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Sleep-wake cycles and other night-time behaviours of the domestic dog Canis familiaris

Adams, G.J. and Johnson, K.G. (1993) Sleep-wake cycles and other night-time behaviours of the domestic dog Canis familiaris. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 36 (2-3). pp. 233-248.

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Sleep-wake cycles and other night-time behaviours were observed in 24 domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) living in various urban habitats. Recordings of 18 of these animals were made with a video camera under red light. On average, these dogs had 23 sleep-wake episodes during 8 h. The sleep-wake cycles consisted of an average of 16 min asleep and 5 min awake. All dogs were seen in quiet sleep and most dogs were also seen in active sleep. Usually active sleep was followed immediately by spontaneous arousal. As reported in humans and cats, active sleep was suppressed for a night in a dog placed in a new habitat, then it occurred the following 2 nights. On 31 occasions when two or more dogs were sleeping together, they had non-synchronous sleep-wake cycles, with waking only synchronising in response to a strong stimulus. Barking occurred in 13 of the 18 video-recorded dogs and six of these barked more than five times in 8 h. Nine of the 14 dog owners unwittingly disrupted the sleep of their dogs. The pattern of sleeping and waking in dogs was quite different from that known to occur in humans. These different sleep patterns sometimes led to dogs being a nuisance to people in the neighbourhood, but were welcomed by owners who kept their dog for protection as well as companionship.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary Studies
Publisher: Elsevier
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