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Svensson, Jennichen, 2010. Investigating the bond between research dogs and a familiar person and validation of the Ainsworth's Strange Situation Procedure (ASSP). First cycle, G2E. Skara: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health



In the dog-human relationship humans are the ones who provide the dog with safety and comfort. Ainsworth's Strange Situation Procedure (ASSP), which was originally developed in humans to study the relationship between mothers and infants, has been modified to investigate the emotional bond research dogs have to a familiar person. Twelve research dogs were tested to investigate whether the dogs performed any behaviours indicating a secure-base effect, such as more exploration and play in the presence of a familiar person and proximity-seeking behaviours when this person is or has been absent. In the ASSP the dog enters a room with a familiar person, is introduced to a stranger, is left alone for a short period of time and experiences moments of separation and reunion. A second variation of the ASSP was added where the familiar person was replaced by another, to the dog, unfamiliar person. This application of a second treatment has not previously been used and was done to evaluate the test itself. All dogs were tested twice, once in every treatment which both composed of six 3-minute episodes. The results reveal that research dogs show signs of attachment to a familiar person which is recognizable in for instance exploration, play and proximity seeking behavior in different phases of ASSP. The dogs explored and played more when in the company of the familiar person compared to when with a stranger and showed signs of proximity-seeking behaviours when the familiar person was or had been absent. The way that the dogs behaved, support the attachment theory of a secure-base effect and our results, therefore, strongly suggest that ASSP is an appropriate test to use in respect of dogs attachment to humans.

Main title:Investigating the bond between research dogs and a familiar person and validation of the Ainsworth's Strange Situation Procedure (ASSP)
Authors:Svensson, Jennichen
Supervisor:Rehn, Therese and Keeling, Linda
Examiner:Blokhuis, Harry
Series:Studentarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Volume/Sequential designation:322
Year of Publication:2010
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK002 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme 180 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Keywords:Attachment, Dog, Strange situation, Ainsworth
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal ecology
Animal husbandry
Deposited On:08 Jul 2010 08:33
Metadata Last Modified:20 Apr 2012 14:14

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