Fear vs. frustration – Possible factors behind canine separation related behaviour

Rita Lenkei, Sara Alvarez Gomez, P. Pongrácz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


The signs of separation related problems (SRP) may vary according to the inner state that triggers them – for example we found earlier that dogs with owner-reported SRP were characterized with a predominance of whining during a short isolation from the owner, meanwhile barking occurred independently of the owner-reported SRP status. Based on the theory that the owner represents a resource for the dog we hypothesise that there is an association between the permissive and inconsistent behaviour of the owner and the reduced frustration threshold in the dog, which consequently will show specific signs of SRP. In our study, personality traits of the owner and the dog were measured with a questionnaire, while the separation behaviour was observed with an outdoor test. We found that dogs that rather barked than whined in the separation test had more likely a lenient owner. Dogs with owner-reported SRP whined less frequently than non-SRP dogs if they had lenient owners. The connection between the owner's permissiveness and the type of emitted vocalisation supports the theory that the owner's attitude towards the dog can be associated with the dogs’ frustration-related SRP signs as they tend to respond with similar behaviours that occur in other frustrating situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioural Processes
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018



  • Dog
  • Frustration
  • Personality
  • Separation
  • Vocalisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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