Bigiani, S., Pilenga, C. 2024. A fast technique to induce and measure anticipatory behavior in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 27(1), 137–149.

Anticipatory behavior describes the actions taken to prepare for an upcoming event. It is considered a promising tool for welfare assessment, but it is not fully applied in zoos and other facilities. This is probably due to the need to train animals, which can take a long time and make its use impractical. In this work, we tested, on a group of six dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), the effectiveness of a new technique to induce and measure anticipatory behavior without training animals. Our results show how this new methodology, which we called The Fast Technique (TFT), has been able to induce and measure anticipatory behavior toward the event studied, i.e., the play sessions with objects (PSO). Furthermore, it has produced the same result obtained with The Classical Technique (TCT), which requires a training phase. Therefore, our finding demonstrates the efficacy of a new technique that could facilitate the use of anticipatory behavior for both research and animal welfare assessment protocols.