Effects of maternal investment, temperament, and cognition on guide dog success

Short Synopsis: This study followed 98 puppies from birth through adulthood. The researchers found that mother dogs who spent more time caring for the puppies raised puppies that were more likely to flunk out of the program. Mothers whose nursing style required more work from the puppies (vertical or standing nursing) raised puppies that were more likely to succeed. Young adult …

The influence of maternal care on stress-related behaviors in domestic dogs: What can we learn from the rodent literature?

Short Synopsis: This paper looks at existing literature about puppy raising and also supplemental literature about how rodents raise their pups to extrapolate to dogs. Rodent mothers that show less licking, grooming, and arch-backed nursing have pups with an increased stress response thanks to a change in their HPA axis. Arch-Backed nursing is considered ideal. Licking and grooming in rodents also …

Levels of maternal care in dogs affect adult offspring temperament

Short Synopsis: Researchers observed how mother dogs interacted with their puppies for 3 weeks after the puppies were born. The researchers categorized the interactions based on how much time the mother dogs attended to their puppies and spent close to them. Mother dogs were consistent with how they interacted with the litters. Each mother dog was also different from the others. …

Clicker training increases exploratory behaviour and time spent at the front of the enclosure in shelter cats; Implications for welfare and adoption rates

Short Synopsis: Quote from the abstract: “Twelve cats were clicker trained over two weeks their behaviour and response to humans was recorded before and after the training schedule. Cats showed significantly more exploratory behaviour, a decrease in inactivity and spent more time at the front of their enclosures after training. Four of the cats which failed the human approach test initially, …

Training dogs to detect invasive alien species in Japan: Discrimination of reptile odor

Short Synopsis: A single dog was trained to detect the presence of the urine of an invasive lizard. The researchers then demonstrated that she could tell the difference between that invasive lizard and native lizards by scent alone in 2 weeks for both body odor and urine odor. The dog reached 100% accuracy. Authors: Megumi Fukuzawa, Marina Sasahara Publication: Journal of …

“Reactivity to Stimuli” Is a Temperamental Factor Contributing to Canine Aggression

Short Synopsis: This study is a follow-up to another project that found that Shiba Inus who are “reactive to stimuli” are also more likely to be aggressive. The goal was to see if that trend continued across other breeds. They used the C-BARQ to determine how much the dogs reacted to various stimuli, like being approached by a stranger. The authors …

Habituation of the threatening response in cats and kittens

Short Synopsis: Researchers put kittens and cats in cages and then walked a docile dog past them. They did this several times and measured how the kittens/cats responded over time to see if their responses got more or less dramatic (ie, did they get used to the dog or did they get more scared?) From the abstract: “Six out of 7 …

Let me sniff! Nosework induces positive judgment bias in pet dogs

Short Synopsis: The researchers compared how dog reacted to a new object after practicing nosework versus heelwork for two weeks. If the dogs were quicker to approach the new object, they were deemed “optimistic.” The dogs who practiced nosework were quicker to approach the new object than before the two-week nosework training period. Practicing heelwork didn’t get these results, so there’s …

Canine Aggression Toward Familiar People: A New Look at an Old Problem

Short Synopsis: It used to be common to refer to aggression towards familiar people as dominance aggression in all contexts. These veterinary PhDs outline different explanations for different types of aggression directed at owners, including how to diagnose based on body language, neurologic exam, a complete blood cell count, serum chemistry panel, and urinalysis. The authors write, “Medical differentials that should …