Selective breeding of domestic dogs has created breeds that have various behavioral characteristics and unique morphologies. However, individual dogs within the same breed still show diversity in behavioral tendencies. Studies have demonstrated that a dog’s personality may be associated with that of the owner. However, most of these studies used a mixed sample of various breeds. Given the potential bias of owners with different personalities to choose different breeds, we should look at this correlation within the same breed. Here we tested whether five personality dimensions (neuroticism, extroversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness) of owners were associated with their dogs’ personality (fearfulness, aggression toward people, activity/excitability, responsiveness to training, and aggression toward animals) in a single breed, Labrador Retrievers. The results showed that dogs’ aggression toward people was negatively associated with owners’ extroversion, and dogs’ responsiveness to training was positively associated with owners’ openness. In contrast, dogs’ fearfulness, activity/excitability, and aggression toward animals were free of the influence of owners’ personality. These results suggested that dogs’ personality is at least partly affected by the owners’ personality.
Both budgerigars and Bengalese finches are small and relatively easy to care for, so they are popular pets in Japan and other countries. These avian species have been also used in laboratory experiments, often for communication studies. Many such studies have used video images of birds to measure behavioral responses in subject birds. Recent studies in budgerigars reported behavioral contagion and imitation using visual instruments (e.g., video images), while no reports have been made in Bengalese finches thus far. Here, we investigated the effects of video playback of other birds’ feeding behavior on food consumption in budgerigars and Bengalese finches. We found that feeding videos of conspecific birds facilitated feeding in budgerigars, but not in Bengalese finches, and that this facilitation was only observed with video images of conspecific birds. Our findings suggest that video images are effective for social facilitation and behavioral contagion in budgerigars but not in Bengalese finches.
From the perspective of animal welfare, positive reinforcement should be used in animal training situations, such as an equestrian event. To assess the reinforcement properties of patting the neck of horses, a simple instrumental conditioning test was administered. Three horses were required to press a button with their nose for a food pellet and patting. ABA reversal design was administered to assess the relative reinforcement properties of patting to food reinforcement; and, the reinforcement schedule for the food reinforcer was gradually changed from the continuous reinforcement (CRF) to a fixed ratio (FR) 5. All subjects consistently showed a low level of response for a patting reinforcer, suggesting that reinforcement effect of neck patting may be trivial, if any.
We tested whether horses (Equus caballus) are sensitive to human attentional states and modify the modality of begging behaviors as a function of human attentional states in a naturalistic food-requesting situation. In Experiment 1, horses tended to produce more auditory or tactile begging behaviors when the human experimenter (E1)’s eyes were covered by her hand than when they were not covered. However, there was no difference in visual begging behaviors between conditions. In Experiment 2, horses produced significantly more auditory or tactile begging behaviors when E1’s eyes were closed than when they were open. In contrast, horses produced significantly more visual begging behaviors when E1’s eyes were open than when they were closed. These results suggest that horses understand the role of eyes as an indicator of human attentional states and show effective and flexible begging behaviors proactively as a function of human attentional states.
We tested whether cats (Felis catus) could recognize human attentional states when begging for food from one of two unfamiliar actors. Cats were tested under three conditions that differed in the actors’ actions: Visual only condition—the actor looking at the cat silently versus facing sideways silently; Visual and Auditory condition—the actor looking at and calling to the cat versus looking at the cat silently; and Auditory only condition—the actor facing down and calling to the cat versus facing down silently. In the Visual and Auditory condition, cats preferred the actor who was calling to them. In the Visual only and the Auditory only conditions, the cats showed no preference for the actors’ attentional states. There was a modest difference in the preference between the Visual and Auditory condition and the Auditory only condition. These results suggest that cats can use vocal cues of attention toward them only in situations in which humans are looking at them.
The present study investigated how budgerigars and humans perceive a version of the Delboeuf illusion. In Experiment 1, we trained 4 budgerigars to discriminate between the sizes of two square targets, one of which was embedded in a concentric square frame. The birds accurately differentiated between the sizes of the targets when the target size disparity was large; however, when this disparity was small, they tended to choose the target embedded in the frame. Experiment 2 used the same stimuli and task as Experiment 1 but the participants were humans; the results suggested that the human participants perceived a normal Delboeuf illusion. Thus, these results indicate the adequacy of our stimuli and the inadequacy of tasks with two choices in comparative studies of the Delboeuf illusion as the simultaneous presentation of the two illusory figure(s) may cause unexpected choice bias.
The unique social behavior of degus (Octodon degus) makes them a suitable animal model for social and emotional studies. Using degu pups, we examined the effects of repetitive short-term isolation on novel object exploratory behavior at 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 weeks of age. Isolated pups were separated from their family 14 times for 30 min a day from 6–23 days post-birth. Non-isolated pups were reared with their families. A two-condition (with-mother or without-mother) object exploration test showed an isolation effect at 3 weeks. Compared with non-isolated pups, isolated pups showed longer start latency under the without-mother condition than under the with-mother condition, and less frequent contact with a novel object even when their mother was present. Non-isolated pups showed more frequent contact with the novel object under the with-mother condition than the without-mother condition. Repetitive maternal separation in early life negatively affected degu novel object exploratory behavior.
To examine if a feature of episodic-like memory reported in rats is shared with other species, we investigated whether degus would form an integrated memory of object (what), place (where), and context (which). We used two E-shaped mazes with different contexts regarding the wall and the floor. Degus were entered into the middle arm and first explored the maze with two trial-unique objects placed at each end of the backbone of the E, with their location reversed between contexts. After being habituated to one of the objects in the holding cage, the degus re-explored the maze. Subjects explored the non-habituated object in these baseline trials. In the critical test, the objects were located at the end of the outer arms of the maze. Degus went into the arm where they expected the non-habituated object significantly more often than the other. This result suggests recollection of an integrated What-Where-Which memory.