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  • 1 Department of Ethology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
  • | 2 Department of Animal Hygiene, Herd-health and Veterinary Ethology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Budapest, Hungary
Open access

Introduction

The aim of this study was to explore spontaneous social interactions between dyads of unfamiliar adult dogs. Although intraspecific encounters are frequent events in the life of pet dogs, the factors that might influence encounters, such as sex, dyad composition, reproductive status, age, and state of cohabitation (keeping the dogs singly or in groups), remained unexplored.

Methods

In this study, we assigned unfamiliar, non-aggressive dogs to three types of dyads defined by sex and size. We observed their unrestrained, spontaneous behaviors in an unfamiliar dog park, where only the two dogs, the owners, and experimenter were present.

Results

We found that the dogs, on average, spent only 17% of the time (less than 1 min) in proximity. Sex, dyad composition, reproductive status, and age influenced different aspects of the interactions in dyads. Female dogs were more likely to initiate the first contact in their dyad but later approached the partner less frequently, were less likely to move apart, and displayed less scent marking. Following and moving apart were more frequent in male–male interactions. Neutered dogs spent more time following the other dog and sniffed other dogs more frequently. The time companion dogs spent in proximity and number of approaches decreased with age.

Conclusion

The study provides guidance for dog owners about the outcomes of intraspecific encounters based on the dog’s age, sex, and reproductive status, as well as the sex of the interacting partner.

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Biologia Futura
Language English
Size A4
Year of
Foundation
2019 (1950)
Volumes
per Year
1
Issues
per Year
4
Founder Magyar Tudományos Akadémia  
Founder's
Address
H-1051 Budapest, Hungary, Széchenyi István tér 9.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
Springer Nature Switzerland AG
Publisher's
Address
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
CH-6330 Cham, Switzerland Gewerbestrasse 11.
Responsible
Publisher
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 2676-8615 (Print)
ISSN 2676-8607 (Online)