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Open AccessArticle

Coexistence of Diversified Dog Socialities and Territorialities in the City of Concepción, Chile

by Hugo Capellà Miternique 1,*,† and Florence Gaunet 2,*,†
1
Geography Department, University of the Balearic Islands, 07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain
2
Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive, Fédération 3C, Aix-Marseille University-CNRS, 13331 Marseille, France
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Animals 2020, 10(2), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020298 (registering DOI)
Received: 4 December 2019 / Revised: 6 February 2020 / Accepted: 10 February 2020 / Published: 13 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
Stray dogs are a common sight in cities all over the world, especially in Latin America, but research on their behavior is scarce. Studying their very considerable presence in Concepción (Chile) provided a unique opportunity to learn more about the extent of the sociality and territoriality patterns of the dog species. Interestingly, a wide range of socialities with humans (and with other dogs) were shown to be dependent on human activities and urban zoning signaled by passages, physical boundaries and landmarks. New forms of sociality were also evidenced, with dogs exhibiting intermediate degrees of sociality between the pet and stray dog categories. We postulate that this unique diversity of sociospatial positioning and level of adjustment (e.g., dogs using crosswalks either alone or with people) is made possible by the city’s specific human culture and range of urban areas. The dog species thus exhibits a considerable potential for social and spatial adjustment. The fact that it depends on the spatial layout and human culture of their environment explains the presence of dogs wherever humans are. Furthermore, it has implications for coping with the presence of dogs in numerous and varied human societies.
There has been scant research on the presence of stray dogs in cities. Studying their very considerable presence in Concepción (Chile) provided a unique opportunity to learn more about the different patterns of sociality and territoriality exhibited by the dog species. Via a set of case studies, we examined the behavior of urban dogs, adopting an ethnographic methodology. This yielded findings of the dogs’ cognitive, social and spatial adjustment abilities, i.e., their territorialities. Our hypothesis was validated: We found numerous types of sociability, we confirmed the presence of two previously established categories: family dogs (pets, guard dogs and beggars’ dogs) and stray dogs (dogs almost entirely unused to humans, aggressive dogs at the far end of the campus and feral dogs in the woods). We also identified three new ones: familiar stray dogs in packs (dogs both spatially and socially close to humans), pet-stray dogs (i.e., village dogs interacting closely with people) and free-roaming pet dogs. We conclude that an ongoing two-way bond between humans and animals allowed these dogs to became part of a city’s urban identity and explains the stray dogs’ plasticity in terms of adapting to the diversified urban habitat. We postulate that it was the human culture and range of urban areas in Concepción that gave rise to this unique diversity of sociospatial positioning and level of adjustment (e.g., dogs crossing crosswalks). View Full-Text
Keywords: stray dog; pet dog; city; sociality; territoriality; adaptation; behavior; cognition; social; spatial; geography stray dog; pet dog; city; sociality; territoriality; adaptation; behavior; cognition; social; spatial; geography
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Capellà Miternique, H.; Gaunet, F. Coexistence of Diversified Dog Socialities and Territorialities in the City of Concepción, Chile. Animals 2020, 10, 298.

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