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 dogs who were quicker to bark at a new object were also more likely to fail. Young adult dogs who failed to solve a multi-step problem, especially if they repeated the same error over and over, were more likely to fail as well.

Authors:Emily E. Bray, Mary D. Sammel, Dorothy L. Cheney, James A. Serpell, and Robert M. Seyfarth

Publication: PNAS

Publication Date: August 2017

Applies To: puppy raising, assistance/working dogs

Sample Size: 98 dogs

Limitations/Drawbacks: This doesn’t mean the same findings hold true for other sorts of working dogs, pet dogs, or sport dogs.

Link to the article

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