Breeders' role and responsibilities in the long-term behavioural health of canines

Elaine Henley
Saturday, February 2, 2019

The UK Government and other animal welfare agencies have recognised that many future behavioural problems in companion dogs are caused by poor breeding practices and environments, which do not prepare the dogs for a future life as pets in a home. The registered veterinary nurse (RVN) is ideally placed within veterinary practices to offer advice to breeders to ensure better breeding practices that will help each puppy cope with a future life as a pet. While breeders have exploited physical phenotypes to influence the appearance of dogs, it is less well known that puppies may inherit both desirable and undesirable behavioural traits. Breeders may also influence environmental factors, before and after the puppies are born, which have a greater impact on the dogs' future behaviour than genetic influences. From birth, puppies undergo key stages in behavioural development, which may be positively influenced by the breeder to ensure a robust behavioural development.Special consideration should be given to those puppies that are hand reared, orphaned, rejected by their dam, or born by Caesarean section, as these puppies are more likely to develop behavioural issues associated with anxiety and stress. This paper highlights simple strategies that the author, who is an experienced breeder and a Clinical Animal Behaviourist, has utilised with puppies.

Breeders' role and responsibilities in the long-term behavioural health of canines
Breeders' role and responsibilities in the long-term behavioural health of canines

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