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Preliminary Investigation of Food Guarding Behavior in Shelter Dogs in the United States
AbstractA survey given to animal shelters across the US reported food bowl guarding as one of the most common reasons for euthanasia and only 34% attempted to modify this guarding behavior. This study identified 96 dogs that guarded their food bowl during an assessment, and then placed them into a home on a modification program. Food guarding behavior was identified as stiffening, gulping, growling, freezing, and/or biting a fake hand during the SAFER® food bowl assessment. Dogs that exhibited guarding behavior over toys were excluded. Follow-up was done at 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months post adoption to measure all guarding behavior in the home. Six adopters reported at least one incident involving guarding in the first three weeks, of which only one was around the food bowl. By three months, those adopters reported no guarding behavior except one new occurrence of a dog guarding a rawhide was reported in the third month. For dog identified with food guarding, the return rate to the shelter was 5% and 9% for adult dogs not identified with guarding behavior. Adopters did not comply with at least one aspect of the program, so it is unclear why so little guarding was reported. The key finding is that dogs that guarded their food bowl in the shelter were not guarding their food in their new homes.
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Mohan-Gibbons, H.; Weiss, E.; Slater, M. Preliminary Investigation of Food Guarding Behavior in Shelter Dogs in the United States. Animals 2012, 2, 331-346.View more citation formats
Mohan-Gibbons H, Weiss E, Slater M. Preliminary Investigation of Food Guarding Behavior in Shelter Dogs in the United States. Animals. 2012; 2(3):331-346.Chicago/Turabian Style
Mohan-Gibbons, Heather; Weiss, Emily; Slater, Margaret. 2012. "Preliminary Investigation of Food Guarding Behavior in Shelter Dogs in the United States." Animals 2, no. 3: 331-346.