The results show that the treatment group spent more time sitting than the control group and that they spent more time sitting during and after the treatment:
- Dogs listening to the audiobook spent more time sitting, suggesting that they felt more relaxed while experiencing the audiobooks, and even after
- Personnel at the shelter noted that certain dogs that usually did not sit/lie down appeared more relaxed, as they spent more time sitting while the audiobook was playing compared to before
- Based on this, audiobooks promote sitting behaviors among anxious dogs, and could potentially be used to help new or nervous dogs acclimate to their kennels.
The treatment group spent less time whining during the treatment compared to before:
- Dogs whine when they are anxious and in particular when they are separated from their owner
- Audiobooks could potentially be used to help dogs who have been turned into shelters by previous owners, or for dogs who suffer from anxiety when returned to their kennels.
In some cases, the treatment and control groups displayed similar changes in behaviors. This could have been due to the design of the shelter
- The control group was unable to hear the audiobook playing, but they could see and hear the other dogs in their outdoor kennels. Therefore, it is likely that when the treatment group was less active in response to the audiobook, the control group was less active in response to the treatment group.
Construction work occurred at the shelter at the time of the study. It mostly occurred in the “after” days, which likely influenced the dogs’ behavior at this time
- This makes it difficult to draw any conclusions about the lasting effects of long-term audiobook exposure.
- However, since the treatment group showed the greatest increase in the time spent barking and moving, it is possible that the removal of long-term audiobook treatment causes restlessness.
The treatment group spent more time sitting and less time whining during and after the audiobook exposure, suggesting that audiobooks have some positive effects on shelter dogs. The staff also noted that the shelter appeared calmer during the treatment period and they themselves felt more relaxed, showing that audiobooks have a positive influence on personnel as well.
With this in mind, shelters should consider using audiobooks as enrichment to improve the welfare of their dogs.