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Dominance in Domestic Dogs: A Quantitative Analysis of Its Behavioural Measures.

van der Borg JA, Schilder MB, Vinke CM, de Vries H - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: The associated steepness of 0.79 (p<0.0001) indicated a tolerant dominance style for this dog group.No significant correlations of rank with age or weight were found.Strong co-variation between LoP, high posture, and body tail wag justified the use of dominance as an intervening variable.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Wageningen University Behavioural Ecology Group, Department of Animal Sciences, P.O. Box 338, 6700 AH, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
A dominance hierarchy is an important feature of the social organisation of group living animals. Although formal and/or agonistic dominance has been found in captive wolves and free-ranging dogs, applicability of the dominance concept in domestic dogs is highly debated, and quantitative data are scarce. Therefore, we investigated 7 body postures and 24 behaviours in a group of domestic dogs for their suitability as formal status indicators. The results showed that high posture, displayed in most dyadic relationships, and muzzle bite, displayed exclusively by the highest ranking dogs, qualified best as formal dominance indicators. The best formal submission indicator was body tail wag, covering most relationships, and two low postures, covering two-thirds of the relationships. In addition, both mouth lick, as included in Schenkel's active submission, and pass under head qualified as formal submission indicators but were shown almost exclusively towards the highest ranking dogs. Furthermore, a status assessment based on changes in posture displays, i.e., lowering of posture (LoP) into half-low, low, low-on-back or on-back, was the best status indicator for most relationships as it showed good coverage (91% of the dyads), a nearly linear hierarchy (h' = 0.94, p<0.003) and strong unidirectionality (DCI = 0.97). The associated steepness of 0.79 (p<0.0001) indicated a tolerant dominance style for this dog group. No significant correlations of rank with age or weight were found. Strong co-variation between LoP, high posture, and body tail wag justified the use of dominance as an intervening variable. Our results are in line with previous findings for captive wolves and free-ranging dogs, for formal dominance with strong linearity based on submission but not aggression. They indicate that the ethogram for dogs is best redefined by distinguishing body postures from behavioural activities. A good insight into dominance hierarchies and its indicators will be helpful in properly interpreting dog-dog relationships and diagnosing problem behaviour in dogs.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Steepness of rank order.The normalized David’s scores (NormDS based on Pij) for the LoP matrix plotted against the rank of 10 dogs, ranked from dog W (highest NormDS = rank 1) to dog S (lowest NormDS = rank 10). The steepness of this rank order (i.e. the absolute value of the slope of the fitted line) is 0.79.
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pone.0133978.g001: Steepness of rank order.The normalized David’s scores (NormDS based on Pij) for the LoP matrix plotted against the rank of 10 dogs, ranked from dog W (highest NormDS = rank 1) to dog S (lowest NormDS = rank 10). The steepness of this rank order (i.e. the absolute value of the slope of the fitted line) is 0.79.

Mentions: As LoP qualified best for ordering the dogs into a formal linear hierarchy, we assessed the steepness of this rank order (Fig 1) based on the normalized DS values of the LoP matrix (S1 Appendix). The steepness of the observed matrix is 0.79, which differs significantly (right-tailed P = 0.0001) from the steepness value 0.32 expected under the hypothesis.


Dominance in Domestic Dogs: A Quantitative Analysis of Its Behavioural Measures.

van der Borg JA, Schilder MB, Vinke CM, de Vries H - PLoS ONE (2015)

Steepness of rank order.The normalized David’s scores (NormDS based on Pij) for the LoP matrix plotted against the rank of 10 dogs, ranked from dog W (highest NormDS = rank 1) to dog S (lowest NormDS = rank 10). The steepness of this rank order (i.e. the absolute value of the slope of the fitted line) is 0.79.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4556277&req=5

pone.0133978.g001: Steepness of rank order.The normalized David’s scores (NormDS based on Pij) for the LoP matrix plotted against the rank of 10 dogs, ranked from dog W (highest NormDS = rank 1) to dog S (lowest NormDS = rank 10). The steepness of this rank order (i.e. the absolute value of the slope of the fitted line) is 0.79.
Mentions: As LoP qualified best for ordering the dogs into a formal linear hierarchy, we assessed the steepness of this rank order (Fig 1) based on the normalized DS values of the LoP matrix (S1 Appendix). The steepness of the observed matrix is 0.79, which differs significantly (right-tailed P = 0.0001) from the steepness value 0.32 expected under the hypothesis.

Bottom Line: The associated steepness of 0.79 (p<0.0001) indicated a tolerant dominance style for this dog group.No significant correlations of rank with age or weight were found.Strong co-variation between LoP, high posture, and body tail wag justified the use of dominance as an intervening variable.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Wageningen University Behavioural Ecology Group, Department of Animal Sciences, P.O. Box 338, 6700 AH, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
A dominance hierarchy is an important feature of the social organisation of group living animals. Although formal and/or agonistic dominance has been found in captive wolves and free-ranging dogs, applicability of the dominance concept in domestic dogs is highly debated, and quantitative data are scarce. Therefore, we investigated 7 body postures and 24 behaviours in a group of domestic dogs for their suitability as formal status indicators. The results showed that high posture, displayed in most dyadic relationships, and muzzle bite, displayed exclusively by the highest ranking dogs, qualified best as formal dominance indicators. The best formal submission indicator was body tail wag, covering most relationships, and two low postures, covering two-thirds of the relationships. In addition, both mouth lick, as included in Schenkel's active submission, and pass under head qualified as formal submission indicators but were shown almost exclusively towards the highest ranking dogs. Furthermore, a status assessment based on changes in posture displays, i.e., lowering of posture (LoP) into half-low, low, low-on-back or on-back, was the best status indicator for most relationships as it showed good coverage (91% of the dyads), a nearly linear hierarchy (h' = 0.94, p<0.003) and strong unidirectionality (DCI = 0.97). The associated steepness of 0.79 (p<0.0001) indicated a tolerant dominance style for this dog group. No significant correlations of rank with age or weight were found. Strong co-variation between LoP, high posture, and body tail wag justified the use of dominance as an intervening variable. Our results are in line with previous findings for captive wolves and free-ranging dogs, for formal dominance with strong linearity based on submission but not aggression. They indicate that the ethogram for dogs is best redefined by distinguishing body postures from behavioural activities. A good insight into dominance hierarchies and its indicators will be helpful in properly interpreting dog-dog relationships and diagnosing problem behaviour in dogs.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus