A product for pigs proves useful for dogs

Boar MateThis is Boar Mate, a smelly spray product that helps farmers with swine breeding.

John McGlone, a professor at Texas Tech University, had some of the product at his home at a time when he was looking for ways to stop his Cairn Terrier’s problematic barking.

After a single spray of Boar Mate, Toto stopped barking.

This led the professor of animal welfare and behavior to pursue a new idea and product development.

After extensive testing and publishing of the results, and with funding help from Sergeant’s pet care products, Stop That! was developed and hit store shelves under the Sentry pet products name in 2013. It has been met with tremendous success by pet owners who were on their last legs in trying to curtail bad behavior in dogs.

Stop That!The pheromone ‘secret ingredient’ is a synthetic version of  androstenone.  This pheromone  is secreted by male pigs and is picked up by female pigs in heat. It is a foul-smelling odor for humans and also affects dogs through their olfactory system.

The testing

McGlone had four different groups of barking dogs in separate kennels. The first group of dogs simply had a person with another dog stand in front of the kennels. The second group of dogs was sprayed with a placebo that made the startling, spritz noise. The third group of dogs was sprayed with the noise and a lower concentration (.01µg/mL) of androstenone in isopropyl alcohol. The fourth group was sprayed with a higher concentration (1.0 µg/mL) of androstenone in isopropyl alcohol that also made the spritz sound.

In the first group, 25 percent (3 out of 12 dogs) stopped barking. In the second group, 44 percent (4 of 9 dogs) stopped barking. In the third group, sprayed with the lower concentration of the pheromone, 78 percent (7 of 9 dogs) stopped barking. In the fourth group, sprayed with the higher concentration of androstenone, 100 percent (6 of 6 dogs) stopped barking.

“We sprayed it in their nose or toward their head while they were barking … barking and jumping, running back and forth,” McGlone said. “This whole behavior stopped. You could almost see them thinking, ‘What was that?’”

McGlone and his group also tested the dogs to see if there were any physiological effects from the spray on the dogs, observing them for 10 minutes before and after being sprayed after outfitting the dogs with telemetry jackets and transmitters to monitor heart rate. The androstenone had no effect on the dogs’ heart rates either before or after being sprayed.

Having shown its effectiveness, McGlone was able to classify androstenone not only as a pheromone but also as an intermone, a term developed by him and his team that refers to a product that is a “pheromone in one species and has a behavioral effect in another species, but we do not know if it is a pheromone (naturally produced) in the other species.”

Source:  Newswise media release

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