A Journal Review - A PPG Membership Benefit
with Stefanie Riemer PhD.
Join us for this 60 minute session where we will review this paper with Stefanie Riemer PhD . When you register you will receive a link to download the full paper
Noise fears represent a highly prevalent welfare problem in dogs. An online survey was performed to explore severity and progression of firework fears in dogs, and relationships with demographics, health, behaviour problems and owners’ training efforts to prevent or alleviate firework fears. Fifty-two percent of dogs in the sample (N = 1225) were at least partially affected by firework fears, and the majority developed a fear of fireworks in the first year of life, with a decreasing frequency of new occurrences up until seven years, and only few newly affected dogs beyond this age. While almost three-quarters of fearful dogs had recovered by the next morning following firework exposure, recovery took up to one day in 10%, up to one week in 12%, and several weeks or even months in >3%. Univariate analyses indicated a significant effect of breed group, age, sex, neuter status, origin and age at acquisition on severity of firework fears in dogs. However, binomial models including multiple predictors of presence/ absence of firework fears identified only age, breed group (mixed breeds being most affected), health problems, and an interaction between health problems and age as significant predictors. This discrepancy might be explained by collinearities of predictors and underlying differences between mixed-breed dogs and purebreds, such as mixed breeds being acquired from shelters more often and being neutered more often. Firework fears are highly correlated with fears of gunshots and thunder, and to a low extent with fears of other noises, but not with any other behavioural problems. Both improvement and deterioration of firework fears were frequently reported. While an early age of onset and breed differences point to a strong genetic contribution to firework fears, the data indicate that training puppies or non-fearful adults to associate the noise with positive stimuli is highly effective in preventing later development of firework fears
About Stefanie Riemer PhD.
PD Dr. Stefanie Riemer is a behavioural biologist and dog behaviour consultant in Vienna, Austria. During her PhD at the University of Vienna, she investigated personality development in pet dogs. Subsequently, she was involved in several research projects at the University of Lincoln (UK), where she explored impulsivity and reward responsiveness in dogs. From 2016 to 2022 she headed the Companion Animal Behaviour Group at the Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern (Switzerland), where her research focused on emotional expression in dogs, puppy socialisation, noise fears, the mitigation of fear at the vets, and the phenomenon of ‘ball junkies’ and possible parallels with behavioural addictions in humans.
Besides publishing over 30 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, it has always been important to Stefanie to create a link between science and practice. She does this in seminars for dog trainers and behaviourists, dog owners and veterinarians. Her seminar topics include personality in dogs, the interplay of genes and environment, optimal puppy raising practices, emotions in dogs, or more specifically, understanding fear from a neurobiological perspective and interventions to help fearful dogs.
www.hundeuni.info, www.facebook.com/hundeunibern, www.instagram.com/hundeunibern, www.twitter.com/RiemerStefanie
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