More than just a word: non-semantic command variables affect obedience in the domestic dog (Canis familiaris)

Fukuzawa, M. and Mills, Daniel S. and Cooper, Jonathan J. (2005) More than just a word: non-semantic command variables affect obedience in the domestic dog (Canis familiaris). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 91 (1-2). pp. 129-141. ISSN 0168-1591

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2004.08.025

Abstract

Dogs were initially trained to respond reliably to ‘sit’ and ‘come’ commands, when these were issued randomly in a variety of contexts. Then in a first experiment, the posture of the person giving the command, eye contact and the mode of delivery of the command were varied. Performance declined significantly when a tape-recorded version of the command was used and when the eyes of the experimental trainer were obscured with sunglasses when using the tape, but not when the sunglasses were used with the oral command. In a second experiment, the distance and position of the experimental trainer relative to an opaque screen were changed. Performance declined when the experimental trainer stood approximately 2.5 m away and was partially obscured by a screen. Response to the sit but not come command declined when the experimental trainer turned her back on the dog prior to issuing the command at this distance, but not when the experimental trainer subsequently stood behind the screen at this distance. The results suggest that non-verbal features moderate responsiveness to the command, and that this effect may depend partly on the dog's familiarity with the command possibly within a given context and the perceived proximity of the commander from the dog.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Dogs were initially trained to respond reliably to ‘sit’ and ‘come’ commands, when these were issued randomly in a variety of contexts. Then in a first experiment, the posture of the person giving the command, eye contact and the mode of delivery of the command were varied. Performance declined significantly when a tape-recorded version of the command was used and when the eyes of the experimental trainer were obscured with sunglasses when using the tape, but not when the sunglasses were used with the oral command. In a second experiment, the distance and position of the experimental trainer relative to an opaque screen were changed. Performance declined when the experimental trainer stood approximately 2.5 m away and was partially obscured by a screen. Response to the sit but not come command declined when the experimental trainer turned her back on the dog prior to issuing the command at this distance, but not when the experimental trainer subsequently stood behind the screen at this distance. The results suggest that non-verbal features moderate responsiveness to the command, and that this effect may depend partly on the dog's familiarity with the command possibly within a given context and the perceived proximity of the commander from the dog.
Keywords:behaviour, cognition, dog, learning, stimulus generalisation, training
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D421 Livestock Husbandry
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D300 Animal Science
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:511
Deposited By: Bev Jones
Deposited On:22 Jun 2007
Last Modified:16 May 2012 20:57

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