2021 Volume 57 Issue 1 Pages 1-11
We investigated the effects of an owner’s body odor on their dog’s behavior while separated. Twelve privately owned, healthy dogs with no history of separation anxiety were included. Four odor stimuli: owner’s sock, dried beef meat, lavender oil, and a control (cotton; no odor) were selected. Each odor stimulus was inserted into a cushion cover and presented to a penned dog for 30 min. The dog was left alone in a room, and the dog’s behavioral responses recorded by video. Investigation of the owner’s sock by dogs was significantly (P < 0.05) longer than lavender oil, which was similar to dried beef meat. Although there was no significant difference with the control, approximately 50% of the dogs spent >twice as much time investigating the owner’s sock than the control, suggesting the dogs showed stronger interest in their owners’ socks. Also, those dogs with a prolonged investigation time with their owner’s socks had a long lying duration around the odor (rs=0.661, P < 0.05), suggesting an attachment behavior toward maintaining proximity to their owner’s sock as a substitute for the presence of their owner. However, suppressive vocalization effects associated with owner separation were not apparent.