Effects of anxiety on canine movement in dog-robot interactions

Anna Zamansky, Stephane Bleuer-Elsner, Sylvia Masson, Shir Amir, Ofer Magen, Dirk van der Linden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Canine behavioral disorders, such as various forms of fear and anxiety, are a major threat for the well-being of dogs and their owners. They are also the main cause for dog abandonment and relinquishment to shelters. Timely diagnosis and treatment of such problems is a complex task, requiring extensive behavioral expertise. Accurate classification of pathological behavior requires information on the dog's reactions to environmental stimuli. Such information is typically self-reported by the animal's owner, posing a threat to its accuracy and correctness. Simple robots have been used in literature as controllable stimuli for evoking particular canine behaviors, leading to the increasing interest in dog-robot interactions (DRIs). We explore the use of DRIs as a tool for the assessment of canine behavioral disorders. More concretely, we ask in what ways disorders such as anxiety may be reflected in the way dogs interact with a robot. To this end, we performed an exploratory study, recording DRIs for a group of 20 dogs, consisting of 10 dogs diagnosed by a behavioral expert veterinarian with deprivation syndrome, a form of phobia/anxiety caused by inadequate development conditions, and 10 healthy control dogs. Pathological dogs moved significantly less than the control group during these interactions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnimal Behavior and Cognition
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Aug 2018


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