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In recent years much interest has been focused on early experiences and numerous studies have been carried out in order to understand their effects on the behaviour of adult animals. The aim of this preliminary study was to assess the effects of early gentling and early environment on the emotional stability of puppies. Forty-three dogs (16 females and 27 males) from seven litters were used. Four of these litters (in total 23 puppies) were raised in a professional breeding kennel, while the remaining litters lived in their owner's home, in a family atmosphere. Half of every litter was gently handled daily from the 3rd day postpartum until the 21st. In order to assess the puppies’ emotionality, an isolation test followed by an arena test were conducted on every puppy at the age of 8 weeks. Video recording of the tests allowed the measurement of each puppy's vocalization and exploratory activity. Data were analysed with the Newmann–Keuls’ test comparing four groups: non-handled puppies raised in family (NHF); handled puppies raised in family (HF); non-handled puppies raised in a professional breeding kennel (NHB); handled puppies raised in a professional breeding kennel (HB).The results suggest that early environment strongly influences the emotional stability of puppies when put in isolation: latency to the first yelp was longer (p

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... tasks of temperament and cognition as young adults (5,6,24,28,29,(33)(34)(35)(36)(37)(38)(39)(40)(41)(42)(43)(44)(45)(46)(47)(48) (SI Methods; ...
... We did not adjust for multiple testing because we expected that our task performance measures were correlated with one another, and especially measures which were derived from the same task. Furthermore, our goal was prediction, so we needed to look at each measure's individual association with outcome in order to best select a smaller subset to be considered jointly (34). ...
... Thus, these dogs were classified as Labrador Retrievers. The tasks presented during young adult testing were similar to those reported in the following studies: Task 1 (24,33,34); Task 2 (28,35); Task 3 (Not previously studied); Task 4 (36); Task 5 (5,48); Task 6 (37, 38); Task 7 (39,40); Task 8 (41)(42)(43); Task 9 (29,33,41); Task 10 (6,44,45); Task 11 (46,47) Umbrella-opening reactivity -0.18 11b ...
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How does maternal style, experienced over the first few weeks of life, affect later outcomes? Equally important, what is the role of an adolescent’s temperament and cognitive skills? The quest to understand which factors early in development lead to positive life outcomes is an endeavor that transcends species boundaries. In this dissertation, I explore the nature of these relationships using data collected from birth to adolescence in a cohort of prospective guide dogs. In Study 1, I quantify the behavior of mothers (n = 21) toward their litters. The results revealed that canine maternal style can be summarized in one principal component that explained a significant proportion of the variation and was stable across weeks, variable across individuals, and related to maternal cortisol and experimental measures. In Study 2, I examine the influence of early maternal style on later behavior, as well as on success in the guide dog program up to two years later. I also evaluated the influence of young adult temperament and cognition on success. Measures of maternal style as well as adolescent temperament and cognition were significantly associated with outcome in the guide dog program, even when controlling for each other. Successful dogs had less involved mothers as puppies, and demonstrated superior problem-solving skills, lower levels of perseveration, and reduced anxious vocal behavior as young adults. Temperament and cognition are frequently assessed in tasks purporting to measure one or the other, but large-scale studies usually only include tasks assigned to either domain. Dogs in our study completed a battery of both temperament and cognitive tasks. Thus, in Study 3, I address the categorization of ‘temperament’ and ‘cognitive’ tasks using both confirmatory and exploratory analyses and validate the findings using subjective ratings from puppy raisers, salivary cortisol, and program outcome measures. Forcing tasks into groups defined by cognition or temperament led to poor results, whereas a bottom-up approach revealed that putative cognitive and temperament measures interact in unanticipated ways. Taken together, these results suggest that mothering and the not-so-straightforward interplay of temperament and cognition provide important clues to the future success of an animal.
... Many altricial (offspring that require care or nursing after birth) mammalian species, such as the dog, are born in a state of large neural immaturity, but the nervous system develops rapidly. During this development, the individual is particularly vulnerable to various influences, and this dynamic developmental process is largely dependent on the individual´s interactions with its environment before and after birth (Gazzano et al., 2008). Additionally, environmental influences can also have a profound and lasting effect on an animal's behavioural repertoire (Rosenzweig, 1984). ...
... However, longer periods of daily separations from the mother can increases the fear and stress response in adult offspring (Plotsky and Meaney, 1993;Macrí et al., 2004). In a study of dog handling, handling was found to have a positive effect on the emotional development; handled pups were calmer (Gazzano et al., 2008). ...
... However, does this also hold true for dogs? In a study by Gazzano et al (2008), the authors assumed that the consequences resulted from handling, but if dogs are comparable to rodents from this perspective, it would make more sense to measure mother--pup interactions. Furthermore, it is uncertain if the difference observed between handled vs. non--handled puppies remains consistent into adulthood because the puppy test was conducted on 8--week--old puppies with no follow--up studies. ...
... In the 1960s, studies were carried out on early ontogeny in dogs with a view to subjecting puppies to sensory stimulation, wherein remarkable differences were seen in comparison with control (isolated) puppies [3,14,15]. Recent evidence shows that tactile or audio and video stimulation during the first week post-partum (pp) decreases fearful reactions towards unfamiliar environments or novel objects [16,17]. However, the most important impact of handling was found in puppies born and raised in a breeding kennel, where contact with humans was limited, unlike in a family surrounding [16]. ...
... Recent evidence shows that tactile or audio and video stimulation during the first week post-partum (pp) decreases fearful reactions towards unfamiliar environments or novel objects [16,17]. However, the most important impact of handling was found in puppies born and raised in a breeding kennel, where contact with humans was limited, unlike in a family surrounding [16]. Enriching circumstances though simulating handling procedures during early ontogeny has proven useful for preparing military or police dogs, which have to cope with challenging situations [2]. ...
... In general, studies in the literature have described clearly positive stimulation is achieved in puppies handled to a great degree versus socially deprived groups, thereby reducing anxiety and enhancing problem-solving skills in the former of the two (e.g. [12]); this is also seen to a moderate level in groups undergoing audio-visual stimulation versus a control group [17]; as well as if animals are gently handled on a daily basis for periods of 5 minutes [16], wherein the most significant results were found for puppies raised in a breeding kennel at which contact with humans was limited versus puppies cared for by families at home [16]. Nevertheless, an experiment on the early neurological stimulation of puppies (aged 3-16 days), which were to undergo training for detecting mines, failed to show any real variation between the groups [18]. ...
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The period of early ontogeny constitutes a time when the physical immaturity of an organism is highly susceptible to external stimuli. Thus, early development plays a major role in shaping later adult behavior. The aim of the study was to check whether stimulating puppies at this early stage in life with sound would improve their responsiveness towards unfamiliar noises during the selection process of the police behavioral test for puppies. The cohort comprised 37 puppies from the litters of three mothers. At the commencement of the experiment the dogs were aged 16 days, rising to the age of 32 days at its close. The mothers and litters of the treatment group were either exposed to radio broadcasts, (see below; three litters totaling 19 puppies), while the control group was not exposed to any radio programs (eight litters totaling 18 puppies). All three mothers had previously experienced both auditory circumstances, as described herein. Ordinary radio broadcasts were played to the puppies in the treatment group three times a day for 20 minute periods, always during feeding time. The cohort was subjected to the so-called Puppy Test, i.e. analysis of the potential of each animal, once the dogs had reached the age of 7 weeks. Such tests included exposure to a sudden noise caused by a shovel (100 dB), noise when alone in a room, and response to loud distracting stimuli (the latter two at 70 dB). Said tasks were rated by the same analyst on a scale of 0-5 points; the better the response of the dog, the higher the score given. The differences between the treatment and control groups were analyzed via Mixed Models (PROC MIXED) in SAS. The animals comprising the treatment group responded with a higher score to the sudden noise caused by the shovel than the control dogs (P
... There is a broad consensus among researchers that different types of early experience can have both positive and negative effects on later behavior in a wide variety of species, including rodents (Pryce and Feldon, 2003;Baldini et al., 2013), cats (Casey and Bradshaw, 2008), horses (Lansade et al., 2005), foxes (Pedersen and Jeppesen, 1990), pigs (Weaver et al., 2000;Day et al., 2002;Zupan et al., 2016), primates (Suomi, 1997), dogs (Gazzano et al., 2008;Tiira and Lohi, 2015;Harvey et al., 2016;Vaterlaws-Whiteside and Hartmann, 2017;Dietz et al., 2018;Hunt and Vaterlaws-Whiteside, 2020), and humans (Dawson et al., 2000;Gunnar and Reid, 2019). The effects of the early experience can be positive or negative depending on the type and intensity of the early experience and on the tests used to measure these effects (Fox and Stelzner, 1966;Pryce and Feldon, 2003;Raineki et al., 2014). ...
... Hubrecht et al. stimulated their pups from 5 to 14 weeks (Hubrecht et al., 1995). Vaterlaws-Whiteside and Hartman stimulated their pups from birth to six weeks (Vaterlaws-Whiteside and Hartmann, 2017) and Gazzano et al., Schoon and Bernsten and Boone stimulated their pups from birth to three weeks (Gazzano et al., 2008;Schoon and Berntsen, 2011;Boone, 2020). It should be noted that all of these studies extended into the socialization stage of canine development. ...
... As an example of a study involving early handling, Gazzano et al. gently handled puppies from days 3-21 (Gazzano et al., 2008). They measured the effects of this gentle handling on the pup's behavior in tests consisting of brief isolation, an open field, and on measured heart rate. ...
Article
Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) has been defined as the application of five specific brief daily manipulations to pups from birth until 2 to 3 weeks of age (Battaglia, 2009). This approach has been adopted by many kennels and promoted as a means to improve the future performance of working dogs. Although there is ample evidence that enrichment and socialization have a positive impact on adult behavior in dogs, there is no evidence ENS in and of itself has any lasting effect on dog behavior. Since the purported benefits are large and the required manipulations are minor, we sought: a) to evaluate the effects of ENS on self-confidence, motivation, and aggressive/defensive behavior in pups from 2 months of age until 12 months; and b) to determine whether ENS increased the probability of dogs being considered as suitable for further training as working dogs. We used a split-litter design where half of the pups received the ENS manipulations, and the other half were a control group that was simply held for the same amount of time required by the ENS manipulations. Our results indeed show that the ENS treated dogs are more likely to be accepted for such training than were the control pups but that differences in behavior only appeared at testing on months 10 and 12. We suggest two reasons for our results. First, immediately after the ENS manipulations, the ENS pups probably were a bit more socialized than the control pups. This resulted in the caregivers spending more time with the ENS pups which further increased the discrepancy in socialization between the ENS and control pups. Second, since the caregivers were aware of the ENS manipulation their expectations resulted in more positive interactions with the pups resulting in improved behavior; a phenomenon known as the Pygmalion effect.
... In rodents, intense or prolonged stress, such as two or more hours of separation from the mother, seems to intensify neonatal sensitivity to stressful or anxiety-provoking situations later in life. In contrast, mild to moderate stressors, such as brief periods of separation from the mother and litter, or daily handling, appear to have a positive impact on stress resilience, as well as producing accelerated maturation of the nervous system, more rapid hair growth and weight gain, enhanced development of motor and problem solving skills, and earlier opening of the eyes (Curley et al ., 2011a ;Denenberg, 1968 ;Fox, 1978 ;Gazzano et al ., 2008 ;Levine, 1962 ;Lyons et al ., 2010 ;Lupien et al ., 2009 ;Macri et al ., 2011 ;Whimbey & Denenberg, 1967 ). Some canine studies have found similar effects. ...
... Some canine studies have found similar effects. For example, puppies exposed to varied stimulation from birth to fi ve weeks of age were found to be more confi dent, exploratory and socially dominant when tested later in strange situations than unstimulated controls (Fox, 1978 ), and puppies handled gently on a daily basis from 3 to 21 days after birth were calmer, more exploratory, and gave fewer distress calls in 8-week puppy isolation tests than littermates who were not handled (Gazzano et al ., 2008 ). In contrast, a study of puppies receiving early stimulation from 3-16 days post-partum showed no differences in behavior at 10 weeks from unstimulated controls, perhaps due to their younger age at the time of stimulation, or because the effects were masked by the infl uence of extensive human socialization during subsequent weeks (Schoon & Berntsen, 2011 ). ...
