Decreasing dog problem behavior with functional analysis: Linking diagnoses to treatment

Nicole R. Dorey, Jarvon S. Tobias, Monique A.R. Udell, Clive D.L. Wynne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Behavioral problems in dogs account for nearly half of the reasons given for relinquishing them to shelters, and thus constitute a significant animal welfare issue. Any successful attempt to manage these problems will require an understanding of the mechanisms that control these behaviors. However, for some of the behavioral problems cited, such as jumping up on people, available treatments are not prescribed after a systematic assessment of the environmental contingencies contributing to the behavior. The current study assesses the use of functional analysis, an established technique for identifying the variables controlling problem behavior in humans, to determine the environmental factors supporting the behavior of jumping up on people in dogs. Statistically significant differences were found in the rate of jumping up behavior across conditions for each dog in the assessment phase. Treatment conditions used the maintaining variable found in the assessment phase. By comparing the rates of jumping up behavior in these conditions, we found the rates to be of lower statistical significance in the treatment condition. Therefore, results show that this methodology is effective in determining the maintaining variables for these individuals, leading to a more precise treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-282
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Canis
  • Maintaining variables
  • Problem behavior
  • Training
  • Welfare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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