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Association for Behavior Analysis International

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44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Poster Session #73
Saturday, May 26, 2018
1:00 PM–3:00 PM
Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 1-6
Chair: Terri M. Bright (MSPCA Angell)
1. Differential Effects of Reinforcement in Shelter Versus Pet Dogs
Area: AAB; Domain: Basic Research
JENNIFER GAVIN (Illinois State University), Antonia Berenbaum (Illinois State University), Valeri Farmer-Dougan (Illinois State University)
Discussant: Valeri Farmer-Dougan (Illinois State University)
Abstract: When giving a reinforcer it is important to understand the effects of the "delivery system" for that reinforcer. For example, dogs with little experience with human interaction may react differently to a human delivered reinforcer than dogs more experienced with human interaction. This effect can be predicted by the Disequilibrium Model (Timberlake & Farmer-Dougan, 1991), which states that the degree to which the ratio of instrumental (I) to contingent (C) responding is disrupted from a baseline bliss point (Oi/Oc) results in predictable reinforcement effects. The present study used this model to measure baseline approaches to humans versus a mechanical feeder for two groups of dogs. Using baseline approach rates, the model accurately predicted differences in reinforcer efficacy of human-delivered reinforcers between dogs who were experienced with versus those with little experience interacting with humans. The data support the predictions of the disequilibrium model and demonstrate the importance of assessing baseline rates of both the contingent and operant response to determine reinforcer efficacy.
2. Effectiveness of a Jackpot to Decrease Session Time for Discrete Trials in Canines
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
ANTONIA BERENBAUM (Illinois State University), Jennifer Gavin (Illinois State University), Valeri Farmer-Dougan (Illinois State University)
Discussant: Valeri Farmer-Dougan (Illinois State University)
Abstract: Jackpots (a 1-time increase in reinforcer magnitude within a session) are widely used in dog training, yet little empirical data exist to support their use. For example, Muir (2010) found no increase in response rate when a jackpot was used within a single-operant setting, but dogs did increase responding to the jackpot alternative during concurrent schedules. Research in behavioral economics, particularly temporal discounting, has investigated jackpots in humans. This research suggests that jackpots given at different times within the session have differing reinforcer value, suggesting a discounting of the jackpot value across session time. To examine the potential effect of jackpot discounting and frequency, the present study examined the time for dogs to complete a 20-trial simple contingency when the jackpot was presented at the end or middle of the session. Study two examined the rate to completion when the rate of jackpots varied from 5% to 100% of trials. Consumption time was subtracted from total session time to prevent a confound of consumption time with increased jackpots. Results showed no significant increase in completion speed for a single jackpot given at the end versus middle of the trials; increasing the rate of jackpots significantly slowed the dogs' response time.
3. Associations Between Behavioral Persistence, Discrimination Learning, and Stationary Behavior
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
SHIVANI DALAL (Texas Tech University), Nathaniel Hall (Texas Tech University)
Discussant: Valeri Farmer-Dougan (Illinois State University)
Abstract: Domestic dogs are trained for a wide variety of services; however, typically, half of dogs that enter training organizations never become certified. The aim of this study was to identify whether a basic measure of behavioral persistence was associated with eight dogs' performance on two tasks relevant to working dogs: a discrimination learning task and a stationary behavioral task. The behavioral persistence task was an automated version of a resistance to extinction task in which we measured the mean number of lever presses made under extinction in two sessions. The discrimination learning task was a standardized two-choice odor discrimination task in which we measured the maximum accuracy achieved across five sessions. Last was a stationary behavior task in which dogs were trained to target to a specified place and remain still for 10 secs in which we scored the percentage of successful trials. We found a trend negative association between behavioral persistence and discrimination learning (R2=.47, p=.06) and a positive association between behavioral persistence and maintaining a stationary position (R2=.55, p=.04). Behavioral persistence appears to be detrimental to discrimination tasks that require response inhibition, but enhances performance for duration based tasks.
4. Teaching Horses to be Calm During Clipping
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
ALISON KATE HARDAWAY (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Discussant: Valeri Farmer-Dougan (Illinois State University)
Abstract: Performance horses and working horses are commonly subjected to a hair removal process called clipping. Many horses find this to be unpleasant, which results in the horse engaging in unwanted behaviors and which can endanger the handler (Yarnell, et al. 2013). As a result, horses sometimes must be sedated to be clipped (Glough, 1997). However, the long-term effects of repeated sedation are unknown. The current study evaluated whether a negative reinforcement shaping procedure could be used to teach horses to be calm during clipping so that sedation would not be required. The shaping procedure included three stages: touching the horse with the hand, touching the horse with the clippers while they were turned off, and clipping the horse. Each stage included a series of shaping steps. At each step, if the horse reacted, the clippers or hand stayed in place until the horse emitted a calm response. A calm response resulted in the removal of the clippers for a brief period of time. Preliminary results from four horses showed the procedure to be effective. All horses were able to be clipped after less than an hour without the use of sedatives. Data collection is in progress for additional horses.
