Behavioral and Glucocorticoid Responses of Adult Domestic Dogs (Canis familiaris) to Companionship and Social Separation

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Removal of 1 member of a long-standing pair of adult domestic dog (Canis familiaris) kennel mates from the home run for 4 hr had no effect on the behavior or plasma glucocorticoid levels of the remaining dog. When tested in a novel environment, dogs showed increased activity and elevated glucocorticoid levels at the end of the session, but these responses were as large when the dogs were with their kennel mates as when they were alone. However, activity and glucocorticoid levels were not elevated if the dogs were exposed to the novel environment in the presence of their human caretaker. Dogs more often were observed in proximity with, and soliciting social behavior from, the human than the kennel mate. These results highlight the importance of human companionship for the domestic dog and point to a difference in the nature of the social relationships of dogs with humans and with conspecifics.



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