Texas Tech University

Domestic Animal Behavior

Domestic animals including pigs, cattle, sheep & goats, horses, dogs and cats are intertwined with humans as a source of food, entertainment, companionship and animals can be therapeutic for people. The objectives of this course are first to create an environment for student learning about mechanisms controlling behavior and applications of animal behavior principles for food and companion animals.   Secondly, this course will develop student observation and analysis skills in the study of animal behavior.

Learning Outcomes

Students are expected to immerse themselves in the topics of domestic animal behavior. Students are expected to understand:

  • Physiological mechanisms that cause or modulate animal behavior
  • Animal sensory systems that modulate animal behavior
  • Evolutionary behavioral biology
  • Feeding, drinking, maternal-neonatal, reproductive and maintenance behaviors
  • How to collect objective animal behavior data, interpret the data and critically analyze    and present the findings
  • Animal welfare issues and animal behavior's role in addressing these issues


2019 Class Materials


Introductory Lecture & Methods to Study Animal Behavior

Scientific writing 



Past Class Documents & Presentations


 Student Presentations & Reports



Publications From Our Lab

Maternal-Neonatal Pheromone/Interomone Added to Cat Litter Improves Litter Box Use and Reduces Aggression in Pair-Housed Cats

Introducing a new cat into a household with one or more resident cats can be a significant source of stress for the cats involved. These studies sought to determine if rabbit maternal-neonatal pheromone (2-methyl-2-butenal [2M2B]) in litter impacted cat social behaviors and litter box use. Study 1 determined that cats preferred to eliminate in litter containing 2M2B; other semiochemicals tested did not change litter box use. Cats prone to aggres- sion were identified in an intermediate pilot study, and eight pairs of these cats were selected for Study 2. In Study 2, cat pairs were provided litter containing either vehicle or 2M2B for 24 hours. Cats experiencing control litter displayed more aggression during the first 6 hours (p < .01) and spent more time using the litter box 12 hours and 18 hours after pairing com- pared with cats experiencing litter with 2M2B (p = .02). These results suggest 2M2B-infused cat litter may act as an interomone in cats housed domestically to prevent initial occurrences of aggression and may improve cat welfare in multicat households.


Laboratory of Animal Behavior, Physiology and Welfare