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Hubert, Ilona (2004): Enrichment bei Laborhunden: Orientierungsstudie zur Benutzung von Beschäftigungsobjekten und Liegeplätzen. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
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Abstract

The subject of the previous study was which toys and which bedding locations are preferred by laboratory dogs and how these enrichment objects influence the behaviour of the animals. Therefore preference tests were made. Furthermore effects on the behaviour of the dogs were compared after providing certain bedding locations as enrichment in relation to the precondition. A total of 21 Beagles took part in the study. The preference tests were carried out with three groups with a total of 12 animals. In a male group (n=3 respectively 4) at the location Oberwiesenfeld, there were made four preference tests with toys and eight preference tests with bedding locations. At Gröbenried location six preference tests were carried out in each case with bedding locations on a male and female group (both n=4). In a following survey a precise budget of behaviour was compiled during the daytime period and in addition the use of bedding locations during the night was analyzed. These studies included four male and five female Beagles (which were divided in three groups). In the preference tests with toys, the dogs obtained toys containing feed, different objects of rawhide, toys of different categories and in a concluding preference test once again the previously preferred objects. In the preference tests with bedding locations, the dogs received commercial plastic beds in four different sizes filled with blankets. The two previously preferred sizes were taken over for further preference tests. In the preference tests with filling material in each case two beds with different filling materials were offered to the dogs. In each case the preferred quality was used for the next preference test and tested in comparison with a new component. The dogs had options between wood wool of different structures, fleece-blanket, pulp and rubber mat. Furthermore the dogs had the option between opened or closed beds (beds in a cave of wood) and between elevated beds or beds on the ground. During the survey three Beaglegroups received beds with fleece-blankets on the ground and elevated, each for two weeks. Objects of rawhide showed longest use (12,6% of the observed time per dog) in the preference tests with toys. Toys containing feed did have long use, too. In the preference test with toys of different categories the stick of aspen wood was favoured. Frequency of using the toys was highest during the first hour after positioning the enrichment in all preference tests. In the preference tests with different sizes of beds, there were different sizes preferred according to the group. However, all groups preferred the medium size. Fleece-blanket as filling material was favoured in all groups and preferred to all other components. However, beds with filling-material pulp also showed long term of use. In one preference test, e.g. in the group at the location Oberwiesenfeld both pulp as fleece-blanket were accepted very well (pulp showed an average use of 28,4% per day per dog and fleece-blanket 28,7%). Rubber mat was avoided in the tests (time of daily use per dog 0,6% and 0,4%), whereas beds with fleece-blankets reached 56,0% time of the daily use and beds with pulp 56,2%. Beds with fleece-blanket or pulp showed significantly more time of use as beds with the filling-material rubber mat (p=0,04). Wood wool was also not accepted very well. Whether opened, closed, beds elevated or placed on the ground, all components were accepted well in the preference tests. The time of daily usage in the case of the open beds was 30,7%, and in the case of closed beds 32,3%. The elevated beds showed 26,3% time of daily use, the beds on the ground 40,5%. Both groups at the location Gröbenried preferred the fleece-blanket as filling-material to all other components. Here the male group preferred the opened beds to the beds in a cave, the female group did not draw a distinction. In the preference test “beds elevated or on the ground”, the elevated beds showed more time of daily use in the male group, however the beds on the ground in the female group. Also in the survey the dogs accepted the beds very well. During the night the average use of the supplied beds was 80,1% per dog. Here was significant more use of the beds than lying on the ground (p<0,001). No aggressive ways of behaviour were observed during the time the dogs had the beds as enrichment. The study showed, that laboratory beagles prefer soft filling-material, e.g. fleece-blankets or pulp when they choose their resting location. The supplied beds are used most of the time and consequently serve as a possibility for enrichment in keeping laboratory dogs. Toys, e.g. objects like rawhide, toys of composition rubber, sticks of aspen wood or cotton tugs offer variety to the dogs and help reducing environmental deprivation in the laboratory dog housing.