A new study by the University of Edinburgh's Royal School of Veterinary Studies (Dick Vet) has validated the use of an owner questionnaire in assessing canine frustration.
Published in Animals, the study 'Behavioural and Physiological Correlates of the Canine Frustration Questionnaire' compared owner's answers on the Canine Frustration Questionnaire (CFQ) to the levels of cortisol present in dogs' saliva throughout mild tests designed to create slight frustration.
In the study, which was led alongside researchers from the Universities of Lincoln and Leeds, forty-four healthy dogs were volunteered to take part in a novel behaviour test battery to designed to create mild frustration.
These behavioural tests included scenarios such as being left alone, being ignored or being denied toys or food, and while undertaking these behaviour tests, the dogs were filmed, and owners completed the CFQ.
Correlating behaviours such as lunging or vocalising to the CFQ, alongside measuring cortisol levels, the researchers found that at least one expected behaviour was found for each component of the CFQ during the tests, highlighting the validity of its use when assessing canine behavioural issues.
Lead author of the study Kevin McPeake commented on the usefulness of the study and CFQ: “When assessing a behaviour problem in an animal, identifying the correct underlying emotions is important to make the right diagnosis and provide the most appropriate treatment.
“Frustration has been considered an important negative emotion implicated in a range of common behaviour problems in dogs.
“Our latest study increases confidence in using the owner completed Canine Frustration Questionnaire as a valid measure of frustration tendencies in dogs which can quickly and easily be incorporated into a behaviour assessment.”