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 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

Link to the article

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