There are limited studies investigating the combined effects of biological, environmental, and human factors on the activity of the domestic dog. Sled dogs offer a unique opportunity to examine these factors due to their close relationship with handlers and exposure to the outdoors. Here, we used accelerometers to measure the activity of 52 sled dogs over 30 days from two locations in Canada. The two locations differ in the working demands of dogs, therefore we used linear mixed effects models to assess how different factors impact daytime and nighttime activity of working versus nonworking dogs. During the daytime, we found that males were more active than females among nonworking dogs and younger dogs were more active than older dogs among working dogs. Alaskan huskies had higher activity levels than non-Alaskan husky breeds in working sled dogs during the day. Nonworking dogs were slightly more active during colder weather, but temperature had no effect on working dogs’ activity. The strongest predictor of daytime activity in working dogs was work schedule. These results indicate that the influence of biological factors on activity varied depending on dogs’ physical demands and human activity was the most powerful driver of activity in working dogs.

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Journal: Scientific Reports. 2022 May 14;12(1):1-0

Keywords: animal behaviour, biological anthropology, canine, dog, Physical Activity, veterinary,

Applications: Veterinary,

CamNtech Reference: M22036

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