... Evidence from studies of rodents and foxes suggests that the offspring of female dogs stressed during pregnancy would be more nervous in strange situations than normal puppies (Braastad et al ., 1998 ;Hinde, 1970 ). In contrast, exposing puppies or fox cubs to handling or other mild stressors during the neonatal period tends to produce more phlegmatic and less easily stressed or frightened individuals (Fox, 1978 ;Fox & Stelzner, 1966 ;Gazzano et al ., 2008 ;Pedersen & Jeppesen, 1990 ;Pluijmakers et al ., 2010 ). Other, as yet unidentifi ed, aspects of maternal style and behavior may also affect puppies' confi dence in stressful situations (see Wilsson 1984 ). ...
... It is well documented that although personality traits, including fearfulness and aggressiveness, are heritable 5, 6, 26 (i.e. can be transmitted by genetic selection of specific features), early life socialisation, parental care and past experiences all play an important role in shaping the dogs' reaction to a novel environment 25,27,28 . By testing pups at 8-weeks, before moving into their owner's new homes, we aimed to reduce the effect of the environment as much as possible. ...
... By testing pups at 8-weeks, before moving into their owner's new homes, we aimed to reduce the effect of the environment as much as possible. However, given that a number of studies have shown effects of early handling and quality of maternal care on pups' subsequent behaviour in testing situations, we cannot exclude the influence of these factors altogether 23,27 . Future research should include if possible, more stringent control of environmental effects and genetic testing to further disentangle the weight of these factors in affecting dog behaviour. ...
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A considerable number of studies have reported differences among dog breeds with respect to their genetic profile, cognitive abilities or personality traits. Each dog breed is normally treated as a homogeneous group, however, researchers have recently questioned whether the behavioural profile of modern breeds still reflects their historical function or if the intense divergent selective pressures and geographical barriers have created a more fragmented picture. The majority of studies attempting to assess and compare modern breeds’ personality focused on the evaluation of adult dogs where the potential effects of environmental/human factors on the dogs’ behaviour are hard to discern from their genetic heritage. In the following study, we aimed at investigating between- and within-breed differences in the personality of two-months-old puppies by direct behavioural observation of 377 puppies from 12 breeds. Results showed that there was no effect of sex, however both breed and litter, significantly affected all personality traits. Breed on average explained 10% of the variance, whereas the effect of litter was noticeably higher, explaining on average 23% of the variance. Taken together, our results suggest that breed does have some influence on personality traits, but they also highlight the importance of taking litter effects into account.
... A common practice for dog breeders is to remove a puppy from their littermates and the dam and hold the puppy for a short period (Battaglia, 2009). In a study (Gazzano et al., 2008) to assess the effect of handling on later behaviors, 43 dogs were separated into four groups: nonhandled puppies raised in a family, handled puppies raised in a family, nonhandled puppies raised in a professional breeding kennel, and handled puppies raised in a professional breeding kennel. Handled puppies were removed from the litter between PNDs three and 21, massaged and turned on their back where an abdominal massage was undertaken before the puppy was placed back into the litter. ...
... Handled puppies were removed from the litter between PNDs three and 21, massaged and turned on their back where an abdominal massage was undertaken before the puppy was placed back into the litter. The outcome of an isolation test indicated that handled puppies seemed calmer, showed a longer latency to vocalize, and spent significantly more time in exploratory activity compared to nonhandled puppies (Gazzano et al., 2008). Using the Bio Sensor stimulation exercises (tactile stimulation, head held erect, head pointed down, supine position, and thermal stimulation) once a day on each puppy, it was highlighted that handled puppies showed more tolerance to stress than puppies not handled (Battaglia, 2009). ...
Article
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An estimated 40% of dogs living as companion dogs are believed to exhibit some form of anxiety or stress-related behavior. Although this represents a significant welfare issue, our understanding of the origins of anxiety in dogs remains limited. Genetics, environment, and training methods have all been investigated, yet little attention has been paid to the care provided by the mother. Research conducted with altricial species that rely heavily on maternal care for survival, suggests that early maternal care behaviors play an important role in the development of the infant and thus, behavior and temperament later in life. The most critical maternal behaviors include contact, nursing, licking (particularly anogenital licking which stimulates urination and defecation), punishment, thermoregulation and movement. In domestic dogs, rapid neurological development occurs between postnatal days 3 and 16, yet investigations fail to measure or acknowledge the role that maternal care has during this critical window, or how the experience of puppies during this time influences behavior later in life, including response to stressful events. Evidence from the rodent literature indicates profound effects of maternal care on neurological and behavioral development. While there may be differences in maternal behavior between rats and dogs, the underlying physiological mechanisms underpinning the programming of stress-related behavior is likely to be similar. For instance, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis or stress responsiveness pathways are profoundly altered by maternal behaviors, and these changes are conserved throughout adult life. . In this review we examine the literature related to maternal care in canids alongside the literature related to maternal care in rodents and provide evidence that maternal care is critical to the healthy development of domestic dogs. Emphasis is placed on methodologies for quantifying maternal care, and on the physiological mechanisms that might underpin behavioral changes induced by different amounts and types of maternal care.
... The introduction and intensity of each stimulus was tailored to mirror puppy physiological and behavioral development. The literature review of current nest stimulation theories resulted in five key themes; tactile stimuli (Scott and Fuller, 1965;Dunbar, 1985;Holst et al., 2002;Battaglia, 2009), auditory stimuli, visual stimuli, interaction with people (Scott and Fuller, 1965;Boxall et al., 2004;Gazzano et al., 2008) and interaction with the environment (Hubrecht, 1995;Horwitz, 1999;Boxall et al., 2004). The individual stimuli used within each theme were identified through a focus group of Guide Dog UK breeding staff. ...
... Early life experiences have a much greater impact on future behaviors than experiences at any other stages of the life cycle (Levine, 1962;Simmel and Baker, 1980;). In dogs, nest socialization procedures play a particularly strong role in shaping adult behavioral displays (Champagne et al., 2003;Gazzano et al., 2008;Foyer et al., 2014). ...
Article
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Studies identifying the underlying determinants of adult dog behavior and highlighting successful methods of early intervention are essential to reduce and ultimately prevent problem behaviors developing. The aim of this research was to create and assess the impact of a new nest socialization program. The new program was designed to: 1) provide a highly effective socialization experience, 2) be quick and easy to complete and 3) utilize low cost materials. The program was created by combining existing nest stimulation theories with young puppy developmental stages. As such the introduction and intensity of each socialization stimulus was tailored to mirror puppy physiological and behavioral development from birth to six weeks of age. The new socialization program was evaluated using six litters raised under standardized conditions. The impact of the program was measured using a practical puppy behavioral assessment at six weeks of age and an eight-month dog handler behavioral questionnaire.Results showed a significant positive effect of the new socialization program on puppy behavioral development, which persisted throughout the first year of life. Puppies that received the program had more favorable scores in a six-week practical assessment (P ≪ 0.01) and an eight-month dog handler questionnaire for separation-related behavior (P ≪ 0.01), distraction (P ≪ 0.01), general anxiety (P = 0.02) and body sensitivity (P = 0.03). This is the first socialization program tailored to the developmental stage of puppies from birth to six weeks of age to demonstrate measurable, long-term effects on individual dog behavioral traits. Results will be of interest to working and assistance dog organizations, animal shelters and pet dog breeders.
... Young Adult Test Performance. Dogs participated in 11 tasks of temperament and cognition as young adults, just before entering The Seeing Eye training program (5,6,22,26,27,31,(37)(38)(39)(40)(41)(42)(43)(44)(45)(46)(47)(48)(49)(50)(51) (SI Materials and Methods and Table S2). The 11 tasks yielded scores that could be summarized by 13 PCs and two standardized/ z-scored variables (SI Materials and Methods and Table S7). ...
Article
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A continuing debate in studies of social development in both humans and other animals is the extent to which early life experiences affect adult behavior. Also unclear are the relative contributions of cognitive skills (“intelligence”) and temperament for successful outcomes. Guide dogs are particularly suited to research on these questions. To succeed as a guide dog, individuals must accomplish complex navigation and decision making without succumbing to distractions and unforeseen obstacles. Faced with these rigorous demands, only ∼70% of dogs that enter training ultimately achieve success. What predicts success as a guide dog? To address these questions, we followed 98 puppies from birth to adulthood. We found that high levels of overall maternal behavior were linked with a higher likelihood of program failure. Furthermore, mothers whose nursing style required greater effort by puppies were more likely to produce successful offspring, whereas mothers whose nursing style required less effort were more likely to produce offspring that failed. In young adults, an inability to solve a multistep task quickly, compounded with high levels of perseveration during the task, was associated with failure. Young adults that were released from the program also appeared more anxious, as indicated by a short latency to vocalize when faced with a novel object task. Our results suggest that both maternal nursing behavior and individual traits of cognition and temperament are associated with guide dog success.
... This task measured a dog's comfort level when placed alone in an unfamiliar environment (similar to Gazzano et al. 2008;Wilsson and Sundgren 1998). The handler released the dog into the empty lighted testing room, then left for 2 min. ...
Article
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It is often assumed that measures of temperament within individuals are more correlated to one another than to measures of problem solving. However, the exact relationship between temperament and problem-solving tasks remains unclear because large-scale studies have typically focused on each independently. To explore this relationship, we tested 119 prospective adolescent guide dogs on a battery of 11 temperament and problem-solving tasks. We then summarized the data using both confirmatory factor analysis and exploratory principal components analysis. Results of confirmatory analysis revealed that a priori separation of tests as measuring either temperament or problem solving led to weak results, poor model fit, some construct validity, and no predictive validity. In contrast, results of exploratory analysis were best summarized by principal components that mixed temperament and problem-solving traits. These components had both construct and predictive validity (i.e., association with success in the guide dog training program). We conclude that there is complex interplay between tasks of “temperament” and “problem solving” and that the study of both together will be more informative than approaches that consider either in isolation.
... Fearful dogs had experienced less socialisation events in the age of 7-16 weeks than dogs showing no fear. Many mammals, including dogs, have a sensitive period for socialisation in the early postnatal life, during which the nervous system is immature and receptive for novel external stimuli 34,35 . Experiences and events taking place especially during 3-14 weeks of age can significantly affect dog's behaviour throughout life 29,30,35 . ...
Article
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Problematic behaviours are severe welfare issues for one of the world’s most popular pets, the domestic dog. One of the most prevalent behavioural problem that causes distress to dogs is social fearfulness, meaning fear of conspecifics or unfamiliar people. To identify demographic and environmental factors associated with fear of dogs and strangers, logistic regression was utilised with a large dataset of 6,000 pet dogs collected through an owner-filled behavioural survey. Social fearfulness was associated with several factors, including urban environment, poor socialisation during puppyhood, infrequent participation in training and other activities, small body size, female sex, and neutering. In addition, we identified several breed differences, suggesting a genetic contribution to social fearfulness. These findings highlight the role of inadequate socialisation, inactivity, and urban living environmental in fear-related behavioural problems in dogs. Improvements in the management and breeding practices of dogs could, therefore, enhance the welfare of man’s best friend.
... Many studies on early life socialization have had mixed results, possibly because of the variability in the standard of the reference control condition. For instance, Gazzano, Mariti, Notari, Sighieri, and McBride (2008) found that the rearing environment (kennel vs. family home) had no major effect on puppies' behavior tested other than vocalizations on separation. Likewise Seksel et al. (1999) found that structured socialization opportunities in early life above that naturally provided in a pet home had no effect on the puppies' obedience. ...
Article
Scent detection dogs are used in a variety of contexts; however, very few dogs successfully complete their training, and many others are withdrawn from service prematurely due to both detection accuracy issues in the field and wider behavioral issues. This article aims to review our understanding of the factors affecting variation in scent detection dogs' learning of the tasks and performance in the field. For this we deconstructed the scent detection task into its key behavioral elements and examined the literature relating to the factors affecting variation in the dogs' success all across their development. We first consider factors that affect individuality and individual performance, in general, such as temperament, arousal, the handler-dog relationship, training regimes, and the housing and management of scent detections dogs. We then focus on tasks specific to scent detection dogs and critically appraise relevant literature relating to the learning and performance of these tasks by dogs. This includes prenatal and early life exposure and later environment, training regime, and the human-dog relationship, as well as performance limiting factors such as the need to pant in hot environments during work.
