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Surprisingly little information is available about the behavior of newborn mammals in the functionally vital context of suckling. We have previously reported notable differences in the pattern of nipple use by kittens of the domestic cat and puppies of the domestic dog. Whereas kittens rapidly develop a "teat order," with each individual using principally 1 or 2 particular nipples, puppies show no such pattern. We asked whether the more "chaotic" behavior seen in puppies of the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) could be the result of relaxed selection due to domestication. In a first test of this hypothesis, we studied suckling behavior in 4 litters of wild-type captive dingoes (Canis dingo), a canid species that has inhabited the Australian mainland in substantial numbers for at least 5,000 years with minimal human influence. On all measures of individual puppies' behavior-time spent attached to nipples, lack of individual use of particular nipples and consequent absence of a teat order, lack of synchronized suckling with other littermates, lack of agonistic behavior-we found no differences between the 2 species. In conclusion, we suggest that the difference between the pattern of suckling behavior of kittens of the domestic cat (and other felids) and the domestic dog is not an artifact of domestication, but rather reflects phylogenetic differences between felids and canids as a consequence of their different lifestyles and associated patterns of parental care. These findings emphasize the need for comparative studies to avoid simplistic generalizations from 1 or 2 species across broad taxonomic groups. (PsycINFO Database Record
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... There is still little detailed information on early parental care in canids, particularly during the pre-weaning period when the young are completely dependent on the mother's milk (Arteaga et al., 2013;Hudson et al., 2016). This is even the case for the grey wolf (Canis lupus), arguably the best studied of the wild canids in this regard (see Packard, 2003, and references therein). ...
... Although sharing a genetic lineage with dogs (Ardalan et al., 2012;Oskarsson et al., 2011;Sacks et al., 2013;Savolainen et al., 2004), the dingo has been a wild-living canid on a continent geographically isolated from other canids (including dog or wolf lineages), and independent from humans for at least 5000 years until the arrival of the British and their dogs in 1788 (Cairns and Wilton, 2016;Cairns et al., 2017;Smith and Litchfield, 2009;Smith, 2015a). Reports directly relating to dingo reproductive, parental and denning behaviour are scant, with most restricted to anecdotal observations (e.g., Corbett and Newsome, 1975;Harden, 1981;Jones and Stevens, 1988;Thomson, 1992a;Smith and Vague, 2017), or conducted with captive populations (e.g., Breckwoldt, 1988;Corbett, 1988;Hudson et al., 2016). ...
... Methods have been published in detail in a previous study (Hudson et al., 2016) from which the present, completely new data are drawn. Four pairs of dingoes and their litters, born in May/June 2013, contributed to the study (Table 1). ...
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The period before pups are weaned represents a key developmental stage for canids that is directly related to the survivability of the pack. Yet our understanding of the role of the parents during this period when pups are confined to a den is rather limited. We sought further insight into this period by observing diurnal patterns of pre-weaning den visits and nursing behaviour in a captive population of dingoes (Canis dingo). We continuously video-monitored behaviour at dens of four captive, genetically pure, dingo pairs (one litter each) during the first three postpartum weeks just before the start of weaning. Mothers occupied the den almost continuously during the night, but significantly less so during the day, and consistently spent most den time nursing. Fathers were largely absent from inside the den despite lack of apparent aggression from females, low outside temperatures, and space for them inside. They spent a large percentage of time on top of the den, suggestive of sentinel duty, although further experiments are necessary to substantiate this. Although limited to captive animals, our observations are consistent with scant reports of bi-parental care in wild dingoes and with suggestions in the literature that reduced parental care in household and free-ranging domestic dogs might be, at least partly, due to the weakening of bi-parental care during their long history of close association with and dependence on humans.
... Preference for particular regions of the mother's udder and the formation of a teat order is mostly reported in altricial species (Bautista et al., 2005;Bonath, 1972;Ewer, 1959;Glukhova & Naidenko, 2014;Hudson et al., 2016;McGuire et al., 2011;McVittie, 1978;Pfeifer, 1980). Further, Skok (2018) argued that teat orders develop mainly in species with lower maternal investment, such as low breeding frequency, monogamy, biparental care and lower litter birth mass. ...
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