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Löfström, Jenny, 2012. Social kontakt för hund i rastgård – när kan kraven anses uppfyllda?. First cycle, G2E. Skara: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health

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Abstract

People in Sweden have more and more dogs in their care, and several of these dogs are kept in kennels in back yards for various reasons. According to Swedish animal welfare legislations the need for social contact for dogs has to be met. However, there are few details presented on how to meet the need and when it can be considered satisfied. Does the dog need human contact to fulfill the need, or is the company of other dogs enough? This study aims to specify what can be acceptable when it comes to fulfilling dogs’ social needs in accordance with the Swedish animal welfare legislation.

It is well known that dogs are social animals that have a great need for social contact. Dogs kept in social isolation often show signs of distress such as excessive barking, repetitive movement, excitement and aggression. Keeping dogs together in groups or pairs has been shown to improve welfare and reduce the occurrence of abnormal behaviors.

Humans also seem to be of great importance to satisfy dogs’ social needs. The special relationship between dogs and humans has evolved over thousands of years and can be compared with that of a parent and child. It is a unique relationship among domesticated species. Studies show that dogs are more active and display more playful behavior in the presence of humans. Further studies show that dogs that are kept inside the house show less abnormal behaviors and are generally more obedient than those kept in outdoor kennels. I therefore conclude that dogs in kennels benefit from social contact with both humans and other dogs. However, it is hard to know the exact amount of social contact that is required to satisfy the need and putting a time limit on it has been proven to be difficult.

Part two of this study presents general guidelines on how authorities can interpret the rules on the subject to better control situations where there is a risk that dogs suffer due to limited social contact. These guidelines aim to provide authorities with general information about dogs’ social needs based on scientific research. However, an individual assessment in each case is necessary.

A change in the Swedish animal welfare legislation is suggested to help animal welfare inspectors in their work to assess whether the need for social contact is met. It is also suggested that a change is made so that the need of human contact is better regulated.

Main title:Social kontakt för hund i rastgård – när kan kraven anses uppfyllda?
Authors:Löfström, Jenny
Supervisor:Gunnarsson, Stefan
Examiner:Loberg, Johan
Series:Studentarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Volume/Sequential designation:439
Year of Publication:2012
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK002 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme 180 HEC
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Keywords:hund, social kontakt, socialt behov, rastgård
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-1827
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-1827
Subjects:Animal ecology
Animal physiology - Growth and development
Language:Swedish
Deposited On:31 Oct 2012 08:46
Metadata Last Modified:31 Oct 2012 08:46

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