The shelter is a stressful environment so anything we can do to mitigate this stress increases the welfare of sheltered dogs. In addition, reducing stress may help decrease the chances of problem behaviors developing. Less-stressed dogs often present well to adopters and so may be adopted more quickly. The first step is reliably and accurately diagnosing stress in a non-invasive way; the next is determining what enrichment techniques reduce stress and for which dogs.
- Activity as a Measure of Stress-This study examined whether activity level as measured by an accelerometer called a “Sniftag” correlated with the common biochemical stress measurement of cortisol, both urinary and salivary. Sixteen shelter dogs from the Animal Rescue League of Boston were included in the study; results revealed that maximum activity level was significantly correlated with salivary cortisol levels and a stress behavior scoring system was significantly related to urinary coritsol levels.
- Further research will explore effective, easy, and practical enrichment techniques.