The Thai Journal of Veterinary Medicine


The aim of thisstudy was to investigate the reactions of stray dogs in temples to strangers by means of a stranger-approach test.Behavioral data of temples dogs was collected from 5 temples from September to November 2018. The dogs’ behavior, social condition (alone, in pairs and with >3 dogs), reaction distances (0-2m, 2-5m and >5) and reaction behavior: neutral, avoidance, aggressive, vocalization, approachand tail movements were all observed. All the reaction behavior recorded was the dogs’initial reactions.After the 1ststranger-approach test, which was conducted in the 1stweek, the observer tried to get the dogs used to him by feeding and grooming them once per week for 3 weeks. Then the 2ndstranger-approach test was conducted in the 4thweek.The resultsshowed that40 dogs were observed in the 1stweek’s observation and 43 dogs in the 4thweek’s observation. More than 60% of the dogs were alone and more than 50% of the dogs were lying down before the test. The dogs’ reactions in the 4thweek were significantly different from those in the 1stweek (P<0.05). In the 4thweek, the number of dogs that reacted neutrally and approached the researcher increased and conversely, the number that avoided contact and barked decreased. The tail movements showed a significant difference between the 1stweek and 4thweek of observation (P<0.05). In the 4thweek, the number of dogs which reacted and vocalized decreased significantly (P<0.05). More than 69.2%of the dogs reacted to the observer at a distance of >5m, however, there was only a marginally significant difference between the 1stand 4thweek of observation (P=0.06). In conclusion,the reaction of the dogs was affected by their familiarity with the people who approached them. This is the first study of the reaction of stray dogsin temples to people in Thailand. Therefore, further research on stray dogs using the stranger-approach test is necessary.

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