Thursday, 28 April 2016

Investigating the function of play bows in adult pet dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) (Article)

Volume 125, April 01, 2016, Pages 106-113

Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, 530 Church Street, Ann Arbor, United States


Play bows are a common, highly stereotyped canine behavior widely considered to be a 'play signal,' but only one study has researched their function. Bekoff (1995) found that play bows function as behavioral modifiers to help clarify playful intent before or after easily misinterpretable behaviors, such as bite-shakes. To further examine the function of play bows, the current study analyzed five types of behaviors displayed by the bower and the partner immediately before and after a play bow during dyadic play. We found that play bows most often occurred after a brief pause in play. Synchronous behaviors by the bower and the partner, or vulnerable/escape behaviors by the bower (such as running away) and complementary offensive behaviors by the partner (such as chasing) occurred most often after the play bow. These results indicate that during adult dog dyadic play, play bows function to reinitiate play after a pause rather than to mediate offensive or ambiguous actions. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Author keywords

Domestic dog; Initiate; Play bow; Social play; Synchrony; Visual signal

Indexed keywords

EMTREE medical terms: adult; animal experiment; dog; escape behavior; nonhuman; running
Species Index: Canis familiaris