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Article

Who Is Pulling the Leash? Effects of Human Gender and Dog Sex on Human–Dog Dyads When Walking On-Leash

1
Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics, University of Queensland, White House Building (8134), Gatton Campus, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia
2
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4076, Australia
3
School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
4
School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1894; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101894
Received: 17 August 2020 / Revised: 12 October 2020 / Accepted: 14 October 2020 / Published: 16 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human-Animal Communication)
The gender of humans and the sex of dogs influence human–dog interactions. This study investigated human–dog interactions when volunteers take shelter dogs for an on-leash walk, using video recording and a canine leash tension meter. Male dogs tended to pull more frequently and created higher leash tensions than female dogs. Dogs displayed more stress related behaviours when interacting with men than women, with the signs including spending less time holding the tail in a high position, and more frequent gazing and lip-licking behaviours. Finally, during the walk, there was a greater pre-disposition in women to use verbal commands and language typically associated with talking to babies, while men were more inclined to have physical contact with the dogs. These results may be used to match shelter dogs with appropriate men and women volunteers for dog walking exercise, and to improve potential socialisation of the dogs before rehoming.
Previous studies have indicated that human gender and canine sex influences human–dog interactions. However, the majority of studies have considered the interaction when dogs were off-leash and the behavioural interactions when dogs are walked on a leash have not been addressed. This study investigated human–dog interactions when shelter volunteers take shelter dogs for an on-leash walk. Video records were made of 370 walks, involving 74 volunteers and 111 shelter dogs, and a leash tension meter was used to determine the pull strength of dogs and walkers. Human gender and canine sex had dyadic effects during the walk. Male dogs tended to pull more frequently and created increased leash tensions. Dogs displayed more stress related behaviours when interacting with men than women, with the signs being spending less time holding the tail in the high position, and more frequent gazing and lip-licking behaviours. Finally, there was a greater pre-disposition in women to use verbal commands, and language typically used with babies, while men were more inclined to have physical contact with dogs. This study’s results may be used to match shelter dogs with appropriate men and women volunteers for walking exercise of the dog, and to improve potential dog socialisation efforts by shelters. View Full-Text
Keywords: gender; sex; on-leash walk; leash tension; behaviour; verbal cue; body gesture; human–dog interaction; shelter gender; sex; on-leash walk; leash tension; behaviour; verbal cue; body gesture; human–dog interaction; shelter
MDPI and ACS Style

Shih, H.-Y.; Paterson, M.B.A.; Georgiou, F.; Pachana, N.A.; Phillips, C.J.C. Who Is Pulling the Leash? Effects of Human Gender and Dog Sex on Human–Dog Dyads When Walking On-Leash. Animals 2020, 10, 1894. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101894

AMA Style

Shih H-Y, Paterson MBA, Georgiou F, Pachana NA, Phillips CJC. Who Is Pulling the Leash? Effects of Human Gender and Dog Sex on Human–Dog Dyads When Walking On-Leash. Animals. 2020; 10(10):1894. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101894

Chicago/Turabian Style

Shih, Hao-Yu, Mandy B. A. Paterson, Fillipe Georgiou, Nancy A. Pachana, and Clive J. C. Phillips. 2020. "Who Is Pulling the Leash? Effects of Human Gender and Dog Sex on Human–Dog Dyads When Walking On-Leash" Animals 10, no. 10: 1894. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101894

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