... Puppies who are reared inside a home, at least for a period of time, rather than in a kennel, have been found to perform better on tests that measure social attraction and cooperativity, and they display lower levels of aggression and apprehensive behavior (42,43). The degree of human handling experienced has also been shown to be influential in the development of traits such as confidence, calmness, and stress resilience, with more experience leading to better outcomes (44)(45)(46). ...
Article
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In many countries where companion dogs are popular, owners are strongly encouraged to neuter their dogs. Consequently, millions of dogs are neutered each year. In recent times considerable attention has been paid to the possible effects of such procedures on canine health and welfare. Less scrutinized are the potential ramifications of widespread neutering on the breeding of dogs and their continued success as human companions. This paper summarizes research investigating factors influencing the breeding and rearing of dogs most suited to companionship roles in contemporary, typically high-density, communities, and briefly reviews current breeder practices. It then argues that a fundamental shift to promote inclusion of “proven” companion dogs in the gene pool, as opposed to dogs meeting conformation or working/sporting standards, is required to successfully meet the needs of modern urban dog owners. A new model is proposed, whereby responsible owners and breeders work together to produce dogs most suited for life as human companions.
... The results of their work suggested that dogs, similar to other social species, show a limited period in which the individual is most predisposed to form positive social relationships (Scott, 1962;Scott & Fuller, 1965). Most of the studies mainly concentrated on the effects of social or sensory deprivation/stimulation on puppies' behavior at different ages or on adult behavior (e.g., Fox & Stelzner, 1966, 1967Freedman et al., 1961;Gazzano et al., 2008;Igel & Calvin, 1960;Pettijohn et al., 1977;Thompson & Heron, 1954). For instance, Fox and Stelzner (1966) investigated the effect of regular handling from birth on the behavior of puppies until the age of 5 weeks and found that puppies from the treated group were generally more sociable with humans and were more dominant in social situations with their peers. ...
Article
Introduction: Most of the studies investigating the effect of early rearing environment in dogs used laboratory dogs and reported that early experiences markedly affect the puppies' behavior. However, the subjects of these experiments cannot be considered as representatives of family dogs. Methods: In this study, we investigated whether different raising conditions shape social behavior toward humans in 8-week-old family dog puppies of two breeds, Labrador and Czechoslovakian wolf dog. The puppies were tested in a series of tests that represented typical situations of family dogs. Results: We found that Czechoslovakian wolf dog puppies were more active than Labrador puppies in general, as they were more likely to explore the environment and the objects and spent more time doing so. Tendency to gaze at humans also varied between breeds, but in a context-specific way. Additionally, puppies housed separately from their mother interacted more with toys, puppies housed in a kennel tended to stay closer to the experimenter than puppies raised in the house, and puppies housed in a kennel tended to stay in the proximity of the experimenter more than puppies raised in the house. Conclusions: Our results provide evidence for early keeping conditions influencing social behavior and also highlight breed differences in puppies' behavior. Whether these differences are due to different developmental patterns and/or behavioral predispositions remains to be explored.
... androgens in humans [116,117] or stress hormone levels of the mother [118,119], on the behavioral development of the young. Likewise external factors after birth, such as quality of maternal care [120,121], degree, variety and quality of stimulation during the first months of life [107,122,123] and later on in life in dogs [124] have been described to affect behavior. Characteristics of the owner, e.g. ...
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In humans, the personality dimension ‘sensory processing sensitivity (SPS)’, also referred to as “high sensitivity”, involves deeper processing of sensory information, which can be associated with physiological and behavioral overarousal. However, it has not been studied up to now whether this dimension also exists in other species. SPS can influence how people perceive the environment and how this affects them, thus a similar dimension in animals would be highly relevant with respect to animal welfare. We therefore explored whether SPS translates to dogs, one of the primary model species in personality research. A 32-item questionnaire to assess the “highly sensitive dog score” (HSD-s) was developed based on the “highly sensitive person” (HSP) questionnaire. A large-scale, international online survey was conducted, including the HSD questionnaire, as well as questions on fearfulness, neuroticism, “demographic” (e.g. dog sex, age, weight; age at adoption, etc.) and “human” factors (e.g. owner age, sex, profession, communication style, etc.), and the HSP questionnaire. Data were analyzed using linear mixed effect models with forward stepwise selection to test prediction of HSD-s by the above-mentioned factors, with country of residence and dog breed treated as random effects. A total of 3647 questionnaires were fully completed. HSD-, fearfulness, neuroticism and HSP-scores showed good internal consistencies, and HSD-s only moderately correlated with fearfulness and neuroticism scores, paralleling previous findings in humans. Intra- (N = 447) and inter-rater (N = 120) reliabilities were good. Demographic and human factors, including HSP score, explained only a small amount of the variance of HSD-s. A PCA analysis identified three subtraits of SPS, comparable to human findings. Overall, the measured personality dimension in dogs showed good internal consistency, partial independence from fearfulness and neuroticism, and good intra- and inter-rater reliability, indicating good construct validity of the HSD questionnaire. Human and demographic factors only marginally affected the HSD-s suggesting that, as hypothesized for human SPS, a genetic basis may underlie this dimension within the dog species.
... Given that the socialization process starts from the third week of life, dog breeders play a vital role in proper socialization of puppies. Thus, by providing daily care, hygiene and monitoring contact with their dogs, breeders make a critical contribution to the development of a puppy to their surroundings and the development of a positive relationship with humans (Hubrecht, 1995;Horwitz, 1999;Boxall et al., 2004;Gazzano et al., 2008;Bradshaw, 2011). ...
Article
Domestic dogs experience a sensitive period for learning during early life and conditions during this time can have important consequences in the adult. We investigated the effects of kennel environment during early life, comparing the temperaments of puppies reared in indoor kennels, located in the breeder’s house, with those reared in outdoor kennels, located outside the breeder’s house and with limited human contact. The study was conducted on 264 puppies from 44 litters belonging to 21 breeds. Of these, 160 puppies were reared in indoor kennels (70 female and 90 male puppies, 27 litters) and 104 in outdoor kennels (52 female and 52 male, 17 litters). We conducted PAT (Puppy Aptitude Testing) tests to measure puppy temperament at an age of seven or eight weeks. Using a gamma GLMM fitted using Bayesian inference, we showed a statistically important effect of kennelling on posterior mean PAT scores. Puppies kennelled outdoors scored higher on PAT testing, irrespective of sex or age, and after accommodating for dependency in the data due to litter identity. Puppies raised outdoors showed an elevated tendency for submissive behaviour, a greater risk of aggression through fear, and a lowered capacity for coping with novel conditions. These findings have direct implications for dog breeders and illustrates that enrichment of the environment of dam and puppies can mitigate the risk of behavioural problems in adult dogs.
... 54 In animal studies (squirrel, monkey and rodents) brief motherinfant separations may produce decreased reactivity to stress when tested later in novel situations. 55 Some evidence also exists from dogs; brief separation and handling of puppies increase emotional stability and reduce stress reactivity, 56 and several breeders are already using this kind of early gentling protocol for newborn puppies. In children, successful happy separations (staying with grandparents or sleepovers with friends) seem to increase resilience when facing unhappy separations (e.g. ...
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Katriina Tiira1,2 1SmartDOG, Riihimäki 11130, Finland; 2Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, FinlandCorrespondence: Katriina TiiraDepartment of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, University of Helsinki, PO Box 57, Helsinki FI-00014, FinlandEmail Katriina.tiira@helsinki.fiAbstract: What are the key factors of psychological resilience in dogs? Why do some individuals recover swiftly from neglect, abuse or several years of harsh kennel environments, while some seem to be permanently traumatized by much milder adverse experiences? Resilience is a concept seldom discussed in canine studies; however, many studies have identified risk factors (both environmental and genetic) for developing anxieties, aggression or other behavioral problems. These studies also indicate several factors that may act as protective agents against life adversities. In this paper, I will present some of the most commonly identified key factors of resilience in other species and discuss what has been found in dogs. This paper is an attempt to raise focus on the positive key factors in a dog’s life that are important for dog welfare, a healthy psychological outcome and are also important building blocks of a happy and well-behaving pet.Keywords: resilience, dog, stress
... The outdoor environment was adequately protected against bad weather and direct sunlight. All the puppies were gently handled daily, as this practice has been shown to have beneficial effects on the emotional development and welfare of the puppy (19,20). ...
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Many studies have analyzed the behavior of puppies during their socialization period, while little attention has been paid to the transitional period, when vision and hearing develop. Here, we compared the average age of sensory and motor development, and the behavior among a total of 25 puppies. Each litter was videotaped during 1-hour daily sessions on postnatal days 10-21 and coded for the following mutually exclusive behavioral categories: sleeping, suckling and moving. The moving category included side-to-side head swinging, exploring, rolling and allogrooming. The opening of the eyelids, appearance of the startle response and ability to stand up with either the front or hind legs were identified. The duration and frequency of puppy behaviors varied significantly with breed and season of birth. Breed and gender differences in gross motor and sensory development were also observed. These findings may turn out to be crucial to enhance the welfare, standards of rearing, and behavioral interventions aimed at improving adaptability to novel stimuli in pet dogs.
... A dog's previous experience, and the associations they have made in the past, will help to predict how they may react in similar situations in the future. Early experience can have an effect on future social behaviour and stress responses (Spencer, 2017); influence emotional wellbeing (Gazzano et al., 2008b); and provide a good foundation for future learning and training (Seksel et al., 1999). Additionally, early negative experience is likely to predict aggressive responses in the future (Wormald et al., 2016), and can impact on behaviour and cognition as an adult (Chaby et al., 2013). ...
Article
For many dogs, receiving veterinary care can be a stressful, fearful or traumatic experience. However, understanding and improving the veterinary experience for dogs is challenging due to the dynamic nature of the veterinary visit, the number of stakeholders involved (veterinarian, guardian and dog), and the perception and prior experience of the dog. The majority of recommendations for reducing stress typically fall to either the owner or the veterinarian and involve changes to management or active training and counter-conditioning practices. While many recommendations to reduce fear or distress during veterinary visits are readily available, appear common-sense in nature, and are anecdotally successful, overall evidence of their efficacy is lacking. Further, it is not enough to simply identify strategies designed to reduce distress in the veterinary context; investigating ways in which they can be efficiently and successfully implemented is integral to the continual improvement of dog welfare in the veterinary industry. In this review, we summarise the current literature relating to companion dogs’ experience during veterinary visits, and explore the factors influencing that experience. We conclude by providing a summary of the recommendations available to reduce stress within the veterinary context, categorised by stakeholder responsibility, and highlight potential areas for future research.
... Although there has been limited investigation into factors associated with the acquisition of puppies under eight weeks of age and/or without viewing the mother, literature exists that considers how early life experiences (such as maternal care, genetics, environment, attachment and socialisation) can impact on physiological and behavioural development. [12][13][14][15] Two examples of studies which have assessed the impacts of early separation from maternal care are, first, Slabbert and Rasa who reported puppies separated from maternal care at six weeks (but not their littermates) showed greater weight loss, distress, disease susceptibility and mortality up to six months of age compared with puppies that had remained in maternal care until 12 weeks of age. 16 Secondly, Pierantoni and colleagues reported that 70 puppies separated from maternal care between 30 and 40 days were significantly more likely to display destructive behaviour, excessive barking, fearfulness on walks, noise reactivity, possessiveness towards food and toys, and attention-seeking compared with 70 puppies that remained in maternal care until two months (60 days) of age. ...