5. Development of Point Following Behavior in Shelter Dogs
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
TATJANA JARVIS (Texas Tech University ), Nathaniel Hall (Texas Tech University)
Discussant: Valeri Farmer-Dougan (Illinois State University)
Abstract: Domesticated dogs are responsive to human pointing gestures. Importantly, no prior work has evaluated when dogs might learn to follow pointing gestures through natural contingencies dogs encounter with humans. Shelter dogs have repeatedly demonstrated poor abilities to follow human pointing, although they can be explicitly trained quickly. This study aims to evaluate the time course in which shelter dogs learn to follow points without explicit training. In a longitudinal evaluation, the development of point following will be tracked in eight shelter dogs in a training program (enriched human exposure). Every other day for three months, dogs' point following performance will be evaluated in ten probe trials in which an experimenter points to one of two containers equidistant from the dog. To avoid direct training, dogs will be given a treat for approaching and touching either container; although, correct responses will be recorded for touching the pointed towards container within 30 s. We will further compare dogs' performance to a cohort that has recently completed the training program (shown below), a cohort of naïve shelter dogs, and a cohort of pet dogs. Together, we anticipate the results will highlight when natural contingencies associated with care-taking shape point following.
6. Evaluation of Use of Goats to Reduce Invasive Weeds: Behavioral Observations, Structured Preference Assessments, and Plant Regrowth Measures
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
MARCIE DESROCHERS (The College at Brockport - State University of New York), Lori-Ann B. Forzano (The College at Brockport - State University of New York), Kathryn Amatangelo (The College at Brockport - State University of New York), Brett Bock (The College at Brockport - State University of New Year), Kira Broz (The College at Brockport - State University of New York), McKenzie Wybron (The College at Brockport - State University of New York)
Discussant: Valeri Farmer-Dougan (Illinois State University)
Abstract: Invasive weed species (IWS) in Western New York, namely Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose), Lonicera sp. (honeysuckle), and Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn), are costly in terms of native plants' displacement, reduced nutrition for animals/insects, and biodiversity loss. Goats (Capra hircus) may be useful to curtail IWS because they are environmentally-friendly and inexpensive. The effectiveness of five goats to combat IWS was evaluated by analyzing behavioral observations of goats' eating behaviors in a 10x10 m wooded plot during two separate exposures of 6-hours each, structured preference assessments, and two years of pre/post measures of plant loss/regrowth. Using individual sampling, 1,066 goat eating behaviors with 72.2% IWS compared to natives were recorded during August, 2015 and 1,742 eating behaviors with 67.62% IWS observed during September. More IWS than natives were originally present in the plot possibly creating a ceiling effect. In general, honeysuckle and multiflora rose were most preferred by adult goats during both structured assessments and field behavioral observations. Overall, the goats reduced the amount of vegetation in the field plot across multiple exposures. Since both invasive and native plant species were affected, training to curb goats' eating native species is necessary.
