Breed differences in canine behavioral development

Principal Investigators: Julia Albright, MA, DVM, DACVB and Karen Davis PhD
Institution: University of Tennessee

For thousands of years humans have been selecting dogs to perform an astoundingly wide range in behaviors like herding, pointing, and guarding, but very few studies have empirically analyzed the development of these behaviors.  Play is a ubiquitous yet enigmatic behavior that seems to be essential to healthy development.  We aim to thoroughly document the ontogeny of canine social and object play behavior, including how the characteristics of play vary with breed and at what age these breed-specific patterns begin to emerge.  We also suggest variants of play behavior will be early predictors of adult behavior and temperament.  We are currently building a video data archive that will not only allow us to study a wide range of breed and wild canid species differences in behavioral development, but also environmental factors that impact future behavior.

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