Animal Behaviour Society (ABS) 2020 , 28 - 31 July 2020
Several studies show that stress reduces Functional Cerebral Asymmetries (FCA) in different species. Since only few studies have evaluated the effect of stress on FCA in dogs, a clear conclusion about the possible impact of stress and FCA has not yet been achieved in dogs. This is what we aim to achieve by using different motor laterality tests. Paw preferences of two groups of dogs (n=27), including chronically stressed and normal ones, were tested within the groups by food reaching (FR) and KongTM tests conducted in home and novel environments. The open field test (OFT) was used to set an acute stress situation and motor laterality tests were conducted following the OFT to determine FCA under acute stress. In both groups, the dogs showed a significant rightward asymmetry (T-test, p≤0.01) in the FR test at home while rightward LI was significantly reduced in the test conducted after the OFT (T-test, p≤0.01). The KongTM test evinced no statistically significant difference. The preliminary results show that stress reduces rightward functional asymmetry in dogs. This study is the first to demonstrate an increase in the right-hemispheric processing in dogs under acute stress.