Article
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Background Puppy acquisition decisions may impact upon the health and behaviour of these dogs in later life. It is widely recommended by welfare organisations and veterinary bodies that puppies should not leave maternal care until at least eight weeks (56 days) of age, and that when acquiring a puppy it should be viewed with its mother. Methods Owner-reported prospective data were used to explore risk factors for puppy acquisition age, and whether the mother was viewed during acquisition, within a cohort of dog owners participating in an ongoing longitudinal project. Results A quarter (461/1844) of puppies were acquired under eight weeks of age and 8.1 per cent were obtained without viewing the mother (n=149). Only 1.6 per cent of puppies were obtained under eight weeks of age and without the mother being seen (n=30). Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that owners who intended their puppy to be a working dog, visited their puppy prior to acquisition, and/or obtained a puppy of unknown breed composition had increased odds of acquiring a puppy under eight weeks of age. The odds also increased as the number of dogs in the household increased but decreased as annual income rose. Owners who visited their puppy prior to acquisition, obtained a Kennel Club registered puppy, viewed the puppy’s father, and/or collected their puppy from the breeder’s home had decreased odds of acquiring a puppy without viewing the mother. Conclusion Targeting interventions towards identified owners who are more likely to acquire a puppy against current recommendations could help reduce these types of acquisitions.
... It is possible small breed dogs may show different taste preferences from adults if assessed in early puppyhood. Development of puppies is a delicate period, deeply influenced by the mother (Guardini et al., 2015;2016;2017) and external stimuli (Gazzano et al., 2008) and categorized into four phases: neonatal, transitional, socialization and juvenile (Nott, 1992). Puppies in this study were assessed during the juvenile developmental period. ...
Article
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Balanced diets that meet nutritional requirements for various life stages of animals are important to sustain health as dietary needs change with development. Dog owners want to offer a tasty and nutritionally balanced diet to their dogs. Dog food product developers strive to formulate such diets in a timely manner and that meet a dog's specific nutritional requirements in various life stages. Palatability assessments during product development can be expensive and time-consuming when evaluating specially designed foods for multiple breed types, dog sizes, and ages of dogs. Assessments of puppy food by puppies is especially expensive because a narrow window for food trials exists before they reach adulthood. Moreover, it is not practical or ideal for palatability assessment centers to continually acquire puppies when the dogs can only test as puppies for a fraction of their lifetime. Thus, we evaluated if preference trials of diets formulated specifically for small breed puppies could be assessed by small breed adults and yield similar results. We ran seven paired preference trials over 14 days with twenty dogs at ages 5-8 months old (i.e., puppyhood) and again at 14-17 months old (i.e., adulthood). In six of seven trials, dogs were consistent in their preference as adults and as puppies. While it is not recommended that dog owners feed their adult dog puppy food on a regular basis, the results suggest that pet food developers do not need to have constant access to puppy panels to evaluate palatability of puppy foods. Rather, adult dog panels could be a quicker, more practical, and more economical option to aid pet food developers in getting a product to market that puppies would likely enjoy.
... It is well known how the early experiences of pups have a severe impact in determining later behavior in domestic dogs [17,18]. However, the literature on the impact of motherlitter interactions is quite limited and contradictory. ...
Article
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In recent years, many studies on the role of oxytocin (OXT) in the onset of parental care, regulation of social bonding, and modulation of the emotional state have been published. However, its possible regulation of maternal behavior in lactating dogs has not been investigated yet. For this reason, the present study aimed at assessing potential correlations between salivary oxytocin and maternal behavior in 25 lactating Labrador Retriever dogs. Salivary concentrations of OXT (sOXT) were unrelated to the amount of maternal care except for a weak negative correlation with sniffing/poking behavior. Moreover, sOXT was positively correlated with the percentage of male puppies. Sniffing/poking behavior, in turn, was positively correlated with the duration of time the mothers spent out of the whelping box, while the number of male puppies showed a positive correlation with lateral nursing, a position known to provide puppies the easiest access to the milk. Taken together, these results suggest that sOXT may not be strongly associated with maternal care dynamics but could be correlated with sex-biased parental investment in dogs.
... The puppy is handled by a specialized staff member for five minutes a day, from the second week to the end of the third week of life; the fingers are gently passed over the gums, the auricles are massaged, the limbs and paws are palpated. This practice has the purpose of obtaining a habituation to handling that should allow better management of the dog, also for when the adult dog will be managed during medical examinations and common practices (Gazzano et al., 2008). This form of manipulation of cutaneous and mucosal tissues aims to guarantee a sensory homeostasis at higher levels allowing the adult dog to wear, without discomfort, some devices used during work, such as protective shoes for rubble or anti-UV glasses, for dogs that are more predisposed to develop keratoconjunctivitis sicca. ...
Article
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Military dogs, besides being exposed to stressful events during operations (loud noises, transport, exposure to high and low temperatures, etc.), can be involved in explosions and/or gunshot wounds. Breeding, selection and management of working dogs are specific activities that involve a deep knowledge of different disciplines such as genetics, animal husbandry, internal medicine and applied ethology. This study aimed to provide specific guidelines on the breeding and behavioral management of German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois military dogs, from birth to the seventh month of age. The deep knowledge of the dog from the point of view of applied ethology and the psychology of learning, beyond a natural predisposition to interact correctly with the dog, are the most important topics for a good canine trainer; education and dog training are only a direct and natural consequence of this.
... Experiences from relationships, especially early in life, are important for an animal's social development and its ability to cope with its surroundings (e.g. Foyer et al., 2014;Gazzano et al., 2008a;Sachser et al., 2013 for a review). ...
Article
Previous research suggests that dogs (Canis familiaris) form attachment bonds to their owners and that the strengths of the attachment can vary. However, it does not seem reasonable to believe that all dogs share the same attachment style, considering their differences in genetic background, their previous experiences and the many different caregiving strategies that are known to exist among humans. Rather, the level of security felt by dogs towards their owner probably varies, as seen in children towards their parent. The aim of this review is to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of current approaches of investigating the dog-human relationship in order to contribute to this rapidly developing field. The main focus is related to trying to increase our understanding about the dog’s experience of the relationship. Current knowledge about the dog-human relationship is reviewed and discussed. Concepts from human psychology are used to clarify some of the terms that are also used in anthrozoology, thereby giving stronger theoretical support to our suggestions of how to adapt and apply methods to further develop assessments of dog-owner relationships. We highlight potential factors that deserve more attention in future studies to improve our understanding of the dog-human relationship, and we suggest a more coordinated approach, with a unified terminology, to develop an overarching framework. Suggestions for the future to achieve this include focusing on attachment styles at the individual dog level, rather than talking about the ‘average’ dog. Furthermore, a dyadic approach is suggested, where both the attributes of the dog (its attachment style) and the owner (its caregiving strategy) are incorporated when assessing the relationship. One way to do this is to focus on the balance between the dog’s separation distress and how effective the owner’s caregiving strategy is in calming the dog when reunited. The consequence, from an applied point of view, is owners becoming more aware of what type of attachment style their dog has and what caregiving strategy they have. Knowing this may contribute to identifying sources of conflict in past or present relationships, so helping owners form more successful and positive relationships in the future. It may also contribute to better matching when rehoming shelter dogs.
... The goal of selective breeding is to increase the average genetic merit of a population, thereby increasing the likelihood that, in the next generation, more dogs will be higher-performing than dogs in the current generation. To reach this goal, successful breeding programs will also attempt to optimize the environment in early puppyhood for long-term success (14)(15)(16)(17). ...
Article
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The ancient partnership between people and dogs is struggling to meet modern day needs, with demand exceeding our capacity to safely breed high-performing and healthy dogs. New statistical genetic approaches and genomic technology have the potential to revolutionize dog breeding, by transitioning from problematic phenotypic selection to methods that can preserve genetic diversity while increasing the proportion of successful dogs. To fully utilize this technology will require ultra large datasets, with hundreds of thousands of dogs. Today, dog breeders struggle to apply even the tools available now, stymied by the need for sophisticated data storage infrastructure and expertise in statistical genetics. Here, we review recent advances in animal breeding, and how a new approach to dog breeding would address the needs of working dog breeders today while also providing them with a path to realizing the next generation of technology. We provide a step-by-step guide for dog breeders to start implementing estimated breeding value selection in their programs now, and we describe how genotyping and DNA sequencing data, as it becomes more widely available, can be integrated into this approach. Finally, we call for data sharing among dog breeding programs as a path to achieving a future that can benefit all dogs, and their human partners too.
... Studies on research dogs have shown that handling for 3 minutes per day and exposure to stressors (e.g., changes in ambient temperature, different flooring, different handlers) in a manner that gradually increases in intensity and duration has positive effects on resistance to disease, emotional reactivity, and problem solving (Meunier, 2006). Gazzano et al. (2008) reported that well-handled puppies of various breeds were calmer. Presentation of video images of animate (e.g., people, dogs) and inanimate (e.g., traffic, vacuum cleaner) stimuli to puppies was associated with a reduction in later fear behaviors (Pluijmakers et al., 2010). ...
Article
The causes of fear and anxiety in working dogs are multifactorial and may include inherited characteristics that differ between individuals (e.g. Goddard and Beilharz, 1982; 1984a,b), influences of the environment (Lefebvre et al., 2007), and learned experiences during particular sensitive periods (Appleby et al., 2002) and throughout life. Fear-related behavior compromises performance, leads to significant numbers of dogs failing to complete training (e.g., Murphy, 1995; Batt et al., 2008), early withdrawals from working roles (Caron-Lormier et al., 2016), and can jeopardize dog and handler safety. Hence, amelioration of fear and anxiety is critical to maintain dogs in working roles and to ensure their well-being. Although current methods of selection and training are seemingly effective at producing many dogs which work in a remarkable array of environments, some dogs do not make the grade, and longevity of service is not always maximized. Programs should strive for optimal efficiency and they need to continually analyze the value of each component of their program, seek evidence for its value and explore potential evidence-based improvements. Here we discuss scientific evidence for methods and strategies which may be of value in reducing the risk of fear behaviors developing in the working dog population and suggest potentially valuable techniques and future research to explore the benefit of these approaches. The importance of environmental influences, learning opportunities, and effects of underlying temperament on the outward expression of fear and anxiety should not be underestimated. Identification of characteristics which predict resilience to stress are valuable, both to enable careful breeding for these traits and to develop predictive tests for puppies and procured animals. It is vitally important to rear animals in optimal environments and introduce them to a range of stimuli in a positive, controlled, and gradual way, as these can all help minimize the number of dogs which develop work-inhibiting fears. Future research should explore innovative methods to best measure the relative resilience of dogs to stressful events. This could include developing optimal exposure protocols to minimize the development of fear and anxiety, and exploring the influence of social learning and the most effective elements of stimulus presentation.
... If the animal survives, feeding by its woman owner can develop a relationship between the two and can be seen as a form of mothering (Cormier 2003b) since the young animal becomes completely dependent on their caretaker for their survival (Costa 2017). It is interesting in this context that in modern dogs, exposure to human handling during the nesting period seems to have a beneficial influence on developing the desired behaviour of a confident, non-aggressive social companion (Fox and Stelzner 1966;Gazzano et al. 2008). Young wild animals reared by women can be considered as surrogate children, as is the case in both Amazonia (Cormier 2003a;Costa 2017) and also in Siberia, where childless Ket families raised bear cubs captured when their mother was killed as their sons or daughters (Alexejenko 1963). ...
Article
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Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the initial steps in the domestication process of the wolf. We discuss the human-initiated model in which wolf pups were brought to camp sites by male hunters and cared for by nursing women. A good relation between the more sociable and playful pups and the women and their children likely formed affiliative bonds and led to the survival of such pups into maturity. Some of these animals could have reproduced and delivered at least one litter. A selection on the behaviour of subsequent generations could ultimately have led to Palaeolithic dogs.
... One potential explanation for these findings is that small doses of mild stressors-i.e., having an adequate but less responsive mother, nursing from a more challenging positionmight help to facilitate resilience from a young age. This idea of mild stressors leading to positive long-term outcomes is echoed in the handling literature, wherein introducing brief separations from the mother and handling (i.e., tactile stimulation) by a human in the first few weeks of life has been associated with positive emotional and cognitive outcomes in both rodents (154)(155)(156)(157) and dog puppies (158)(159)(160). Thus, especially as we continue to learn more about the long-ranging effects of early environment over the first few weeks in dogs, breeders can use these findings to encourage and generate optimal conditions. ...
