Behavioural responses of Canis familiaris to different tail lengths of a remotely-controlled life-size dog replica S.D.A. Leaver & T.E. Reimchen 1) (Department of Biology, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 3020, Victoria, B.C., Canada V8W 3N5) (Accepted: 2 November 2007) Summary The tail of dogs and allies (Canidae) is important for intraspecific communication. We used a life-sized dog model and varied the tail length and motion as an experimental method of examining effects of tail-docking on intraspecific signaling in domestic dogs, Canis famil- iaris . We videotaped interactions of 492 off-leash dogs and quantified size and behaviour of approaching dogs to the model’s four tail conditions (short/still, short/wagging, long/still, long/wagging). Larger dogs were less cautious and more likely to approach a long/wagging tail rather than a long/still tail, but did not differ in their approach to a short/still and a short/wagging tail. Using discriminant analyses of behavioural variables, dogs responded with an elevated head and tail to a long/wagging tail model relative to the long/still tail model, but did not show any differences in response to tail motion when the model’s tail was short. Our study provides evidence that a longer tail is more effective at conveying different in-
Behaviour – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2008
Keywords: DOG BEHAVIOUR; ROBOTIC MODEL; TAIL-DOCKING; CANIDAE; INTRASPECIFIC COMMUNICATION
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