The nature of noise fear in domestic dogs

Iimura, Kumiko (2006) The nature of noise fear in domestic dogs. Masters thesis, University of Lincoln.

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Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Item Status:Live Archive


Noise fear is widely recognised as one of the most common behaviour problems in domestic dogs. Managing noise fear poses several challenges. However, little is known about the aetiology of this problem. This study aimed to progress on understanding of the causes of canine noise fear problems, which might contribute to future treatment research.
In this thesis, a web-based survey was employed to investigate the aetiology of canine noise fear. First, in the study of risk-factors within the world population (N=3516), the presence of other dogs in the house, age of the dog, source, breed, country of residence and sex of the dog were found to be demographic risk factors. Significant risk factors regarding development were a previous traumatic experience associated with loud noises and a lack of exposure to engines. Most of these risk factors were also found in the UK and USA subpopulations, suggesting the risk factors above appear to be general regardless of country.
Although a previous traumatic experience was found to be one of the risk factors in canine noise fear, more than half of the owners of a dog with noise fear (60%) did not report that their dog had previously had a traumatic experience associated with loud noises before fear developed. This suggested other processes of development of noise fear in the absence of traumatic association, as is suggested in human literature (i.e. social transmission of fear from other fearful animals, a lack of habituation, sensitisation and stress-induced dishabituation). This study did not find evidence to support social transmission of human fear, but evidence of varying strength was found for the other processes. The analysis of sensitisation and acute onset process suggested that different mechanisms of development might lead to different behavioural responses to the same stimulus in dogs, i.e. sensitisation may tend to lead to anxiety of loud noises whereas acute onset may tend to lead to more overt fear of loud noises.
Finally, the relationship between the development of noise fear and treatment success was investigated. The analysis of stimulus flooding showed a moderately significant association between sensitisation and treatment success. Further examination is necessary of the relationship between the aetiology and the outcome of treatment of noise fear.

Keywords:Noise fear, Dogs, Animal behaviour
Subjects: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:4513
Deposited On:03 Jun 2011 11:04

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