Best Emerging Researcher

“Developing a Practical Means of Reducing Stress in Animal Shelter Dogs” with Regina Willen

The first three days a dog lives in a shelter the cortisol levels are highly elevated. Human interaction can be used to reduce stress in this environment.

Petting had a calming effect on the dogs. There was a significant reduction in cortisol, vocalization, anxiety/panting, and escape attemps.

Petting for 30 minutes was just as effective as 15 minutes, but results lasted longer with 30 minutes of petting. Cortisol reduction is transient.

Owner relinquished dogs had higher levels of stress in the shelter than stray dogs.

News release about her findings:

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