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Cortisol levels in hair reflect behavioural reactivity of dogs to acoustic stimuli
- Siniscalchi, M., McFarlane, J.R., Kauter, K.G., Quaranta, A., Rogers, L.J.
- Research in veterinary science 2013 v.94 no.1 pp. 49-54
- acoustics, breathing, cortisol, dogs, posture, temperament
- Cortisol levels in hair samples were examined in fourteen domestic dogs and related to the dogs’ responses to different acoustic stimuli. Stimuli were playbacks of species-typical vocalizations recorded during three different situations (“disturbance”, “isolation” and “play” barks) and the sounds of a thunderstorm. Hair samples were collected at 9:00h and 17:00h two weeks after the behavioural tests. Results showed that behavioural reactivity to playback of the various stimuli correlates with cortisol levels in hair samples collected at 9:00h, and the same was the case for the separate measures of behaviour (i.e. hiding, running away, seeking attention from the tester, panting and lowering of the body posture). Hence, levels of cortisol in hair appear to reflect the dog’s chronic state of emotional reactivity, or temperament.