Sleep macrostructure is modulated by positive and negative social experience in adult pet dogs

Anna Kis, Anna Gergely, Ágoston Galambos, Judit Abdai, Ferenc Gombos, R. Bódizs, J. Topál

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


The effects of emotionally valenced events on sleep physiology are well studied in humans and laboratory rodents. However, little is known about these effects in other species, despite the fact that several sleep characteristics differ across species and thus limit the generalizability of such findings. Here we studied the effect of positive and negative social experiences on sleep macrostructure in dogs, a species proven to be a good model of human social cognition. A non-invasive polysomnography method was used to collect data from pet dogs (n = 16) participating in 3-hour-long sleep occasions. Before sleep, dogs were exposed to emotionally positive or negative social interactions (PSI or NSI) in a within-subject design. PSI consisted of petting and ball play, while NSI was a mixture of separation, threatening approach and still face test. Sleep macrostructure was markedly different between pre-treatment conditions, with a shorter sleep latency after NSI and a redistribution of the time spent in the different sleep stages. Dogs’ behaviour during pre-treatments was related to the macrostructural difference between the two occasions, and was further modulated by individual variability in personality. This result provides the first direct evidence that emotional stimuli affect subsequent sleep physiology in dogs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20171883
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1865
Publication statusPublished - Oct 25 2017



  • Dog
  • Polysomnography
  • REM sleep
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this