Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #343
CE Offered: BACB

Measuring Canine Behavior by Proxy: Benefits and Limitations

Monday, May 28, 2012
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
6E (Convention Center)
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: James Serpell, Ph.D.
Chair: Kennon A. Lattal (West Virginia University)
JAMES SERPELL (The University of Pennsylvania)
James Serpell is the Marie A. Moore Professor of Humane Ethics and Animal Welfare at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, where he also directs the Center for the Interaction of Animals & Society (CIAS). He received his bachelor's degree in Zoology from University College London (UK) in 1974, and his PhD in Animal Behavior from the University of Liverpool (UK) in 1980. In 1985, he established the Companion Animal Research Group at the University of Cambridge before moving in 1993 to his current position at the University of Pennsylvania where he lectures on veterinary ethics, applied animal behavior and welfare, and human-animal interactions. His research focuses on the behavior and welfare of dogs and cats, the development of human attitudes to animals, and the history of human-animal relationships. In addition to publishing more than 100 articles and book chapters on these and related topics, he is the author, editor or co-editor of several books including Animals & Human Society: Changing Perspectives (1994), The Domestic Dog: Its Evolution, Behavior & Interactions with People (1995), In the Company of Animals (1986, 1996), and Companion Animals & Us (2000).

Because most dogs live inside people's homes where they are difficult, and sometimes impossible, to observe for extended periods of time, they are generally inaccessible to most of the standard methods of behavioral measurement. It is therefore necessary to develop different kinds of measurement techniques in order to study or evaluate their behavior. These techniques fall into two main categories: Behavioral tests that record dog's responses to specific sets of standardized stimuli, and questionnaire surveys that record indirect behavioral information provided by the dog's owner or handler. This presentation describes the development of one such survey method, The Canine Behavioral Assessment & Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ), and its various applications. Since its initial deployment in 2006, the C-BARQ has come to be widely used by working dog organizations, animal rescue groups, trainers and applied animal behaviorists, dog breeders, and behavioral researchers as a means of measuring individual differences in the behavior of dogs. Examples of some of the advances in our understanding of canine behavior that have emerged from this work will be presented and discussed.

Keyword(s): behavioral assessment, dogs



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