Behavioral issues are given as one of the primary reasons dogs are relinquished to shelters in the U.S. [1
]. The most common behavioral issues are aggression, inappropriate elimination, excessive vocalization, and excitability [4
]. Excitable behavior such as jumping up or leash pulling by the dog can be not only a nuisance but can potentially be dangerous for both the dog and the owner, especially if the dog is large [5
]. In a survey conducted by Blackwell et al.
], jumping up was reported as an undesirable behavior by 78% of owners, and pulling on the leash was reported by 69% of owners. Some dogs may pull against pressure such as that exerted by a collar. The resulting pressure on the neck can damage the larynx or trachea, and also significantly increases intraocular pressures [7
]. Therefore, leash pulling may be not only annoying, but harmful to both humans and dogs. Unpleasant experiences during walks may result in the owner’s unwillingness to take the pet for walks, leading to more behavior problems due to boredom or unexpended energy. Dogs often jump up as a greeting, to play, and/or to get attention [9
]. This behavior can result in the human being scratched or knocked down, especially if the human is young or elderly. Although this is an undesirable behavior, humans recognize the jumping up as a friendly behavior and often unintentionally reinforce it by returning the greeting. Owners using punishments such as yelling or physical correction as training methods reported higher levels of aggression and avoidance in their dogs compared to owners that used non-punishment methods [6
]. It is possible for the dog to incorrectly associate the punishment with the owner rather than with the undesirable behavior. As such, development of a training tool that is disruptive rather than punishing may be more beneficial to overall training. A disruptive stimulus differs from positive punishment in that a disruptive stimulus is an undesirable event that prevents or alters the behavior of animals and allows for a transition to a more desirable behavior [10
]. On the other hand, positive punishment is associated with a stimulus that elicits pain or fear in the animal with the intention of that pain or fear being associated with the particular behavior [12
Pheromones are chemicals that animals use to communicate within a species. Karlson and Luscher [13
] described pheromones as “substances secreted to the outside by an individual and received by a second individual of the same species in which they release a specific reaction”. Recent studies have shown that some chemical cues may be detected between species [14
]. Clearly, volatile molecules and many receptors for these molecules are conserved across mammalian species. McGlone coined the term “interomone” to describe those molecules that are a pheromone in one species, but may elicit a different, often unpredictable effect in another species [15
]. Because pheromones across many species are composed of relatively similar volatile compounds, the interomone may have either a related or completely different effect on the receiving species compared to the sending species.
Androstenone is a sex pheromone secreted in the saliva of boars to promote acceptance of mounting behavior by the female and it also functions to reduce aggression in group-housed swine [16
]. Nobody has yet argued that androstenone is a pheromone in the dog. However, previous work in this laboratory suggests that androstenone does, in fact, have an effect on dog behavior. In spray form, androstenone stopped dogs from barking, suggesting its potential to reduce occurrences of excitable behavior such as jumping up and leash pulling [17
]. The objectives of this study were (1) to determine if androstenone spray reduced leash pulling in dogs using a model of dog walking; and (2) to determine if androstenone spray reduced jumping up behavior in dogs using a model of dog jumping.