Relative efficacy of human social interaction and food as reinforcers for domestic dogs and hand-reared wolves

Erica N. Feuerbacher, Clive Wynne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite the intimate relationship dogs share with humans in Western society, we know relatively little about the variables that produce and maintain dog social behavior towards humans. One possibility is that human social interaction is itself a reinforcer for dog behavior. As an initial assessment of the variables that might maintain dog social behavior, we compared the relative efficacy of brief human social interaction to a small piece of food as a reinforcer for an arbitrary response (nose touch). We investigated this in three populations of canids: shelter dogs, owned dogs, and hand-reared wolves. Across all three canid populations, brief social interaction was a relatively ineffective reinforcer compared to food for most canids, producing lower responding and longer latencies than food.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-129
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Volume98
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Interpersonal Relations
Hand
Dogs
Food
Social Behavior
Touch
Nose
Population

Keywords

  • Canis lupus
  • Dogs
  • Food reinforcement
  • Social reinforcement
  • Wolves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Relative efficacy of human social interaction and food as reinforcers for domestic dogs and hand-reared wolves. / Feuerbacher, Erica N.; Wynne, Clive.

In: Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Vol. 98, No. 1, 07.2012, p. 105-129.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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