Association Between Prospective Owner Viewing of the Parents of a Puppy and Later Referral for Behavioural Problems

Scientific Journal Articles

A case-control study was designed to test whether there is an association between the owners seeing the mother of a puppy, and later development of behavioural problems. The sample consisted of dogs that were seen by Animal Behaviourists (Members of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors) and equivalent dogs (without a behavioural problem, but the owners would consider referral to an Animal Behaviourist were the dog to develop a behavioural problem) seen at a veterinary practice that referred to each Animal Behaviourist. After adjustment for confounding factors using multivariable logistic regression, case dogs were: more likely to be younger than controls (P<0.001); less likely to be obtained at six (OR=0.27, 95%CI=0.09-0.85, P=0.03), nine (OR=0.22, 95%CI=0.06-0.80, P=0.02) or ten weeks (OR=0.35, 95%CI=0.12-1.01, P=0.05), than eight weeks; more likely for the owner to have seen only one parent (OR=2.49, 95%CI =1.15-5.37, P=0.02) than both parents, and more likely to have not seen either parent (OR=3.82, 95%CI=1.12-12.97, P=0.03) than both. Advice to ‘see the mother’ has been shown to be partly scientifically accurate in relation to future unwanted behavioural problems amongst dogs; in fact it may be better for prospective owners to be recommended to view both parents.

Westgarth, C., Reevell, K., and Barclay, R. (2012). Association between prospective owner viewing of the parents of a puppy and later referral for behavioural problems. Veterinary Record.


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Topic(s): Behavior, Pet Families, Problem Abnormal Behavior, Recognition