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Factors Determining The Effects Of Human Interaction On The Cortisol Levels Of Shelter Dogs, Regina M. Willen Jan 2015

Factors Determining The Effects Of Human Interaction On The Cortisol Levels Of Shelter Dogs, Regina M. Willen

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Dogs admitted to animal shelters experience psychological stressors resulting in elevated plasma cortisol. We previously found 30 min of human interaction reduced this response. The present study further characterized this effect, with the aim of developing a practical means of reducing stress of shelter dogs. We found that a second day of 30 min of petting reduced cortisol levels as effectively as the first. Further, 15 min of this interaction was as effective as 30 min. During petting, signs of excitation (vocalizations) and anxiety (panting) as well as escaped attempts were reduced, and social solicitation (tail-wagging) increased. However, cortisol levels ...