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Escape rates and biting histories of dogs confined to their owner's property through the use of various containment methods

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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.
  • | 2 Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine escape rates for dogs confined to their owner's property by various containment methods and determine whether biting history was associated with containment method.

DESIGN Cross-sectional survey.

SAMPLE 974 owners of 1,053 dogs.

PROCEDURES Individuals patronizing pet stores in Columbus, Ohio, were recruited to complete a survey on the method they used to confine their dogs to their property and their dogs’ behavior history.

RESULTS Dogs were confined to their owner's property by a physical fence (821/1,053 [78.0%]), electronic fence (150/1,053 [14.2%]), or tether system (82/1,053 [7.8%]). Dogs confined by an electronic fence were more likely to have escaped (66/150 [44.0%]) than were dogs confined by a see-through fence (153/658 [23.3%]), privacy fence (38/163 [23.3%]), or tether (22/82 [26.8%]). Forty-eight (4.6%) dogs had reportedly bitten a person in the past, and 81 (7.7%) had reportedly bitten another dog, but containment method was not significantly associated with whether dogs had ever bitten a person or another dog. Greeting behavior (growling, snarling, or trying to bite) was significantly associated with a history of biting a person or another dog.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that escape rate, but not biting history, was associated with the method owners used to confine dogs to their properties. Greeting behavior was associated with biting history, suggesting that owners of dogs that growl, snarl, or attempt to bite when meeting an unfamiliar person or dog should seek assistance to prevent future bites.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Starinsky (starinsky.5@osu.edu).