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A prospective study of two self-help CD based desensitization and counter-conditioning programmes with the use of Dog Appeasing Pheromone for the treatment of firework fears in dogs (Canis familiaris]

Levine, Emily D. and Ramos, Daniela and Mills, Daniel S. (2007) A prospective study of two self-help CD based desensitization and counter-conditioning programmes with the use of Dog Appeasing Pheromone for the treatment of firework fears in dogs (Canis familiaris]. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 105 (4). pp. 311-329. ISSN 0168-1591

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2006.11.006

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

The aims of this study were to evaluate the efficacy of two self-help CD based desensitization and counter-conditioning programmes with the use of Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) for the treatment of firework fears in dogs and to evaluate the training progress and owner compliance. Fifty-four individuals were recruited for an 8-week period of training between August and October 2004. The dogs were separated into two treatment groups, each using a different CD based programme. After implementing the CD programme for the 8-week period without any personalized instruction, two telephone follow-up interviews were completed after periods during which fireworks are commonly used (November and January). Forty-two individuals completed the first 4 weeks of training and 38 completed the 8-week training period. Thirty-six individuals completed the first follow-up interview with 29 completing the second follow-up interview. Assessment of efficacy was measured using both owner reports of its natural response (i.e. the dog's behaviour in the home) and video footage of behaviour in response to a novel recording of the problem sound (i.e. the dog's behaviour in the behaviour clinic) pre- and post-treatment. The majority of change with respect to the dogs' response to the CD occurred during the first month of training with no significant change during the second month of training. With respect to real exposures, there was a significant reported improvement at both follow-up interviews in both the total severity scores and the global fear scores. There was significant improvement in the mean severity score of all individual behaviours at the first follow-up with the exception of "vigilance" behaviour. Inappropriate elimination was the only behaviour to be completely resolved by the second follow-up. No difference was found in the video recordings of fear behaviours occurring in response to a novel CD recording pre-treatment versus post-treatment. Although the CD programmes varied significantly from one another with respect to their format and the details given in their accompanying instruction booklet, there were no differences between total severity scores or global scores at follow-up two between the treatment groups. Eighty-three percent of owners claimed to have read over 90 of the accompanying instruction booklet for their respective CD but only 48 said that the majority of the instructions were clear. Approximately 90 reported they would consider using a CD based desensitization and counter-conditioning programme again if they were to acquire another dog that was scared of fireworks. These results suggest that the use of self-help CD based sound desensitization programmes in combination with DAP can produce a satisfactory result for some owners of dogs with fear of fireworks, but compliance may be a problem for a notable proportion of owners. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords:behavioral response, canid, noise, pheromone, Canis familiaris
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D300 Animal Science
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D328 Animal Welfare
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:9060
Deposited On:05 May 2013 10:11

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