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 alters the GABA receptor complex, which helps reduce anxiety. So more licking = more GABA = less anxiety.
It’s possible that similar results exist for puppies and dogs. If so, we should figure that out, so we can help raise less anxious dogs.
Authors: Veronika H. Czerwinski, Bradley P. Smith, Philip I.Hynd, Susan J.Hazel
Publication: Journal of Veterinary Behavior
Publication Date: July-August 2016
Applies To: puppy raising, shelter puppies
Sample Size: literature review
Limitations/Drawbacks: extrapolating from rodents to dogs