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Article

Behavioural Evaluation of a Leash Tension Meter Which Measures Pull Direction and Force during Human–Dog On-Leash Walks

1
Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics, University of Queensland, White House Building (8134), Gatton Campus, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia
2
School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
3
RobacScience Ltd., Wentworth Falls, NSW 2782, Australia
4
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4076, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(8), 1382; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081382
Received: 7 July 2020 / Revised: 6 August 2020 / Accepted: 6 August 2020 / Published: 10 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Companion Animal Cognition, Communication, and Behavior)
A tense leash when walking a dog is a critical animal welfare issue as it potentially causes damage to a dog’s neck and eyes. This article introduces an innovative canine leash tension meter, for dogs walked on-leash, considering effects of dog age, size–weight, and dogs’ behaviour during walks, to validate the meter. It is confirmed that this device is a robust and valid approach in exploring interactions between dogs and humans when walking on a leash, by real-time measuring the leash tension and differentiating who, dog or human, is pulling the leash.
Leash tension forces exerted by dog and handler during walks affect their welfare. We developed a novel ambulatory measurement device using a load cell and a tri-axial accelerometer to record both the tension and direction of forces exerted on the leashes. Data were relayed telemetrically to a laptop for real time viewing and recording. Larger and heavier dogs exerted higher leash tension but had a lower pulling frequency than their smaller and lighter conspecifics. This pattern was observed in the reactional forces of handlers. Young dogs pulled more frequently during walks, which was also mirrored in handlers’ pulling. Well-behaved dogs created lower leash tension, but handlers did not respond with lower forces. This novel method of recording leash tension will facilitate real-time monitoring of the behaviour of dogs and their handlers during walks. View Full-Text
Keywords: dog; leash; tension; human–dog interaction; shelter dog; leash; tension; human–dog interaction; shelter
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MDPI and ACS Style

Shih, H.-Y.; Georgiou, F.; Curtis, R.A.; Paterson, M.B.A.; Phillips, C.J.C. Behavioural Evaluation of a Leash Tension Meter Which Measures Pull Direction and Force during Human–Dog On-Leash Walks. Animals 2020, 10, 1382. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081382

AMA Style

Shih H-Y, Georgiou F, Curtis RA, Paterson MBA, Phillips CJC. Behavioural Evaluation of a Leash Tension Meter Which Measures Pull Direction and Force during Human–Dog On-Leash Walks. Animals. 2020; 10(8):1382. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081382

Chicago/Turabian Style

Shih, Hao-Yu, Fillipe Georgiou, Robert A. Curtis, Mandy B.A. Paterson, and Clive J.C. Phillips 2020. "Behavioural Evaluation of a Leash Tension Meter Which Measures Pull Direction and Force during Human–Dog On-Leash Walks" Animals 10, no. 8: 1382. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081382

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