7. Does Training Matter: A Systematic Review of Caregiver Training Within Human-Canine and Human-Human Dyads
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
NICOLE PFALLER-SADOVSKY (Centre for Behaviour Analysis, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, Queen's University Belfast), Karola Dillenburger (Centre for Behaviour Analysis, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, Queen's University Belfast), Camilo Hurtado-Parrado (Konrad Lorenz Fundación Universitaria), Lucia Medina (Konrad Lorenz Fundación Universitaria)
Discussant: Lindsay Renee Mehrkam (Monmouth University)
Abstract: Modern companion dogs serve various functions in human society, e.g. providing owners with company and engage them in physical activity (Westgarth et al., 2014; Zasloff & Kidd, 1994). Dogs, just like humans, can engage in socially-relevant undesired behaviors (e.g. aggression), and caregivers are an integral part of respective treatments. The current review aimed at systematically investigating the importance of caregiver training in intra- and interspecific behavior-change programs, identifying training strategies showing greatest efficacy with caregivers. This systematic review generally followed the recommendations of The Campbell Collaboration (2017) and utilized the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta Analyses (i.e. PRISMA; Moher et al., 2009) for literature selection. This process yielded 56 eligible studies comprising controlled-group, clinical-study, pre-test-post-test, single-case designs, randomized controlled trials, and case studies, (i.e. 7%, 5%, 18%, 43%, 7%, 20%, respectively), involving a total of n=1,707 participants across all eligible studies (see Table 1). These preliminary results highlight a deficit of research focus on canine-caregiver training, and behavior-analytic approaches in general of which single-case designs are a hallmark of. At the time of this abstract's write-up, data analysis was being conducted, and results should be viewed incomplete. References Moher, D., Liberati, A., Tetzlaff, J., Altman, D.G., The PRISMA Group. (2009). Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses: The PRISMA Statement. PLoS Medicine, 6, e1000097. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000097.t002 The Steering Group of The Campbell Collaboration. (2017). Campbell Collaboration Systematic Reviews: Policies and Guidelines [pdf]. Retrieved from Westgarth, C., Christley, R.M., Christian, H.E. (2014). How might we increase physical activity through dog walking? A comprehensive review of dog walking correlates. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 11, 83-97. doi: Zasloff, R. L. & Kidd, A. H. (1994). Loneliness and pet ownership among single women. Psychological Reports, 75, 747–752. doi:10.2466/pr0.1994.75.2.747.
8. A Comparison of Preference Assessment Methods With Shelter Dogs
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
CINTYA TOLEDO FULGENCIO (California State University, Fresno), Steven W. Payne (California State University, Fresno), Maria Salmeron (California State University, Fresno)
Discussant: Lindsay Renee Mehrkam (Monmouth University)
Abstract: Dogs may be relinquished to shelters and unlikely to be adopted if they engage in problem behavior. A successful way of eliminating problem behavior is through training techniques based on behavioral principles. Obedience training with the use of positive reinforcement has been successful in treating problematic behavior by dogs. In order for this method to work, it is essential that the stimuli selected function as reinforcers. A method used to identify potential reinforcers is through preference assessments. A preference assessment is a procedure used to identify stimuli that may serve as possible reinforcers by yielding preference hierarchies. Equally as important are the reinforcer assessments that evaluate the reinforcing value of the preferences identified. Although preference and reinforcer assessments have been successfully used with humans, research with non-human animals is limited. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to identify the preference assessment that is time efficient and will yield results that correspond with the results of the reinforcer assessment. Each preference assessment (MSWO and paired-stimulus) was conducted with each dog. A progressive ratio reinforcer assessment was conducted following the preference assessments. Each preference assessment was timed to measure time efficiency. Results are discussed.
9. Treatment Analysis of Stereotypic Behaviors Exhibited by a Captive Male Jaguar (Panthera onca)
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
MEGAN COLLEEN MORRIS (Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens ), Valerie Segura (Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens), Dan Maloney (Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens), Terry L. Maple (Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens; Florida Atlantic University)
Discussant: Lindsay Renee Mehrkam (Monmouth University)
Abstract: Large carnivores living in human care have been reported to engage in stereotypic behaviors (e.g., pacing, tail sucking, grooming to the point of causing lesions and hair loss.) At Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, one adult male jaguar was observed pacing, tail sucking, and over-grooming over a long period of time. Prior interventions aimed at curbing these behaviors included varied feeding schedules/type of food provided, visual barriers, Feliway pheromone spray, enrichment, exhibit access modification. However, the effectiveness of these interventions was never systematically evaluated for effectiveness and often co-occurred with the beginning and end of other interventions. The aim of the present study was to evaluate possible environmental variables that were reported by staff as likely variables maintaining or promoting stereotypic behavior. A five-phase treatment analysis was implemented using an ABCAD reversal design, with the goal of decreasing the frequency, intensity, and duration of these stereotypic behaviors. Data collection occurred during a ten-week evaluation, with each condition lasting two weeks. The treatment analysis consisted of two environmental manipulation phases, two baseline phases and a final phase, where the environmental manipulation that evoked the least amount of stereotypic behaviors was repeated. Behavioral monitoring was conducted via video footage to capture jaguar behavior when care staff were and were not present. Results indicated a slight decrease in stereotypic behaviors during treatment phases, as compared to baseline, however, significant effects were not observed. Potential function-based future assessments will be discussed.
