Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Poster Session #96
Saturday, May 24, 2014
5:00 PM–7:00 PM
W375a-d (McCormick Place Convention Center)
58. The Treatment of Intra-Specific Dog Aggression With a Negative Reinforcement Package
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
ASHLEY DUNBAR (Fresno State), Amanda N. Adams (Central California Autism Center), Marianne L. Jackson (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: Canine aggression is a serious safety issue, with thousands of dogs being euthanized each year due to untreatable behavior issues. Aggression is often attributed to the dogs genetic makeup but can be treated with behavioral interventions. The current study will use negative reinforcement to shape alternative behaviors for intra-specific aggression in dogs. Results will show that this alternative treatment is safer, faster, and more effective than more traditional methods such as punishment and counter-conditioning.
59. Use of Timeout as Treatment for Canine Aggression: A Pilot Study
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
GINNIE L. HERSHBARGER (Arizona State University), Wendy A. Williams (Central Washington University)
Abstract: Dog aggression is a dangerous problem as 4.7 million people are bitten each year (Gilchrist, Sacks, White, & Kresnow, 2008, Injury Prevention, 14: 296-301). Current strategies for treating aggression include flooding, positive punishment, and systematic desensitization. However, these interventions have limitations and may exacerbate the problem or be ineffective. Therefore, the efficacy of a novel timeout treatment for an aggressive dog was studied. One highly reactive female German shepherd dog was subjected to three independent situations (different people approaching) and placed in timeout contingent on aggressive behavior. Aggression was measured as latency to aggression onset, distance from the stimuli when the aggression began, and duration of the aggressive episode. Results demonstrated that aggression could eventually be reduced towards all three stimuli through application of a contingent timeout. Implications of timeout treatment for aggressive dogs and directions for future research will be discussed.
60. Investigating Interactions Between Shelter Dogs and Potential Adopters: Behavioral and Contextual Predictors of Adoption
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
ALEXANDRA PROTOPOPOVA (University of Florida), Clive Wynne (Arizona State University)
Abstract: The current study evaluated whether any behaviors exhibited by dogs during an out-of-kennel interaction with a potential adopter predicted adoption. In addition, we evaluated whether other predictors such as the morphology of the dog, intention to adopt a dog that day, and location of the interaction influenced adoption. The behavior of shelter dogs in out-of-kennel interactions with potential adopters was observed (n = 250). The vast majority of shelter visitors only requested to interact with a single dog and the average duration of interaction was 8 min. Only two behaviors: ignoring play initiation by (Wald = 5.9, df = 1, P = 0.015) and lying in proximity to (Wald = 4.27, df = 1, P = 0.039) the potential adopter, but no morphological variables, influenced adoption decisions. Intention to adopt a dog that day was the largest predictor of adoption (chi-square = 63.0, df = 1, P < 0.001). Our findings may be used to develop targeted training programs for shelter dogs as well as to provide suggestions for studying adopter decision making in the context of consumer behavior analysis.
61. Maximizing Animal Care by Utilizing Enrichment Preference Assessments: Lions, Tigers, and Cheetahs
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
LANCE MILLER (Chicago Zoological Society - Brookfield Zoo)
Abstract: With the link between reproductive success and animal welfare, providing the highest level of care for animals within a zoological facility requires a focus at the individual level. However, for some institutions enrichment programs are designed at the species or taxon level. For example, many times when an enrichment item is approved for lions, it will also be approved for cheetahs, tigers and jaguars. The current study examined the use of methods to determine enrichment preferences for three different species of felid. This included examining the same objects and scents for lions, tigers and cheetahs. Trials were short in duration to demonstrate the applicability of using such methods on a regular basis. Results highlight the importance of designing enrichment programs based on the natural history of the animal while considering individuals within the species. Methods used for the current study could be applied at other institutions and with other species to ensure the highest levels of care for the animals within zoological facilities.
62. Functional Analysis of Resource Guarding in Dogs in Home Settings
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
BRANDON PEREZ (University of Florida), Lindsay Mehrkam (University of Florida), Nicole R. Dorey (University of Florida)
Abstract: Resource guarding developed as an evolutionary adaptation for dogs. The problem arises in home settings, however, because of the potential harm associated with this behavior. The purpose of our study was to extend the use of functional analysis methodology to human-directed resource guarding exhibited by dogs in home settings. Resource guarding was operationally defined as any instance of biting, freezing, lunging, barking, or growling directed to a prosthetic hand while a food bowl, high value treat, or toy was present. Each subject underwent four different conditions: control, social positive, social negative, and tangible positive as arranged in a trial-based functional analysis. The frequency of aggressive responses observed within each 30-s interval as well as each condition overall was recorded and analyzed. Interobserver agreement was assessed throughout the observation via videotape and/or live coding. Subjects exhibited the highest levels of resource guarding in the social negative condition. We then compared the relative efficacy of negative reinforcement and positive reinforcement for reducing levels of the target behavior. The results of this study will provide a function-based means of identifying environmental variables maintaining resource guarding in pet dogs.
63. Utilizing Preference Assessments to Eliminate Inappropriate Scratching Behavior in Domestic Cats
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
KAITLYNN GOKEY (Behavior Consultants, Inc.)
Abstract: Millions of cats are abandoned at shelters due to inappropriate scratching each year. Often the first solution is to provide a scratching post as an alternative behavior. However, merely adding a new scratching medium is not always successful. The subjects were three domesticated indoor-only cats that displayed inappropriate scratching. Subjects were given parametric preference assessments regarding scratching post placement, orientation, and material. Low- and High-preference scratching post arrangements were then presented in an ABAB design and inappropriate scratching frequency was measured in each condition. The data strongly indicate that in two of three subjects, utilizing a high-preference arrangement successfully eliminated inappropriate scratching without the need for further training, environmental arrangement, or the use of aversives. Additional environmental modifications in the High-preference condition, in which household items were modified to a less-preferred material, successfully eliminated inappropriate scratching with the third subject. The cost of materials needed to conduct the assessment was significantly less than declawing or nail capping. Preference assessments provide a low-cost, time-efficient method to increase the likelihood of improving scratching behavior. These simple procedures may help in reducing the staggering number of cats put in the shelter system.
64. Success and Failure in Spontaneously Following Different Human-Point Cues by Adult Shelter Dogs
Area: AAB; Domain: Basic Research
ISABELA ZAINE (Universidade Federal de São Carlos/Arizona State University), Camila Domeniconi (Universidade Federal de São Carlos), Clive Wynne (Arizona State University)
Abstract: Prior research has examined the extent of dogs responsiveness to human gestures and the impact of exposure to the human social environment and gestural cues. These studies found shelter dogs were less successful in following human points than pet dogs and did not spontaneously follow difficult momentary distal points (Udell et al, 2010). The present study investigated spontaneous following of human points in a two-choice paradigm in 14 adult shelter dogs that had daily interaction with humans. The cues were momentary distal point (MDP) and dynamic proximal point (DPP). Sessions consisted of 10 test trials of each cue and 10 control trials (no cue). Order of presentation of the point types was counterbalanced across two groups. Thirteen subjects were successful in spontaneously following the DPP (binomial test: p < .0009), but only two did so in the MDP condition. Group performance was only significantly higher than chance on DPP trials (one sample t test: p < 9.4E-12). No order effects of cue-type were found (independent two-sample t tests Group 1: p < .64; Group 2: p < .35). Despite regular interaction with humans, the subjects did not spontaneously accurately follow the MDP, corroborating prior results. It is possible that the presence of the cue in the moment of the choice is an important variable for dogs to be able to adaptively respond to the point.
Keyword(s): poster session



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