Article
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Dogs perform a variety of integral roles in our society, engaging in work ranging from assistance (e.g., service dogs, guide dogs) and therapy to detection (e.g., search-and-rescue dogs, explosive detection dogs) and protection (e.g., military and law enforcement dogs). However, success in these roles, which requires dogs to meet challenging behavioral criteria and to undergo extensive training, is far from guaranteed. Therefore, enhancing the selection process is critical for the effectiveness and efficiency of working dog programs and has the potential to optimize how resources are invested in these programs, increase the number of available working dogs, and improve working dog welfare. In this paper, we review two main approaches for achieving this goal: (1) developing selection tests and criteria that can efficiently and effectively identify ideal candidates from the overall pool of candidate dogs, and (2) developing approaches to enhance performance, both at the individual and population level, via improvements in rearing, training, and breeding. We summarize key findings from the empirical literature regarding best practices for assessing, selecting, and improving working dogs, and conclude with future steps and recommendations for working dog organizations, breeders, trainers, and researchers.
... It should not be forgotten, a new environment and, above all, an owner affect a dog's personality and behaviour significantly. Gazzano et al. [2008], however, indicated that puppy rearing in a stimulus -rich environment, through which a young animal will have an opportunity to develop greater emotional stability and therefore they will also learn new behaviours more easily in the future, is also of key importance. ...
Article
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The Perro de Presa Canario is still an unexplored and underrated breed of dogs. The breed had been used in dog fighting and to protect human dwellings for ages. An analysis of biometric traits conducted between the birth and the age of 6 months has shown a harmonious and rapid puppy growth. Zoometric measurements and conformation indices in both dogs and bitches were found to be comparable. At age one week the reported body weight of the bitches was 498 g, and the dogs were heavier by 57 g. At six months of age, the bitches weighed approximately 16.35 kg, whereas the dogs were on average 2.15 kg heavier. Gender has been found to affect weight gains (P ≤ 0.01) and the development of pectoral girdle (P ≤ 0.05). The PAT and the Campbell tests results have clearly shown that the Perro de Presa Canario breed is very dominant. Besides, it appears to be stubborn, intelligent and committed.
... Si bien cabría la necesidad de ampliar el estudio sobre los efectos de la crianza de madres adoptivas sobre cachorros de perros domésticos, este trabajo muestra de qué manera la presencia de otra perra puede coordinar las actividades de juego y aprendizaje de la camada, favoreciendo el período de formación de los cachorros. Este proceso resulta indispensable para generar una estabilidad emocional y conductual, mejorando las respuestas de los individuos hacia los estresores ambientales y por consiguiente optimizando su bienestar 5,11 . ...
Article
p>El período de socialización del perro doméstico se extiende entre las tres y doce semanas de vida y proporciona al individuo capacidades para enfrentar el ambiente y establecer relaciones sociales, tanto intra como interespecíficas. En dicho lapso tiene lugar el juego que tendrá efectos beneficiosos o perjudiciales para el cachorro, dependiendo del contexto en el cual se desarrolla. En este trabajo se estudió el juego social de una camada (n = 6) de Weimaraner, comparando la respuesta de sus individuos frente a dos madres. Por un lado, la madre biológica, con patología comportamental de ansiedad por separación, y por el otro una perra Fox Terrier Smooth de perfil conductual normal. Ambas convivían con los cachorros en el mismo hogar. Se filmaron dos sesiones de juego con cada hembra interviniente en horario matutino. Se efectuó observación focal en cada individuo. Para comparar los efectos madre biológica o adoptiva, tanto para juego social como exploración ambiental, se registró sólo la frecuencia de las variables elegidas, sin considerar su intensidad ni duración. Para el análisis estadístico se utilizó el test no paramétrico de Kolmogorov–Smirnov a dos colas con un nivel de significación del 5%. Los cachorros realizaron más actividades de contacto táctil, saltar, morder, aplastarse contra el suelo, sacudir objeto y olfatear en presencia de la perra adoptiva que ante la madre biológica (p = 0,01). No se encontraron diferencias significativas entre los sexos (p > 0,05), sugiriendo que a esta edad machos y hembras responderían de manera similar. Si bien cabría la necesidad de ampliar el estudio sobre efectos de la crianza con madres adoptivas, este trabajo muestra que la intervención de perras normales favorece la coordinación de las actividades de juego y aprendizaje, generando estabilidad emocional y conductual en los cachorros</p
... Fox and Stelzner (1966) showed that dogs that were handled from birth to 5 weeks had heavier adrenal glands, were more explorative, were superior in problem-solving, and were more social compared to nonhandled dogs. Gazzano et al. (2008) report similar results comparing puppies being daily gentled between 3 days and 3 weeks of age compared to those not being gentled. Puppies being Table 1 Percent of time during daytime (7:00 AM to 4:00 PM) that mothers spent nursing and licking puppies (N ¼ 15 litters for weeks 2-4; N ¼ 14 for weeks 1, 5, 6; N¼12 for week 7; adapted from Wilsson, 1997) Week ...
Article
Temperament tests for working dogs can provide substantial information about a particular dog's behavioral phenotype. When a larger proportion of the population is tested, the test results can also provide information about the effects of different environmental conditions on the phenotype because if the population is large, the social and physical environments to which the dogs are exposed differ. This means that we need to include in our evaluations the perspective that uses information about the environment in relation to the individual dog's level of development. There is substantial evidence that basic temperament traits in dogs are moderately heritable. There is also evidence that postweaning conditions have a huge effect on development, and this effect is often not assayed. Selective breeding for desired traits in combination with optimal environmental conditions, adapted to the individual dog's level of maturation, is a key point when producing outstanding working dogs.
... Breeders who base selection of breeding stock on behavioural and physical traits should be encouraged. Socialisation of dogs may begin much earlier than the socialisation window reported to commence at 3 weeks of age so arguably, best practice should begin prenatally by ensuring a stress-free birthing environment for the bitch, and, following birth, should involve provision of regular gentling of the newborns [65]. Previous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of giving veterinary behaviourists' advice to puppy owners as a means of reducing UB [66]. ...
Article
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There is increasing evidence that undesirable behaviours (UBs) in dogs can compromise the welfare of both canine companions and their carers. Veterinarians are regularly consulted about affected animals and may be asked to euthanase the more severely affected individuals. A recent study of veterinary records showed that UBs were the predominant cause of mortality in young dogs in the UK. This companion study from Australia reports the proportion of mortality due to UBs among dogs aged three years and under that attended veterinary practices from 2013 to 2018. Deidentified patient records were extracted from the VetCompass Australia database and manually assessed to reveal the prevalence and type of UBs reported. The results reveal that 29.7% of the 4341 dogs that died at three years of age or under had deaths ascribed to at least one UB, and that the most commonly reported UB was aggression. Neutered dogs had 2.5� the odds of death due to an UB compared to intact dogs, and crossbred dogs were found to have 1.43� the odds of a UB related death compared to purebred dogs. The breeds at highest risk were Australian cattle dogs (odds ratio (OR) 4.77) and American Staffordshire terriers (OR 4.69). The attending veterinarian referred behaviour cases to a behaviourist or dog trainer in 11.0% of all UB cases, and attempted pharmacological therapy in 5.9% of cases. The results reveal how often UBs affect dogs and their owners in Australia, and infer the beneficial impact that educating dog owners and veterinary professionals in modifying and managing UBs may have.
... The causes of social phobia are certainly due to deficiencies during the development of the behavior of the puppy that has not been adequately socialized towards the human being. Since Scott & Fuller's pioneering researches in the sixty (Scott & Fuller, 1965), we know that in the period of socialization, puppies must be exposed to the greatest possible number of stimuli (Gazzano et al., 2008a). ...
Article
Aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a carbohydrate-based diet on serotonin blood concentrations in phobic dogs. For this study were recruited, from a public shelter, three dogs (2 neutered females and 1 male), weighing between 15 and 30 kg and living in the shelter for more than six months. Dogs received by a veterinary behaviorist a diagnosis of interspecific social phobia. The dogs were fed 2 daily meals (at 8.00 A.M. and 4.00 P.M.), the first meal was exclusively carbohydrate-based (puffed rice) whereas the second one was composed by the commercial diet. Blood was collected every 21 days after 8 hours from carbohydrate meal to determine the levels of serotonin (5-HT), L-tryptophan (TRP) and cortisol. Statistical analysis did not reveal any significative difference between the serum concentrations of 5-HT, TRP and cortisol, at the different times, despite a tendency to increase during the time. The results of this research are useful for directing further studies in the right direction, verifying the correctness of the hypotheses that can be formulated based on the analysis of these data. Blood concentrations of cortisol suggest that there have been no particular episodes of stress. For this reason, it is possible to exclude that the reduced transformation of TRP in 5-HT is due to an increased activity of tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase induced by cortisol. In conclusion, these results are to be considered as a further step to address, more correctly, further research on the effect of diet manipulation on serotonin blood and brain concentrations.
... A third group was socially isolated between four and five weeks of age (single housing, darkened room, very limited human contact), and these puppies were hyperactive, had low problem-solving skills, high anxiety, and showed very little human interest. A more recent study found that daily, gentle handling until 3 weeks of age resulted in lower emotional (stress) reactivity in an open-field test at 8 weeks (142). ...
... Dogs poorly socialised in their early life were more fearful. The early life until 12-14 weeks of age is a crucial phase that modifies a dog's behaviour 28,59,60 . In Finland, puppies are usually rehomed at the age of 7 or 8 weeks, which leaves considerable socialisation rehearsal to do for the new owners. ...
Article
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Behavioural problems are leading welfare issues in domestic dogs. In particular, anxiety-related behavioural problems, such as fearfulness and noise sensitivity are highly prevalent conditions that cause distress to fearful dogs. To better understand the environmental factors associated with non-social fear, including noise sensitivity, fear of novel situations, and fear of surfaces and heights, a large online survey including data on 13,700 Finnish pet dogs was performed by the dog owners. After fulfilling inclusion criteria, this data consisted of 9,613 dogs with fear of fireworks, 9,513 dogs with fear of thunder, 6,945 dogs with fear of novel situations, and 2,932 dogs with fear of surfaces and heights. Logistic regression analyses revealed that dogs with frequent non-social fear had experienced less socialisation during puppyhood, were more often neutered, had inexperienced owners, lived without conspecifics, participated less frequently in activities or training, and lived in more urban environments. In addition, we identified several breed differences, and a tendency of more common non-social fear in small dog breeds, which suggests a genetic background. Non-social fearfulness has a negative effect on well-being of the dogs. Our findings suggest that the socialisation and the living environment and the value of other dogs’ company and owner interaction via activities and training may improve the well-being of the dogs.
Article
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A review of seven published studies and one anecdotal report involving dogs born in high-volume commercial breeding establishments (CBE) and sold to the consumer directly via the Internet or indirectly through retail pet stores revealed an increased incidence of behavioral and emotional problems that cause distress in adulthood compared with dogs from other sources, especially breeders. The most consistent finding among studies is an increase in aggression, which is most commonly directed toward the dog’s owners and family members but also to unfamiliar people, and other dogs. Increased fear was also identified in response to unfamiliar people, children, other dogs, nonsocial stimuli, and when taken on walks. Undesirable behaviors related to separation and/or attention-seeking and a heightened sensitivity to touch have been reported.
Chapter
This chapter begins with the evolutionary history of dogs. A debate rages about how long ago, and where, a distinct species of dog appeared, given conflicting evidence from archeological sites and genetic analyses. When interacting with dogs, people need to be aware of dog visual, acoustic, and olfactory communication. Olfaction plays an important role in intra- and inter-specific social encounters. The chapter discusses the various patterns of dog communication that are particularly relevant for shelter and foster-care settings. It also presents some of the factors that can affect dog in-shelter behavior. Dogs tend to be on leash (or in kennels) when seeing other dogs, and interaction might be thwarted due to shelter regulations. Because of the importance of inter- and intra-specific interactions and exposure to stimuli and social experiences, shelters with puppies under their care should prioritize early-life socialization or find appropriate housing outside the shelter.
