Dog Behavior Features
A common method of studying the behavioral reactions of animals, namely dogs, is the method of visual observation, that is, impartial observation of animals in a natural setting and an objective, detailed description of their behavior.
K. Lorenz writes that the old method - the impartiality of observing and recording what we saw - is a prerequisite for studying the behavior of animals.
The behavior of dogs of two, three or more dogs, for example, may be different in strength, quality and other indicators. This circumstance obliges each researcher to study not one dog, but a sample - of several individuals (of different sex, age, weight, etc.) and to summarize the materials.
K. Lorenz, N. Tinbergen recommended nicknames for the studied animals and summed up the materials not individually, but individually.
An individual record of behavior was adopted in the laboratory of IP Pavlov, the great methodologist in ethology. In the index of experimental animals, placed in the third volume of "Pavlovsk mediums" are the nicknames of almost one hundred and fifty dogs and seven monkeys, which served the great discoveries of ethology.
In his ethological experiments, up to 15 dogs were simultaneously studied. The technique made it possible to register using and signaling actions of dogs - all types of their behavioral acts (food, caution, socialization, research, imitation, novelty, guarding, searching, domination, etc.). Let us consider it in more detail in various methods.
A comparative method of studying the behavior of animals is often called phylogenetic. This method was developed long ago, it is constantly used in experiments.
According to this method, to determine the ability to solve a particular behavioral problem, attract individuals of different breeds of dogs, usually analogues. The purpose of the comparative method is to identify the similarities and differences in the types of behavior of heterogeneous or intra-pedigree objects. This method allows to reveal the phylogenetic information of many elements of behavior: aggression, expression of emotions, reactivity of manner, temperament, and others.
An essential addition to this method is the behavior of dogs in experiments.
The experimental method of studying the behavioral reactions of dogs is of paramount importance in ethological studies.Visual observation through experiment reveals new aspects of behavior: sensitivity to objects, labyrinth behavior, odorological behavior, etc. “There is no doubt that the human mind has no means to recognize the laws of the organic world without experiments and observations on animals” (I. Pavlov). K. Lorenz, highly appreciating the experimental study of behavior, warned researchers about the need to constantly remember that the object being studied is a living organism, a holistic, self-regulating and self-controlled system. Any attempt to experimentally influence a particular isolated system can lead to unsuccessful or negative results.
Experimental study of behavioral reactions indicates the presence of behavioral differences genes of animals of the same species. Live representatives of one species, one line, family manifest genetically regular activity and the severity of the behavior on natural or experimental stimuli. There are many experiments to identify the genetics of intelligence and signs of caution in dogs. For this, various tests were used.For example, dogs were forced to cross roads with active traffic. It turned out that an objective conclusion can be made only under the condition of a tenfold repetition of the experiment task for both related and non-related individuals.
The isolation effect and the behavior of dogs are investigated in the experiment of isolated rearing of youngsters, the so-called Caspar Hauser method (Caspar Gauzer is a boy who grew up in isolated conditions). The essence of this method is as follows: animals, identified for subsequent ethological studies, immediately after birth are separated from the mother and the kids are kept in isolation from other animals, without contact with people. In the process of such cultivation, their training, learning, and the use of the life experience of their peers and other family members are excluded. Animals are systematically monitored to find out when these or other reflexes will appear and what will be the attitude towards various stimuli, including unknown ones. The most accessible to the study of the latter is the "method of screen".
The method of screens. Often when studying the behavior of dogs, the so-called screening technique is used.The essence of this method is as follows: behind a continuous screen is a hermetically sealed box or cylinder with feed. The dog is allowed to feed, give him a lick, and then tied three meters from the screen. A person comes out from behind a screen, carrying this object in his hands, leaves him in the shelter, then returns behind the screen and walks empty-handed in the opposite direction, to another shelter. The dog looks closely at the experimenter during all his movements. Then the dog is untied. It should solve the problem: where did the food go? The experiment is repeated with many dogs several times to obtain reliable results.
Thus, it is established that animals have different acumen and ability to observe. In the experiments of L. Krushinsky, for example, 68 dogs participated, the experiment was repeated twice. In the end, it turned out that 42 dogs fled in the direction of the carried food, 14 from the food, and 12 did not begin to solve the problem. L. Krushinsky cites information about the use of this scheme (the principle of screens) to study the behavior of dogs of different ages. Extensive data show that the observation and intelligence of dogs depends on a number of components: age, biological sex, breed, genotype and many other factors.The growing conditions are of great importance for the formation of their wit, the ability to observe and come to extrapolation. Life in constant communication with peers, senior family members develops these qualities. Intelligent, attentively watching dogs are not only products of a genetic nature, but also the whole process of domestication and breeding of puppies.