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Animals 2014, 4(1), 45-58; doi:10.3390/ani4010045
Article

Dogs’ Body Language Relevant to Learning Achievement

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Received: 7 November 2013; in revised form: 10 February 2014 / Accepted: 10 February 2014 / Published: 27 February 2014
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Simple Summary: For humans and dogs to live together amiably, dog training is required, and a lack of obedience training is significantly related to the prevalence of certain behavioral problems. To train efficiently, it is important that the trainer/owner ascertains the learning level of the dog. Understanding the dog’s body language helps humans understand the animal’s emotions. This study evaluated the posture of certain dog body parts during operant conditioning. Our findings suggest that certain postures were related to the dog’s learning level during operant conditioning. Being aware of these postures could be helpful to understand canine emotion during learning.
Abstract: The facial expressions and body postures of dogs can give helpful information about their moods and emotional states. People can more effectively obedience train their dogs if we can identify the mannerisms associated with learning in dogs. The aim of this study was to clarify the dog’s body language during operant conditioning to predict achievement in the test that followed by measuring the duration of behaviors. Forty-six untrained dogs (17 males and 26 females) of various breeds were used. Each session consisted of 5 minutes of training with a treat reward followed by 3 minutes of rest and finally an operant conditioning test that consisted of 20 “hand motion” cues. The operant tests were conducted a total of nine times over three consecutive days, and the success numbers were counted. The duration of the dog’s behavior, focusing on the dog’s eyes, mouth, ears, tail and tail-wagging, was recorded during the operant conditioning sessions before the test. Particular behaviors, including wide-eyes, closed mouth, erect ears, and forward and high tail carriage, without wagging or with short and quick wagging, related to high achievement results. It is concluded that dogs' body language during operant conditioning was related to their success rate.
Keywords: body language; Canis familiaris; learning; operant conditioning; training body language; Canis familiaris; learning; operant conditioning; training
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hasegawa, M.; Ohtani, N.; Ohta, M. Dogs’ Body Language Relevant to Learning Achievement. Animals 2014, 4, 45-58.

AMA Style

Hasegawa M, Ohtani N, Ohta M. Dogs’ Body Language Relevant to Learning Achievement. Animals. 2014; 4(1):45-58.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hasegawa, Masashi; Ohtani, Nobuyo; Ohta, Mitsuaki. 2014. "Dogs’ Body Language Relevant to Learning Achievement." Animals 4, no. 1: 45-58.

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