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Parallels in the interactive effect of highly sensitive personality and social factors on behaviour problems in dogs and humans


Bräm Dubé, Maya; Asher, Lucy; Würbel, Hanno; Riemer, Stefanie; Melotti, Luca (2020). Parallels in the interactive effect of highly sensitive personality and social factors on behaviour problems in dogs and humans. Scientific Reports, 10(1):5288.

Abstract

Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS) is a personality trait in humans characterised by a tendency to process information deeply, to be easily overstimulated, and to have strong emotional responses and an enhanced sensitivity to subtle stimuli. A trait similar to SPS has recently been identified in dogs ("canine Sensory Processing Sensitivity", cSPS). In children, this trait interacts with parenting factors to influence emotional and mental development, which in turn are linked to behaviour problems. Paralleling these findings in humans, we demonstrate that cSPS interacts with owner personality and use of aversive communication to influence the likelihood of behaviour problems in dogs. More behaviour problems were reported for more highly sensitive dogs per se, when there was a relative mismatch between owner and dog personality, and when use of "negative punishment" was reported. These findings indicate that a dog's personality might moderate how an individual is affected by environmental factors, particularly owner personality and communication style, emphasising the importance of considering individuality in prevention, development and treatment of behaviour problems in dogs.

Abstract

Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS) is a personality trait in humans characterised by a tendency to process information deeply, to be easily overstimulated, and to have strong emotional responses and an enhanced sensitivity to subtle stimuli. A trait similar to SPS has recently been identified in dogs ("canine Sensory Processing Sensitivity", cSPS). In children, this trait interacts with parenting factors to influence emotional and mental development, which in turn are linked to behaviour problems. Paralleling these findings in humans, we demonstrate that cSPS interacts with owner personality and use of aversive communication to influence the likelihood of behaviour problems in dogs. More behaviour problems were reported for more highly sensitive dogs per se, when there was a relative mismatch between owner and dog personality, and when use of "negative punishment" was reported. These findings indicate that a dog's personality might moderate how an individual is affected by environmental factors, particularly owner personality and communication style, emphasising the importance of considering individuality in prevention, development and treatment of behaviour problems in dogs.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Multidisciplinary
Uncontrolled Keywords:Multidisciplinary
Language:English
Date:1 December 2020
Deposited On:15 Feb 2021 12:49
Last Modified:16 Feb 2021 21:02
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2045-2322
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-62094-9

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