10. Measuring Odor Capacity on a Natural Odor Detection Task
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
ARMANDO DANTE MENDEZ (Texas Tech University), Stephanie Soto (Texas Tech University), Nathaniel Hall (Texas Tech University)
Discussant: Lindsay Renee Mehrkam (Monmouth University)
Abstract: A recent study has proposed the use of a rapid "Natural Odor Detection Task" aimed at measuring the olfactory sensitivity of canines by recording their spontaneous responses to food odors. The aim of the present work was to replicate and extend this task by providing odorants with better characterized concentrations. Eight dogs were presented with serial dilutions of chicken broth and peanut butter spanning from 1.00 x 10-1 to 1.00 x 10-12 volume/volume dilutions. An odor jar was placed in an apparatus that can hold 5 jars, each 30 cm apart. The remaining four jars contained 10 mL of diluent. A handler blind to the position of the odor jar walked the dog along the odor line-up and observed for spontaneous responses such as clawing at the jar or sniffing longer than three seconds on a specific jar. A response to the correct jar led to the dog being able to consume the 10 ml of the respective reinforcer. We found a strong effect of dilution, with all 50% thresholds falling between a dilution of 10-1 to 10-2. These results suggest that slight modifications of the procedure may allow for more quantitative measures of sensitivity.
11. Integrating Therapy Dogs Into a Social Skills Group Program for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
KIRSTEN LEATHERWOOD (Texas Tech University)
Discussant: Lindsay Renee Mehrkam (Monmouth University)
Abstract: Integrating Therapy dogs into a Social Skills Group Program for Children with ASD Kirsten Leatherwood, Wesley Dotson, Alexandra Protopopova Texas Tech University Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI) have been shown to increase social behavior in children with ASD; however, the mechanism by which this increase occurs remains elusive. Therapy dogs were incorporated into an established group social skills instruction program for children with ASD, using a quasi-experimental, repeated-measures counter-balanced mixed design (5 weeks with and 5 weeks without a dog) over the course of a semester. Using a single-subject design, we assessed the effect of the dogs on therapists. We predicted that the presence of the dog in the group social skills instruction program would not only improve the quantity and quality of social behavior, but also reduce physiological (salivary cortisol) and behavioral signs of stress compared to the absence of the dog. We further predicted that during therapy sessions with dogs, most of the children's social behavior would be directed towards the dog rather than peers. The successful completion of this project will result in an empirically validated program within ABA and AAI.
12. Assessing Assessments of Dog Toy Preference
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
MEGAN ELIZABETH ARANT (Texas Tech University), Alexandra Protopopova (Texas Tech University)
Discussant: Lindsay Renee Mehrkam (Monmouth University)
Abstract: Various methods have been developed to assess preferences of individuals. In the field of applied behavior analysis, preference assessments have been applied primarily to human children. However, more recently, the use of preference assessments has expanded to other species, including domestic dogs. Applying preference assessments for individual dogs in shelters not only improves welfare, but may also assist when dogs are candidates for adoption. An assessment and validation of various methods, taken from the dog and child literature, will help shelter staff employ the most efficient methods when assessing dog's preference for toys. Additionally, the inclusion of a group free-operant assessment allowed for a development of a highly efficient assessment in group setting. Sixteen dogs housed in a shelter environment participated in 10 different types of preference assessments, once per day, in a randomized order. Preferences across assessments, along with the caregivers' perceived ranking of the toys, were compared to establish the validity of various assessments as well as efficiency.
13. An Investigation of the Influence of Human Behavior on the Development of Canine Separation Anxiety
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
AARON TEIXEIRA (Texas Tech University), Nathaniel Hall (Texas Tech University), Shelby Bramlett (Texas Tech University)
Discussant: Lindsay Renee Mehrkam (Monmouth University)
Abstract: Canine anxiety and fear-related problems are the second most widespread problematic behavior associated with pet dogs, with only aggression-related problems yielding higher rates of referrals. Canine behavior researchers and Veterinarians have suggested a behavioral change plan involving low arousal departures and reunions to and from the home to help treat Separation Anxiety in pet dogs. By manipulating the amount of excitement exhibited by an experimenter during a modification of a strange situation test, we hope to illuminate how repeated exposures to a high arousal human can influence the frequency/duration of Separation-related behaviors (SRB's) thereafter, such as time spent pacing, time in close proximity to door (within 3ft), and vocalizations. Participants were brought into a room and left alone for a 10-minute anticipation period, followed by a 10-minute interaction period with a high arousal experimenter, and left alone again for a final 10-minute post-interaction period. Samples of salivary cortisol were taken along with external ear temperatures, activity level measures and heart rate variability measures, as well as video recording of SRB's. After six sessions, our data showed some dogs increased in specific SRB's, while others possibly habituated to the situation and showed decreased SRB's.



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