Canine Behavioral Deficits: Potential Causes and Preventions

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This year, in the United States alone, an estimated three to six million cats and dogs will be euthanized as a result of behavior problems (Beerda, Bosch, Hendriks, Vander Poel, and Verstegen, 2007). Unwanted behaviors are cited as being the primary reason that canines are relinquished to rescue shelters (Beerda et al., 2007). Individuals that surrender their dogs rarely pursue an active intervention strategy to correct problem behaviors, often claiming that time and financial constraints prohibit further intercession (Marston and Bennet, 2003).

It is important to establish an understanding of how canine behavioral problems develop and what interactions can contribute or deter their negative impacts. Awareness of the progression of these behavioral deficits might help us provide accessible interventions to encourage individuals to alleviate these issues before they become more substantial problems.

Researchers Andrew Jagoe and James Serpell are interested in the implications of the interactions of owner characteristics with their dogs and how they contribute to the prevalence of canine behavior problems. Jagoe and Serpell devised a questionnaire to be administered to four different sources which included: animal behavioral counselors, veterinary surgeons, the teaching hospital at the University of Cambridge Veterinary School and a random door-to-door inquiry (Jagoe and Serpell, 1996). The survey required detailed information regarding the reason for acquiring the dog, any previous ownership of a dog, participation in any obedience training classes, the approximate times the dog was fed, the sleeping habits of the dog, the types of games the owners reported playing with their dogs and a checklist of problematic behavior patter...

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...ld allow shelters to become a first resource, not just a final solution.

Works Cited

Beerda, B.; Bosch, G.; Hendriks, W.H.; Vander Poel, A.F.B.; & Verstegan, W.A. (2007).

Impact of nutrition on canine behaviour: current status and possible mechanisms. Nutrition Research Reviews (Vol. 20, Issue 2, pp. 180-94).

Elmes, David G; Kantowitz, Barry H.; & Roediger III, Henry L. (2008). Research

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Hepper, Peter G. & Deborah L. Wells (2000). Prevalence of behavior problems reported

by owners of dogs purchased from an animal rescue shelter. Applied Animal Behaviour Science (Vol. 69, Issue 1, pp. 55-65). doi:10.1016/S0168-1591(00)00118-0

Jagoe, Andrew & Serpell, James (1996). Owner characteristics and interactions and the

prevalence of canine behavior problems. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 47, 31-42.

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