Physiology, behaviour and welfare of dogs and cats in their relationship with humans

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The aim of the course is to enable the students to acquire fundamental knowledge on the function, development and dynamics of the main behaviours of dogs and cats, on their mental abilities and on how these notions should be used to guarantee the wellbeing of these animals under proper management. The course also aims to make students aware of how they can apply this knowledge in different professional settings.
Expected learning outcomes
1) Knowledge and understanding: the student must demonstrate knowledge of the physiological bases of companion animals' behaviour.

2) Applied knowledge and understanding skills: the student must demonstrate to possess the indispensable concepts to establish links between the various topics covered, and in particular between physiology of animal behaviour and issues of animal welfare, in order to adequately deal with the knowledge required at a professional level.

3) Communication skills: the student must demonstrate to be able to use an appropriate terminology, which allows him / her to express the acquired knowledge appropriately.

4) Ability to learn: the student must demonstrate to be able, in total autonomy, to increase the knowledge of topics related to ethology and welfare of companion animals.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
Frontal lessons (2 credits)
Ethology - introduction and practical applications in commercial and social activities involving dogs and cats (2 hours)
The domestication of dogs and cats (1 hours)
Physiological and behavioural development of the puppy (2.5 hours)
Physiological and behavioural development of and kitten (2.5 hours)
Modal action patterns in dogs: social, sexual and parental behaviour (4 hours)
Modal action patterns in cats: social, sexual and parental behaviour (4 hours)

Practice (1 credit)
Breeding practices (3 hours)
Methods of dogs' education and training (2 hours)
Analysis of behaviour (5 hours)
Animal mind and learning (5 hours)
Interactive videos on canine social behaviours (1 hour).
Prerequisites for admission
No particular prerequisites are required.
Teaching methods
Lectures in the classroom and practical activities, also in the form of seminars held by invited experts, either in the classroom or at recognised dog training centres and kennels/shelters.
Teaching Resources
1) Slides available on the Ariel;
2)Julie K. Shaw, Debbie Martin. Canine and Feline Behavior for Veterinary Technicians and Nurses. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2015.

J. Bradshaw, Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend. Basic Books, 1 edition, 2011; J. Bradshaw, Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet. Penguin Books, 2013;
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of a written test, composed of 15 questions with 4 answers, and only one correct. The exam is considered to have been passed if the student correctly answers at least 60% of the questions, thus proving adequate knowledge and understanding of all topics under study.
VET/02 - VETERINARY PHYSIOLOGY - University credits: 3
Practicals: 16 hours
Lessons: 16 hours
Professor: Pirrone Federica
Tuesday 2:00-3:00 P.M.