Appeasement signals are behavioural patterns displaying an animal's non-aggressive attitude and are hypothesized to reduce the aggressive behaviours in the receiver. In domestic dogs, specific displacement behaviours (i.e., behavioural patterns exhibited without an apparent function related to the ongoing situation), have been suggested to function as appeasement signals. To test this possibility, we assessed whether the occurrence of these behaviours was dependent on a social conflict context, predicting that, if displacement behaviours also function as appeasement signals, they should be more prevalent in a conflict vs. non-conflict context. Fifty-three dogs were exposed to two unfamiliar humans approaching them in either a mildly threatening or neutral way. We categorized the attitude of the dogs towards the strangers as "reactive", i.e., barking and lunging towards the stimulus, and "non-reactive", i.e., remaining passive in front of the stimuli. We coded dogs' displacement activities and modelled their duration or frequency as a function of the interaction between the test condition and the attitude of the dog. Displacement behaviours of "blinking", "nose licking" and "lip wiping" were associated with a "non-reactive" attitude, independently from the test condition, confirming an association with a non-aggressive intention. "Head turning" was associated with a "non-reactive" attitude in the threatening condition. In conclusion, dogs with a non-aggressive attitude exhibited more putative appeasement signals; however, these were not strictly associated with a conflict-ridden situation, calling for further investigation of their function.

Appeasement function of displacement behaviours? Dogs' behavioural displays exhibited towards threatening and neutral humans / Pedretti, Giulia; Canori, Chiara; Biffi, Eleonora; Marshall-Pescini, Sarah; Valsecchi, Paola. - In: ANIMAL COGNITION. - ISSN 1435-9448. - 26:3(2023), pp. 943-952. [10.1007/s10071-023-01742-9]

Appeasement function of displacement behaviours? Dogs' behavioural displays exhibited towards threatening and neutral humans

Pedretti, Giulia
;
Canori, Chiara;Valsecchi, Paola
2023-01-01

Abstract

Appeasement signals are behavioural patterns displaying an animal's non-aggressive attitude and are hypothesized to reduce the aggressive behaviours in the receiver. In domestic dogs, specific displacement behaviours (i.e., behavioural patterns exhibited without an apparent function related to the ongoing situation), have been suggested to function as appeasement signals. To test this possibility, we assessed whether the occurrence of these behaviours was dependent on a social conflict context, predicting that, if displacement behaviours also function as appeasement signals, they should be more prevalent in a conflict vs. non-conflict context. Fifty-three dogs were exposed to two unfamiliar humans approaching them in either a mildly threatening or neutral way. We categorized the attitude of the dogs towards the strangers as "reactive", i.e., barking and lunging towards the stimulus, and "non-reactive", i.e., remaining passive in front of the stimuli. We coded dogs' displacement activities and modelled their duration or frequency as a function of the interaction between the test condition and the attitude of the dog. Displacement behaviours of "blinking", "nose licking" and "lip wiping" were associated with a "non-reactive" attitude, independently from the test condition, confirming an association with a non-aggressive intention. "Head turning" was associated with a "non-reactive" attitude in the threatening condition. In conclusion, dogs with a non-aggressive attitude exhibited more putative appeasement signals; however, these were not strictly associated with a conflict-ridden situation, calling for further investigation of their function.
2023
Appeasement function of displacement behaviours? Dogs' behavioural displays exhibited towards threatening and neutral humans / Pedretti, Giulia; Canori, Chiara; Biffi, Eleonora; Marshall-Pescini, Sarah; Valsecchi, Paola. - In: ANIMAL COGNITION. - ISSN 1435-9448. - 26:3(2023), pp. 943-952. [10.1007/s10071-023-01742-9]
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11381/2945171
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 7
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 6
social impact