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Influence of the Competition Context on Arousal in Agility Dogs

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jonathan Guy, Dr Matthew Leach



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Routledge, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


© 2020, © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. To determine whether participation in dog agility has an impact on canine arousal and welfare, this study aimed firstly to identify the effect of the competition context on arousal changes experienced by dogs, as distinct from purely physical participation in agility, and secondly to assess the handlers’ ability to recognize this. Behaviors indicative of changes in arousal were recorded for twenty dogs immediately before completion of both a competition and a training run, whilst the accuracy of handlers’ observations of their dogs’ behavior was examined via questionnaire. Whilst a moderate number of behaviors presented with greater frequency or duration in competition, the total number of different arousal behaviors performed was higher for dogs in competition (p < 0.01). Context had a relatively modest effect on the level of arousal of agility dogs, with a greater number of behaviors indicating increased arousal in competition. Such increased arousal may adversely influence the success of dog-handler partnerships in competition. In both contexts, handlers observed fewer behaviors than their dogs performed and this finding may have implications for dog welfare.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Carpenter AM, Guy JH, Leach MC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science

Year: 2020

Volume: 23

Issue: 4

Pages: 410-423

Online publication date: 03/01/2020

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

Date deposited: 03/04/2020

ISSN (print): 1088-8705

ISSN (electronic): 1532-7604

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2019.1711093

PubMed id: 31899959


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