Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
In human populations, the most efficacious behavioral interventions are function-based, which first requires identification of the behavioral function. The gold standard for isolation of the behavioral function is the functional analysis, which has been effectively used for decades on human behavior. However, companion animals also engage in behavior considered problematic by their human owners. In domesticated dogs, mouthing is a common behavior displayed by young dogs and is considered problematic by many human families. Without efficacious interventions, undesirable behavior in companion animals may result in reduced welfare, relinquishment, or even euthanasia of the animal. The purpose of this study was to apply the functional analysis to identify the function of mouthing behavior in dogs. The results of the functional analysis led to the identification and implementation of function-based interventions that reduced mouthing behavior in all three dogs.