Characteristics of Excitable Dog Behavior Based on Owners' Report from a Self-Selected Study

Animals (Basel). 2016 Mar 15;6(3):22. doi: 10.3390/ani6030022.


Past research has found that excitable dog behavior is prevalent among sheltered and owned dogs and many times is a reason for canine relinquishment. In spite of its prevalence in the canine population, excitable behavior is relatively unstudied in the scientific literature. The intent of this research was to understand the experience of owners of excitable dogs through the analysis of self-administered online questionnaires completed by owners as part of another study. We found that certain daily scenarios tended to prompt excitable behavior, with excitability most common when the owner or other people came to the dog's home. All owners experienced some level of frustration with their dog's excitable behavior, with the majority being very frustrated. Many dogs in the sample had other behavior problems, with disobedient, destructive, chasing and barking behaviors being the most commonly reported. Other characteristics of excitable dogs also are discussed. Although the ability to generalize from these results is likely limited, due to targeted recruitment and selection of owners of more excitable dogs, this research provides valuable insights into the owner's experience of excitable behavior. We hope this study prompts more research into canine excitable behavior which would expand our understanding of this behavior and help behaviorists, veterinarians, and shelters develop tools for managing it, as well as provide better education to owners of excitable dogs.

Keywords: behavior problem; dog behavior; excitable behavior; owned dogs.