05-17-2012, 09:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Small Town, Southern Sask
Mentioned: 109 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Apologies if this has been posted before, but I found this interesting article related to calming signals and thought I'd share. Mind the Muzzle: Using Facial Expression as a Correlate of Stress Level in Domestic Canines
Originally Posted by Abstract
The domestic dog is a ubiquitous species having frequent encounters with humans; in the U.S. over 4 million of these result in a dog bite. These injuries might be reduced by improving human-canine communication. Canine responses to alterations of human facial expressions were recorded. The dogs’ responses to the presence of a human experimenter were subsequently analyzed against survey data collected by the shelter on the individual animals (time in shelter, age, sex, reason surrendered). Staring at a dog induced more arousal than other human facial expressions (i.e., Averting Eyes, Grinning, or Yawning). Dogs in the shelter the longest looked towards a human the least compared to dogs there 3-6 weeks. Strays and dogs surrendered because the owners did not want them Tongue Flicked, a behavior associated with stress, more than dogs surrendered by owners that could not keep them. Dogs with high tail heights demonstrated Mouth Open, a behavior associated with relaxation, the most, while low tail height dogs displayed this characteristic the least and medium tail height dogs fell in-between. Identifying these and other variables associated with signs of stress in dogs could allow for reduction of aggressive encounters.
I find that the tongue-flicking behavior being more common in strays and do not wants interesting. Of course, this could have something to do with lesser familiarity/interactions with humans as a whole.