Chapter
Our relationship with dogs runs thousands of years deep. Today, we might know dogs intimately as members of our human family, but we can also know and consider dogs on their own terms, as members of Canis familiaris , with a unique evolutionary history and species‐specific characteristics and needs. This chapter is a resource for all types of dog knowers and caretakers. It relies heavily on empirical research to anchor readers in the foundations of canine behavior—such as dog behavioral development, normal dog behavior, factors influencing behavior, and relationships with people—and considers how these topics affect dogs of all ages and backgrounds who find themselves in the shelter environment.
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La Policía Nacional de Colombia (PNC), en el desarrollo de programas educativos que emplean equipos caninos (Perro-Manejador), utiliza pruebas de selección, fundamentales para determinar cuáles animales son Aptos o No Aptos para iniciar el adiestramiento, continuarlo y finalizar su certificación. Por lo anterior los objetivos de esta investigación fueron: 1). Proponer un conjunto de indicadores etológicos para evaluar el perro detector de sustancias, a partir de una prueba empírica de campo con base a instrumentos y 2). Determinar los criterios de calificación para el perro detector de sustancias durante el proceso de asociación, potenciación y certificación para cada una de las pruebas evaluadas. Lo anterior permite que los instrumentos se validen para que sean confiables y predecir los perros que aprueban o desaprueban las evaluaciones comportamentales, aportando al desarrollo de los programas académicos. Para alcanzar el propósito del estudio, se efectúo un análisis univariado utilizando tablas de contingecia de 2 por 2, estimando la Sensibilidad y Especificidad para cada una de las pruebas realizadas en los caninos detectores de sustancias narcóticas y explosivas (n=549); determinando los valores predictivos de los Test: Instrumento No 1 (Test-retest), Instrumento No 2 (Potenciación y Asociación) e Instrumento No 3 (certificación final). Estableciendo el nivel de acuerdo entre los evaluadores (Kappa de Cohen), correlacionando las 17 variables comportamentales individuales y agrupadas para predecir los caninos Aptos y No Aptos para el servicio policial. Dentro de los principales hallazgos se evidencia una sensibilidad y especificidad altas, con resultados estadísticamente significativos para la mayoría de las variables comportamentales analizadas individualmente (P<0,05). Siendo la “perseverancia”, la prueba que más influye en los Test antes del adiestramiento (Kappa de 1,0), además de un nivel de acuerdo “casi perfecto” entre los evaluadores para la mayoría de las pruebas, prediciendo en un alto grado los caninos Aptos y No Aptos para el servicio policial (Perros No Aptos en la certificación final, n=12; 3%). Es fundamental que los programas académicos que emplean binomios, validen sus pruebas, estableciendo cuales son las variables más representativas para cada evaluación en particular. Lo anterior mejora y ajusta los instrumentos de acuerdo a las necesidades de cada institución o especialidad del servicio canino, disminuyendo costos y mejorando los estándares de calidad, dependiendo del contexto operativo a desempeñar por cada binomio.
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By the time that a puppy joins its new, and hopefully ‘forever’, home at 8 weeks of age, an increasing likelihood of sensitisation to novel social and environmental stimuli can form a significant barrier to the puppy's ability to learn to cope in its new home. In addition, genetic, epigenetic and environmental effects, and deficits, may already have created a puppy that, despite having the neural ability to learn about its new environment, is unable to make positive associations with its new home. This, the first of two articles, examines some of the circumstances associated with breeding stock and the breeding environment, that can form significant impediments to the future emotional and behavioural welfare of puppies. A second article will make further suggestions regarding breeder strategies that can be encouraged by the veterinary team. Such intervention can ensure that families attempting an appropriate introduction of their 8-week-old puppies to their new environments have a fighting chance of success — ultimately producing emotionally robust puppies that cope with their environments and that remain with one family during a long, and emotionally competent, life.
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The aim of this study was to determine if the use of auditory stimulation during early development stages of young puppies, using a variety of sounds such as music, radio talk shows and ambient noise, that included car noises, sirens and gunshots, could affect the results of early puppy testing of future police working dogs. Sixty-seven puppies at 7 weeks of age were submitted to a 9-situation test and their results analysed. The sample comprised 34 males and 33 females, from 4 different breeds/crosses (27 German Shepherd Dog – GSD, 19 Belgian Malinois Shepherd Dog – BMSD, 7 Dutch Shepherd Dog – DSD and 14 animals of a cross of GSD with BMSD), representing 12 litters. Puppies were divided in two groups, G1 (n=46) and G2 (n=21), with G1 being submitted only to the standard socialization protocol in use in the Grupo de Intervenção Cinotécnico while puppies in G2, beside the standard socialization protocol, where also presented with auditory stimulation throughout the day, particularly during playtime and meal time. Significant differences were observed in some situations between groups, with puppies in G1 achieving better scores on this specific test, which aims to access a puppy's level of interaction with humans, reaction to manipulations and reaction to different environmental stimulus. No differences were found between sexes but some differences between breeds were found, suggesting familial effects on noise reaction. Further studies, involving a greater number of puppies and litters, and that would also include noise exposure quantification, behavioural and physiological assays are required to confirm these findings. It will also be of interest to evaluate if the results obtained as a young puppy have any connection with future adult performance.
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Domestic dogs are members of the class Mammalia, order Carnivora, and family Canidae. Although within the order Carnivora, dogs have evolved to eat an omnivorous diet. Their nutritional requirements include specific amino acids, glucose precursors, fatty acids, and dietary fibre are important dietary elements. Dogs are generally social animals. Most well‐socialised dogs are strongly motivated to establish contact and interact with other dogs, for example on a walk. Human contact has beneficial effects for many dogs. Importantly, a dog's need for, and reaction to, human company is affected by its temperament and early experiences. Rabies is an important disease internationally, affecting millions of dogs yearly, and extrapolating from human experiences, may cause respiratory distress and pain prior to death. The behavioural responses of an individual dog are influenced by its breed, type, rearing, and current environment. Dogs' responses to rewards and training may also indicate their mood or overall welfare.
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The success of the dog as a companion animal has undeniably led to a shift in dog breeding practices. While effects of inbreeding or large-scale breeding have given rise to numerous studies about potentially related health issues, it remains unclear to what extent behavioural development of dogs is influenced. By investigating the environment of puppies while at the breeder, the authors aimed to make an inventory of current practices regarding management, socialisation and environmental learning and subsequently to identify potential differences between breeder types. The cross-sectional study, conducted during 2016, revealed considerable variability in environment among dog breeders. Small-scale breeders, and especially occasional breeders (less than 10 adult dogs on-site) provided most enrichment, both social and non-social, by, for instance, providing more outdoor access for pregnant dams and puppies or by providing access to visitors more freely. Environmental stimuli were less controlled in occasional breeders, raising the debate about quantity versus quality of stimuli at a young age. Large-scale breeders declared to screen potential owners less intensely and time to advise them was limited. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study that compares a large number of environmental factors between the different dog breeding categories.
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During two retreats in 2017 and 2020, a group of international scientists convened to explore the Human-Animal Bond. The meetings, hosted by the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace Leadership Institute, took a broad view of the human-dog relationship and how interactions between the two may benefit us medically, psychologically or through their service as working dogs (e.g. guide dogs, explosive detection, search and rescue, cancer detection). This Frontiers’ Special Topic has collated the presentations into a broad collection of 14 theoretical and review papers summarizing the latest research and practice in the historical development of our deepening bond with dogs, the physiological and psychological changes that occur during human-dog interactions (to both humans and dogs) as well as the selection, training and welfare of companion animals and working dogs. The overarching goals of this collection are to contribute to the current standard of understanding of human-animal interaction, suggest future directions in applied research, and to consider the interdisciplinary societal implications of the findings.
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In order to achieve an effective refinement of animal welfare, it is necessary to intervene on all phases of the experimental process: animal housing, experiment, rehoming of animals that have undergone experimentation, with an active intervention by researchers and veterinary surgeons. It is crucial to know the ethology of the hosted animal species, in order to house animals in a physical and social environment that is as similar as possible to the environment in which that species live in natural conditions. A particular care must be devoted to experimental phase in which animal welfare is at greatest risk: a careful control by the veterinarian is necessary to identify the slightest signs of pain in the animal, intervening with an adequate analgesic therapy. At the end of the experimental phase, once the state of good health has been recovered, animals can be rehomed.
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A lack of socialisation is often referred to as a predisposing factor for the problem behaviours that companion animal owners report in their cats and dogs. Yet, many of the kittens and puppies that found new homes during 2020 will have experienced limitations in, or disruptions to, their opportunities for socialisation as a result of the complexities of the ‘normal’ environment both inside and outside their homes. This article examines the terms ‘socialisation’ and ‘socialise’ that are often used interchangeably when discussing the social competencies of companion animals. In addition, it considers the likely outcome of limited opportunities for comprehensive socialisation for the kittens and puppies of 2020, and whether such shortcomings in early development may be overcome.
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Individual differences in behavior lead to wide variability in working dog suitability, and are the primary reason for rejection or early release. Behavioral suitability of a working dog is shaped by interactions with its environment during early development and specialized training. Understanding how aspects of development and training affect a working dog's performance is critical for practitioners to effectively evaluate and treat behavioral concerns in working dogs. This article provides an overview of critical aspects of puppy development that influence future behavior, and reviews important features of training that influence a dog's ability to learn and perform its designated task.
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Variations in maternal care affect the development of individual differences in neuroendocrine responses to stress in rats. As adults, the offspring of mothers that exhibited more licking and grooming of pups during the first 10 days of life showed reduced plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone responses to acute stress, increased hippocampal glucocorticoid receptor messenger RNA expression, enhanced glucocorticoid feedback sensitivity, and decreased levels of hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone messenger RNA. Each measure was significantly correlated with the frequency of maternal licking and grooming (all r's > −0.6). These findings suggest that maternal behavior serves to “program” hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal responses to stress in the offspring.
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Rat pups 2-14 days of age were exposed daily to handling (15 min of separation from mother and home cage), maternal separation (MS; 180 min of comparable separation), or were left entirely undisturbed (non-handled; NH). As adults, MS rats showed increased hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) mRNA levels compared with NH rats, while CRF mRNA levels in H rats were significantly lower than either MS or NH animals. Hypothalamic CRF content under basal conditions followed exactly the same pattern. A 20-min period of restraint stress produced significant CRF depletion in all groups, although the percentage of depletion was significantly lower in H animals compared with either MS or NH animals. Restraint stress produced significantly higher increases in plasma corticosterone in MS and NH animals than in H animals. These data reflect the importance of early environmental factors in regulating the development of the hypothalamic CRF system and the responsiveness of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to stress.
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It is well known that the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is altered by early environmental experiences, particularly in the perinatal period. This may be one mechanism by which the environment changes the physiology of the animal such that individual differences in adult adaptative capabilities, such as behavioral reactivity and memory performance, are observable. To determine the origin of these behavioral individual differences, we have investigated whether the long-term influence of prenatal and postnatal experiences on emotional and cognitive behaviors in adult rats are correlated with changes in HPA activity. To this end, prenatal stress of rat dams during the last week of gestation and postnatal daily handling of rat pups during the first 3 weeks of life were used as two environmental manipulations. The behavioral reactivity of the adult offspring in response to novelty was evaluated using four different parameters: the number of visits to different arms in a Y-maze, the distance covered in an open field, the time spent in the corners of the open field, and the time spent in the open arms of an elevated plus-maze. Cognitive performance was assessed using a water maze and a two-trial memory test. Adult prenatally stressed rats showed high anxiety-like behavior, expressed as an escape behavior to novelty correlated with high secretion of corticosterone in response to stress, whereas adult handled rats exhibited low anxiety-like behavior, expressed as high exploratory behavior correlated with low secretion of corticosterone in response to stress. On the other hand, neither prenatal stress nor handling changed spatial learning or memory performance. Taken together, these results suggest that individual differences in adult emotional status may be governed by early environmental factors; however, perinatal experiences are not effective in influencing adult memory capacity.
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Variations in maternal care affect the development of individual differences in neuroendocrine responses to stress in rats. As adults, the offspring of mothers that exhibited more licking and grooming of pups during the first 10 days of life showed reduced plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone responses to acute stress, increased hippocampal glucocorticoid receptor messenger RNA expression, enhanced glucocorticoid feedback sensitivity, and decreased levels of hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone messenger RNA. Each measure was significantly correlated with the frequency of maternal licking and grooming (all r's > -0.6). These findings suggest that maternal behavior serves to "program" hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal responses to stress in the offspring.
