction in the dogs’ vocalization after Digital Dogsitter® was 95.7%, which is very large compared to earlier studies. Owners’ opinions were also asked, and only 9.4% of the owners felt that no improvement was seen. Finally, we wanted to know, whether the effect of Digital Dogsitter® was long lasting, and sent a questionnaire to participants an average of eight months after the first study. Out of 35 participants that responded, 68.7% felt that Digital Dogsitter® did reduce the vocalization either rather well / extremely well, and only 14.3% felt, that no long-lasting effect was noticed. In addition, after eight months the owners also reported significantly less dogs’ destructive behavior compared to the starting situation. Digital Dogsitter® clearly reduces dogs’ vocalization, possibly also alleviating the separation-related stress.
Description: Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Authors
Subject: 413 Veterinary science
Digital application
Digital Dogsitter
Separation-related problem
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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