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Title: Kennelled dog welfare : effects of housing and husbandry
Author: Gaines, Samantha A.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3486 485X
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis assesses and compares physiological and behavioural indicators of kennelled dog welfare, and explores their relationships with aspects of housing and husbandry. The use of urinary cortisol to creatinine ratio (C/C) as an indicator of welfare was explored via responses to a psychological stressor, a standardised veterinary examination. The dogs did not respond uniformly to this stressor, but basal C/C levels of long-term kennelled dogs were significantly higher than those of dogs housed in domestic environments, suggesting that elevated levels of C/C are indicative of chronic stress and thus compromised welfare. A study of two military working dog populations revealed that behaviour in kennels differed according to time of day and was also influenced by the presence of an observer. Hence, recording at one time of day or using a single observation technique could lead to incomplete or inaccurate welfare assessment. Surveys of two military working dog populations revealed that the most critical factors for welfare differed between the two populations. However. for both populations, and possibly for kennelled dogs in general, levels of exercise, noise and predictability of routine appeared the most influential for welfare, whilst the relationship between environmental stimulation within the kennel and welfare appeared complex. Duration of exercise and the availability of feeding enrichment were manipulated in populations of military working dogs. An increase in exercise from twenty to sixty minutes appeared to improve welfare, decreasing C/C levels and increasing resting behaviour. Providing long-term feeding enrichment did not measurably change welfare indicators but was a valued resource for the majority of subjects as indicated by their response to its removal. The provision of feeding enrichment had no effect upon perceived working ability. dog-human aggression, or health, and hence is viable in military establishments.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available