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After 24 hr of maternal deprivation, significant elevations in ACTH and the naturally occurring glucocorticoid corticosterone (CORT) are observed during the stress-hyporesponsive period. The deprived pups also showed in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) a marked increase of stress-induced c-fos mRNA and a reduction of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and glucocorticoid receptor (GR) mRNA; in hippocampal CA1, a reduction of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) and GR was observed. Here, we examined whether these changes are reversed by (1) preventing the elevations of CORT characteristic for the 11-d-old deprived pups by administering the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone (DEX); or (2) reinstating some aspects of maternal behavior. The pups were either (1) left undisturbed, (2) stroked, or (3) stroked and episodically fed by cheek cannulation. At postnatal day 12, peripheral and neural stress markers were measured. Nondeprived animals served as controls. Experiment 1 demonstrates that although CORT was kept low by DEX, the central effects on CORT receptors, CRH, and c-fos mRNA were still present, except for MR in hippocampal CA1. Experiment 2 shows that stroking alone prevented the stress-induced rise in ACTH and c-fos mRNA and in the reduction in CRH and MR mRNA. In pups that were fed and stroked, CORT and GR mRNA resembled nondeprived controls. In conclusion, the changes in peripheral endocrine responses and in the brain cannot be attributed to the effect of elevated CORT concentrations, which are characteristic of the maternally deprived neonate. However, reinstating some components of the dams' nurturing behavior can reverse the effects evoked by maternal deprivation.
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Neonatal handling permanently alters hypothalamic- pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) function in rats. In the rat, this treatment increases hippocampal glucocorticoid receptors (GR) and dampens plasma ACTH and corticosterone responses to stressors. The objectives of this study were to determine whether neonatal handling of pigs would effect permanent changes in plasma corticosteroid binding capacity (CBG), basal or stressor-induced plasma cortisol and ACTH concentrations, brain or pituitary GR levels, dexamethasone suppression of plasma cortisol and ACTH concentrations, behaviour in an open field-test pen, and body weights. Twelve litters of pigs were randomly assigned to either neonatal handling or no disturbance. Handled litters were removed from the farrowing crate for 10 min per day for the first 14 days of life. Male pigs were kept for the study and the boars were weighed monthly. At 7 months of age, boars were tested for locomotory behaviour in an open field-test pen. The boars were implanted with indwelling ear-vein catheters and blood samples were obtained basally, during and after application of a nose snare, and after 0.04 mg/kg dexamethasone. Boars were killed and blood samples were obtained and the brain and pituitary glands collected. Handled boars had greater (P<0.05) plasma CBG binding and lower basal total (P<0.05) and calculated free (P<0.03) plasma cortisol concentrations. No significant differences between treatments were found in plasma ACTH or cortisol responses to a nose-snare stressor; however, when killed, handled boars had greater (P<0.02) plasma ACTH concentrations. Handled and non-handled boars did not differ in plasma ACTH or cortisol responses to dexamethasone. There was no treatment effect on GR expression in the pituitary gland, frontal cortex, hippocampus, or hypothalamus. Behaviourally, the handled boars had higher (P<0.03) locomotor scores over inner squares and a lower (P<0.05) ratio of outer:inner squares entered in open field-tests. During the first 7 months of life, body weights were lower (P<0.004) for handled boars. In conclusion, neonatal handling permanently altered HPA function in pigs, but in a manner dissimilar to that found in the rat. These changes induced in the pig were not beneficial for commercial production with respect to body weight.
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We report that variations in maternal care in the rat promote hippocampal synaptogenesis and spatial learning and memory through systems known to mediate experience-dependent neural development. Thus, the offspring of mothers that show high levels of pup licking and grooming and arched-back nursing showed increased expression of NMDA receptor subunit and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA, increased cholinergic innervation of the hippocampus and enhanced spatial learning and memory. A cross-fostering study provided evidence for a direct relationship between maternal behavior and hippocampal development, although not all neonates were equally sensitive to variations in maternal care.
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In this study, 60 shelter dogs (Canis familiaris) were observed in the modified version of the Strange Situation Test, which has proved to be a useful method for studying dogs' attachment behavior toward humans (J. Topál, A. Miklósi, V. Csányi, & A. Dóka, 1998). Before testing, 40 dogs were handled 3 times for 10 min. In the test, handled dogs encountered 2 persons: the handler in the role of the "owner" (OW) and an unfamiliar person (UP), whereas the 20 nonhandled dogs encountered unfamiliar persons in both roles. Dogs in the handled group exhibited more contact seeking with the entering OW, less physical contact with the UP, less frequent following of the leaving UP, and less standing by the door in the presence of the OW. The specific response of the handled dogs toward the handler fulfilled the operational criteria of attachment. In shelter conditions, the remarkable demand for social contact with humans may result in rather fast forming of attachment even in adult dogs.
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This study dealt with the effects of restraint, isolation and companionship on the yelping behaviour of puppies. Thirty-five puppies of various complex hybrid and pure breeds, aged 3 to 6 weeks, were used. The condition of restraint was produced with a small triangular wooden box, open at the top and front, which was covered with wire mesh. All tests were in the home pen, and yelps were recorded with a hand tally counter.In the first experiment the effects of restraint (R) against non-restraint (NR) were tested as modified by the condition of alone (A) and together (T). Twenty-three puppies, aged 4 weeks, were randomly assigned to one of the basic groups of R or NR. They were then given a series of 5 minute tests, ATTA or TAAT, under the basic conditions of R or NR. The yelping behaviour of the restrained (R) group was found to be significantly higher than the non-restrained (NR) group, and the alone (A) condition produced more yelping than the together (T) condition. Both of these differences were significant beyond the 0·01 level. Both isolation and restraint increase yelping. Adding a companion reduces yelping by 50–60.per cent.The second experiment was performed with twelve puppies, aged 3 to 6 weeks, randomly assigned to the extreme conditions of the first experiment, those of R-A and NR-T. The effects of test duration upon yelping behaviour was studied with 10 trials, one per day, of 10 minutes each. Statistical analysis of these results demonstrated that there was a similar and significant decrease (0·01 level) in the mean number of yelps in both the R-A and the NR-T groups. Comparison of means for the first 5 minutes against the second 5 minutes made on trials 1 and 10, showed a decrease in yelping behaviour significant at the 0·05 level. It was concluded that repetition of the experience reduces yelping, probably because of learning and adjustment to the situation.
Article
Maternal deprivation of neonatal rats for 24 h has immediate and persistent effects on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) regulation. Immediately after deprivation corticosterone (CORT) is elevated. The primary purpose of our experiments was to determine if, by preventing this CORT elevation, the persistent effects could be reversed. In experiment 1, pups were injected with dexamethasone at the onset of the 24-h deprivation period on postnatal day 11 to suppress the rise in CORT. In experiment 2 some aspects of maternal behaviour known to suppress CORT levels were mimicked during deprivation from postnatal days 11–12. The pups were either: (1) left undisturbed; (2) stroked periodically; or (3) stroked and episodically fed. At postnatal day 20 basal and stress-induced adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) and CORT levels were measured as well as brain mineralocorticoid (MR) and glucocorticoid receptors (GR). Neonatal rats receiving dexamethasone prior to the onset of the deprivation on day 11 did not differ on day 20 from deprived pups that were exposed to elevated CORT levels. There were no detectable changes in the non-deprived pups that were treated with dexamethasone. In contrast, feeding and stroking during the period of deprivation obliterated the persistent effects both with regard to the reduced ACTH response and the decreased GR mRNA in hippocampus and hypothalamus. Stroking alone appears to have no influence. In conclusion, the persistent reduction of the ACTH response to mild stress and the decrease of GR mRNA is not mediated by deprivation-induced elevations in CORT, but appears to be reversible by reinstating specific aspects of the dam’s nurturing behaviour.
Article
In order to test if adult behaviour could be predicted at eight weeks of age, 630 German shepherd puppies were tested. All dogs were also tested at 450–600 days of age according to regimen used to select service dogs. Significant gender differences were found in 4 of the 10 score groups of the puppy test. There were also significant correlations between the puppy test score groups. Correspondence of puppy test results to performance at adult age was negligible and the puppy test was therefore not found useful in predicting adult suitability for service dog work. Heritability was medium high or high for behaviour characteristics of the score groups in the puppy test. Maternal effects on the puppy test results were found when comparing estimations based on sire and dam variances. It also suggests that maternal effects are more likely to be seen in juvenile than in adult behaviour.
Article
Poor housing conditions, harsh training sessions and uncontrollable or unpredictable social environments are examples of the situations that may lead to reduced welfare status in dogs. Individuals that suffer from poor welfare presumably experience stress and may consequently exhibit stress responses. In order to evaluate stress responses as potential indicators of poor welfare in dogs, we review studies dealing with dogs subjected to stressors. The reported stress responses are categorized as being behavioural, physiological or immunological, and demonstrate the various ways stress is manifested in the dog.
Article
The possibility of linking physiology and observable behaviour is of great importance in gaining a better understanding of the dog's reactions to environmental changes and potential stressors. Many studies of human–dog interactions explored the issues concerning attachment of people to their pets, whereas only few studies investigated the nature of the dog–human relationship or the dog's level of attachment to its owner. The aim of this study was to investigate dog's reactions to different emotional situations integrating physiological (heart rate) and behavioural measures. Seventeen adult dogs were tested in a 'strange' environment using a modified version of Ainsworth's Strange Situation Test. The procedure consisted of an introductory episode followed by eight consecutive experimental episodes in which the dogs were placed in an unfamiliar environment, introduced to an adult stranger and subjected to separations from the owner. During each observational session the behaviour of each dog was videorecorded and heart rate was measured in order to allow a comparison between heart rate and behaviour. The level of activity of each dog in each experimental episode was assessed recording 12 different behavioural categories. The heart rate values during the first experimental episode were analysed to obtain a baseline for each subject and the dogs' heart rate across episodes was assessed and compared to the baseline values. Furthermore, the effect of specific events (stranger's entrance and owner's return) on dogs' heart rate was evaluated.
Through selective mating and line breeding of pointer dogs we have developed and continued two strains which are fairly behaviorally distinct. We now have data accumulating from the crossing of these two lines. Although the offspring from the crosses are still young, it can be seen that some stable male parents have had nonenvironmental, i.e., genetic, effects. The offspring are in many respects like their nervous mothers, but in some behavior, notably social behavior, they can be mistaken for the stable strain of dog. Heart rates have mimicked those of the nervous mothers and seem in no way influenced by the stable ancestry in “Effect of Person” tests. There is a marked difference between stable and unstable dogs in the effect of “Person” on heart rate: the unstable dogs show practically no cardiac response to “Person” (petting), whereas the normal dogs show the usual marked bradycardia to petting.
Article
Early-life stimulation (e.g. brief handling) attenuates the behavioral and neuroendocrine responses to stressors encountered in adulthood, particularly with respect to activation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity. In contrast, if neonates were subjected to a more severe stressor, such as protracted separation from the dam or exposure to an endotoxin, then the adult response to a stressor was exaggerated. These early-life experiences program HPA functioning, including negative feedback derived from stimulation of hippocampal glucocorticoid receptors, and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) coexpression in PVN neurons, to modify the response to subsequent stressor experiences. The persistent variations of HPA activity observed in handled/stimulated animals may stem from alterations in dam–pup interactions (e.g. increased arched-back feeding, licking, grooming). In addition genetic makeup is critical in determining stress reactivity. For instance, BALB/cByJ mice are more reactive to stressors than C57BL/6ByJ mice, exhibiting greater HPA hormonal alterations and behavioral disturbances. BALB/cByJ also fail to acquire a spatial learning response in a Morris water-maze paradigm, which has been shown to be correlated with hippocampal cell loss associated with aging. Early-life handling of BALB/cByJ mice prevented these performance deficits and attenuated the hypersecretion of ACTH and corticosterone elicited by stressors. The stressor reactivity may have been related to maternal and genetic factors. When BALB/cByJ mice were raised by a C57BL/6ByJ dam, the excessive stress-elicited HPA activity was reduced, as were the behavioral impairments. However, cross-fostering the more resilient C57BL/6ByJ mice to a BALB/cByJ dam failed to elicit the behavioral disturbances. It is suggested that genetic factors may influence dam–pup interactive styles and may thus proactively influence the response to subsequent stressors among vulnerable animals. In contrast, in relatively hardy animals the early-life manipulations may have less obvious effects.
