Protopopova, A., Hauser, H., Goldman, K. J., & Wynne, C. D. (2017). The Effects of Exercise and Calm Interactions on In-kennel Behavior of Shelter Dogs. Behavioural Processes.
Over-activity, or excessive locomotion and barking in the kennel, may be unattractive to adopters and an indicator of poor welfare of kenneled dogs. The study assessed the efficacy of two common enrichment strategies, providing calm interaction and additional exercise, on in-kennel behavior in 16 shelter dogs. Both interventions resulted in appropriate behavior just prior to the sessions (t = 2.10, df = 7, p = 0.03 and F  = 7.58, p = 0.0007, respectively), but both also resulted in an increase of some undesirable behaviors immediately after the dogs were taken back to their kennels (F  = 7.77, p = 0.0001 and F (5216) = 10.1, p < 0.0001 respectively). Right after receiving additional exercise, the dogs spent more time in back and forth motion in the kennel. Right after receiving the calm interaction, the dogs spent less time in the front of the kennel, less time facing forward, and more time engaging in back and forth motion. However, dogs also spent less time barking and jumping on the kennel door right after the calm interaction. The results suggest that both interventions may be useful, but shelter administrators and volunteers must take all of the behavioral changes into account when administering these interventions.