Project Description

Interactive Digital Gameplay Can Lower Stress Hormone Levels in Home Alone Dogs — A Case for Animal Welfare Informatics (2015)

Social isolation, when owners are not home, is a major stres-
sor for dogs leading to separation anxiety and related behavioral and
physiological issues. We investigate whether a digital interactive game
requiring no human interference reduces stress response in dogs when iso-
lated. An interactive game was developed specifically for canines. Dogs
were domestically tested, totaling 15 days with and 15 days without
the game. Twice-daily saliva samples were analyzed for cortisol stress
hormone concentrations; ethograms were constructed. Combined data
confirm that digital interactive games can lessen physiological and be-
havioral stress responses in dogs, and that the effect is modulated by a
dog’s personality.


Credits: Annika Geurtsen, Maarten H. Lamers, and Marcel J.M. Schaaf