Article
Male Purdue-Wistar rats were handled for 20 days in infancy or were not disturbed (total N = 312). In adulthood these animals were subdivided and tested in the open field for 1, 2, 3, or 4 days. Activity and defecation in the field were recorded. Following the termination of testing the animals were killed immediately, 5 min afterwards, or 15 min afterwards; and the free plasma corticosterone was assayed. Animals handled in infancy were more active in the open field on the last three test days, defecated less in the field on all four test days, and had a lesser corticosterone response on all four test days. These data allow one to draw the general conclusion that stimulation in infancy results in an animal which is less responsive to novel stimuli (i.e., is less emotional) as measured both at the behavioral and physiological level. In addition, the corticosterone response was found to increase as a function of time between removing from the open field and killing; and to decrease as a function of number of days of open field testing.
Article
Dutch-belted and Florida White rabbit pups were handled on Days 1 to 20 of life in a fashion similar to that used in handling rats. In addition, the rabbit doe was locked out of the cage for 22 hr daily to minimize social interaction with her young. The doe was excluded from the nest box and her young until an hour after handling, by which time the pups were in a quiescent state. The objective of this experiment was to determine whether handling effects could be obtained in the rabbit when there was no interaction of the mother with her pups immediately subsequent to the handling experience. Handling was found to increase open-field activity in both strains. Handling also had a strong effect in increasing the exploratory behavior of the Dutch-belted rabbit; the handled Florida White rabbit explored more as well, but the magnitude of difference was less than that found with the Dutch-belted strain. The Dutch-belted rabbits approached and spent more time near a stimulus rabbit than did their controls, while no difference was obtained with the Florida White strain. These findings, in conjunction with other experimental data, strongly argue that handling in and of itself brings about differences in behavior independent of any maternal interaction with the pups. In addition, the results with the rabbits are remarkably similar to the results obtained with rats, suggesting that the handling technique has broad interspecies generality.
Article
In this study, we used spectral analysis of short-term R-R and systolic arterial pressure (SAP) variabilities to estimate the changes in neural control of the circulation produced by psychological stress. The 0.1 Hz low-frequency (LF) component of R-R and SAP variabilities provided a quantitative index of the sympathetic activity controlling heart rate and vasomotion. Conversely the high-frequency (HF) respiratory component of R-R variability provided an index of vagal tone. In conscious dogs we used the seemingly stressful situation of being accompanied for the first time to the experimental laboratory as a stimulus. In human subjects we used mental arithmetic. In both cases LF of R-R and SAP variabilities increased significantly suggesting enhanced sympathetic activity both to the SA node and the vasculature. In man, the index α, a measure of the overall gain of baroreceptor mechanisms, was found to be reduced during mental arithmetic. Spectral analysis of cardiovascular variabilities thus suggests that in man and in conscious dogs psychological challenges induce a profound re-arrangement of neural control of the circulation, which appears to be characterised by sympathetic predominance and which can be monitored by this technique.
Article
Experimental rabbits were handled for the first 20 days of life while controls were not disturbed. At 25 and 30 days of age, each animal was observed alone for one hr and behavioral states were recorded. They were given the open-field test on Days 31–34. Handling significantly affected the organization of behavioral states and open-field performance. At 25 days handled animals spent a larger percent of sleep time in Active Sleep, and they had a greater percent of REMs than did controls. Experimental rabbits had more Active Waking and less Quiet Waking than controls at 30 days; the mean duration of time spent in Active Waking was greater than that of controls at 30 days, while the mean duration of time spent in Quiet Waking was less than controls.
Article
Using the Strange Situation Test originally developed for testing the mother–infant relationship in humans, we compared the attachment behaviour of extensively socialized (hand-reared) dog, Canis familiaris, and wolf, Canis lupus, puppies towards their human caregiver with that of pet dog puppies of the same age. The experiment was designed to study whether (1) dog puppies as young as 16 weeks show attachment to a human caregiver, (2) extensive socialization by human caregivers affects attachment behaviour of dog puppies and (3) evolutionary changes (in the form of species-specific differences between wolf and dog pups) affect the emergence of dog–human attachment. We found a characteristic selective responsiveness to the owner in young dogs, similar to that observed in adults. This finding supports the view that puppies show patterns of attachment towards their owners. Extensive socialization had only a minor effect on the attachment behaviour in dog puppies, as the behaviour of pet dogs and hand-reared dogs was basically similar. However, we found a significant species-specific difference between wolves and dogs: both extensively socialized and pet dog puppies were more responsive to the owner than to an unfamiliar human participant, whereas extensively socialized wolves were not. Behavioural differences could be best explained by assuming that selective processes took place in the course of domestication (genetic changes) that are related to the attachment system of the dog.
Article
Stress parameters that can be measured noninvasively may help to identify poor welfare in dogs that live in private homes and institutions. Behavioural parameters are potentially useful to identify stress, but require further investigation to establish which behaviours are appropriate. In the present study, behaviours were recorded and analysed for signs of acute stress in dogs. Simultaneously, saliva cortisol and heart rate were measured to support the interpretation of the behavioural data with regard to stress. Ten dogs of either sex, different ages and various breeds were each subjected to six different stimuli: sound blasts, short electric shocks, a falling bag, an opening umbrella and two forms of restraint. Each type of stimulus had been selected for its assumed aversive properties and was administered intermittently for 1 min. The stimuli that could not be anticipated by the dogs, sound blasts, shocks and a falling bag, tended to induce saliva cortisol responses and a very low posture. The remainder of the stimuli, which were administered by the experimenter visibly to the dog, did not change the cortisol levels but did induce restlessness, a moderate lowering of the posture, body shaking, oral behaviours, and to a lesser extent, yawning and open mouth. Pronounced increases in the heart rate were nonspecifically induced by each type of stimulus. Heart rate levels normalized within 8 min after stressor administration had stopped. Saliva cortisol levels decreased to normal within the hour. Correlations between behavioural and physiological stress parameters were not significant. From the present results, we conclude that in dogs a very low posture may indicate intense acute stress since dogs show a very low posture concomitant with saliva cortisol responses. Dogs may typically show increased restlessness, oral behaviours, yawning, open mouth and a moderate lowering of the posture when they experienced moderate stress in a social setting. The nonspecific character of canine heart rate responses complicates its interpretation with regard to acute stress.
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The classic study of dog behavior gathered into one volume. Based on twenty years of research at the Jackson Laboratory, this is the single most important and comprehensive reference work on the behavior of dogs ever complied. "Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog is one of the most important texts on canine behavior published to date. Anyone interested in breeding, training, or canine behavior must own this book."—Wayne Hunthausen, D.V.M., Director of Animal Behavior Consultations "This pioneering research on dog behavioral genetics is a timeless classic for all serious students of ethology and canine behavior."—Dr. Michael Fox, Senior Advisor to the President, The Humane Society of the United States "A major authoritative work. . . . Immensely rewarding reading for anyone concerned with dog-breeding."—Times Literary Supplement "The last comprehensive study [of dog behavior] was concluded more than thirty years ago, when John Paul Scott and John L. Fuller published their seminal work Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog."—Mark Derr, The Atlantic Monthly "Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog is essential reading for anyone involved in the breeding of dogs. No breeder can afford to ignore the principles of proper socialization first discovered and articulated in this landmark study."-The Monks of New Skete, authors of How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend and the video series Raising Your Dog with the Monks of New Skete.
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The effect of infantile handling-stimulation and/or perinatal flumazenil (3.7 mg/kg/day) administration on exploratory and emotional-related behavior was investigated using Roman high- and low-avoidance (RHA/Verh and RLA/Verh) rats. Postnatal handling increased exploration in 30-day-old rats of both psychogenetically selected lines when they were exposed to a hexagonal tunnel maze including an illuminated central arena. Likewise, postnatal stimulation decreased emotional reactivity in both lines of rats, as expressed by increased entry into the central arena, decreased defecation and vocalization frequency, but these effects were more pronounced in the RLA/Verh line. There were interactions between perinatal flumazenil treatment and rat line, indicating that flumazenil enhanced entry into the maze central arena in handled-RLA/Verh rats, whereas a tendency toward the opposite effect was observed in drug-treated and handled-RHA/Verh animals. Thus, the present study emphasizes that the effects of environmental manipulations are partly dependent upon genetic factors, and that pharmacological effects also depend on both genetic and environmentally-induced predisposition.
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The effect of infantile handling stimulation on exploratory and emotional behavior of Roman high- and low-avoidance (RHA/Verh and RLA/Verh) weanling rats was investigated. Postnatally handled and nonhandled, 4-week-old males and females from both psychogenetically selected lines were exposed to a hexagonal tunnel maze, including an illuminated central arena. Postnatal handling increased exploratory behavior and decreased emotional reactivity as expressed by increased entries into the central arena and a reduction in defecations in both lines of rats. These effects were more pronounced in the RLA/Verh rats. In agreement with earlier studies using nonselected adult rats, the females of both lines (especially those from the RHA/Verh line) were more sensitive than males to the positive influences of early stimulation.
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In this study, we used spectral analysis of short-term R-R and systolic arterial pressure (SAP) variabilities to estimate the changes in neural control of the circulation produced by psychological stress. The 0.1 Hz low-frequency (LF) component of R-R and SAP variabilities provided a quantitative index of the sympathetic activity controlling heart rate and vasomotion. Conversely the high-frequency (HF) respiratory component of R-R variability provided an index of vagal tone. In conscious dogs we used the seemingly stressful situation of being accompanied for the first time to the experimental laboratory as a stimulus. In human subjects we used mental arithmetic. In both cases LF of R-R and SAP variabilities increased significantly suggesting enhanced sympathetic activity both to the SA node and the vasculature. In man, the index alpha, a measure of the overall gain of baroreceptor mechanisms, was found to be reduced during mental arithmetic. Spectral analysis of cardiovascular variabilities thus suggests that in man and in conscious dogs psychological challenges induce a profound re-arrangement of neural control of the circulation, which appears to be characterised by sympathetic predominance and which can be monitored by this technique.
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The response of a recently described light/dark choice novelty situation to anxiolytic and non-anxiolytic agents as well as to putative anxiogenic drugs was assessed in rats. Diazepam (1.0-10.0 mg/kg, i.p.), chlordiazepoxide (2.5-10.0 mg/kg, i.p.), and pentobarbital (pentobarbitone) (7.5-15.0 mg/kg, i.p.) enhanced rats' activity in the dark and brightly lit compartments as well as crossings between the two, while imipramine (5-20 mg/kg, i.p.) had no effects. None of these drugs changed animal locomotion in activity cages. d-Amphetamine (1.5 mg/kg, i.p.) caused a significant increase in the three parameters used to measure rats' exploratory activity, but the effect was due to an increase in the general activity of the animal. No tolerance to the effects of diazepam developed after daily treatment with 5 mg/kg i.p. for 15 days. Non-sedative and non-convulsant doses of putative anxiogenic drugs such as yohimbine (2.5-5.0 mg/kg, i.p.), picrotoxin (2.0-4.0 mg/ml, i.p.) and ethyl-beta-carboline-3-carboxylate (2.5-5 mg/kg, i.p.) reduced the exploratory activity of rats in the dark compartment. The advantages and problems of using this test to identify anxiolytic and anxiogenic drugs are discussed.
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The effects of handling from birth to 5 weeks and isolation from 4 to 5 weeks were studied in twenty-tow dogs and contrasted with the behaviour of control subjects raised under normal rearing conditions. Differences in behaviour, heart rate and EEG activity were evident in the three differentially reared groups of dogs and were attributed to the effects of handling and isolation in the experimental groups as compared to the control group. Preliminary biochemical data (adrenal and CNS analysis) are included and some correlation in the differentially reared groups is shown. These data in part support similar findings in other species reviewed in this paper.