The Positive & Negative Activation Scale (PANAS) for Dogs

Technology No. 000003

The Positive & Negative Activation Scale (PANAS) for Dogs

The Positive And Negative Activation Scale (PANAS) for dogs is the first validated, reliable tool to assess sensitivity to rewards (Positive Activation) and aversives (Negative Activation) in dogs using an owner questionnaire. The tool has been developed and validated by researchers within the Animal Behaviour, Cognition and Welfare Group, School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln.

The PANAS can be used:

a) As a clinical tool to assess the likely contribution of positive and negative activation as a temperament trait that can often be associated with a higher risk of behaviour problems such as over-activity and specific fears.

b) To improve the management of problems relating to positive and negative activation, both in the individual, and also as a research tool. For example a high level of negative activation associated with a specific fear will increase the risk of relapse due to trait level sensitivity to aversives as determined by PANAS

c) As a tool to help select appropriate working dogs where positive and negative activation may be important to success/failure; our research has shown that certain levels of positive and negative activation may be associated with a shorter useful working life among certain working dogs

d) In the screening of shelter dogs at the time of relinquishment to predict their ability to cope and the need for remedial intervention while in the shelter prior to rehoming.

Product: PANAS is a 21 item questionnaire using a 5 point Likert scale (plus a N/A answer column). There is an associated scoring sheet with mean/standard deviation scores, producing an overall questionnaire score for each construct for the dog; there are 3 sub-scores representing different facets of positive activation which when combined define the trait.

 Academic Profile:

Consultancy: Consultancy services offered through the Animal Behaviour Clinic a professional service to industry and a referral only clinic for pets and animals of all species with behaviour and training problems located at the University of Lincoln’s City Centre campus.

Commercial Use:

This assessment tool is freely available for personal use. If you require commercial use please send enquiries to

  • swap_vertical_circlelibrary_booksReferences (3)
    1. Brady, K., Cracknell, N., Zulch, H., & Mills, D. S. (2018), Factors associated with long-term success in working police dogs, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 207, 67-72
    2. Sheppard G., Mills D.S. (2003), The validation of scales designed to measure positive and negative activation in dogs, Seksel K., Perry G., Mills D., Frank D., Lindell E., McGreevy P., Pageat P. (2003) Fourth International Veterinary Behaviour Meeting Proceedings No: 352. Post Graduate Foundation in Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Sydney., 37-45
    3. Sheppard,G., Mills D.S. (2002), The development of a psychometric scale for the evaluation of the emotional predispositions of pet dogs, International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 15, 201-222
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Free Licence (Restricted)

Term: perpetual

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