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Open Access The importance of early life experiences for the development of behavioural disorders in domestic dogs

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The importance of early life experiences for the development of behavioural disorders in domestic dogs

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Behavioural disorders are a major reason for euthanasia and sheltering of pet dogs. The prevention and treatment of behavioural disorders requires a better understanding of the underlying causes. Early life experiences, such as maternal care, attachment and socialisation, have long lasting and serious consequences for the behavioural and physiological development of an individual. The complex interplay between these factors is likely to have consequences for the future dog-owner bond and the vulnerability to develop behavioural disorders. Here, we summarise the current literature on the interactions between maternal care, attachment formation, and the sensitive socialisation period and their potential consequences on adult dog behaviour. Based on the findings we highlight gaps in knowledge and provide suggestions for future research which are necessary to formulate recommendations for pet dog breeding and socialisation.

Affiliations: 1: aDepartment of Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands ; 2: bDepartment of Animals in Science & Society, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

*Corresponding author’s e-mail address: l.dietz@uu.nl
10.1163/1568539X-00003486
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Behavioural disorders are a major reason for euthanasia and sheltering of pet dogs. The prevention and treatment of behavioural disorders requires a better understanding of the underlying causes. Early life experiences, such as maternal care, attachment and socialisation, have long lasting and serious consequences for the behavioural and physiological development of an individual. The complex interplay between these factors is likely to have consequences for the future dog-owner bond and the vulnerability to develop behavioural disorders. Here, we summarise the current literature on the interactions between maternal care, attachment formation, and the sensitive socialisation period and their potential consequences on adult dog behaviour. Based on the findings we highlight gaps in knowledge and provide suggestions for future research which are necessary to formulate recommendations for pet dog breeding and socialisation.

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http://brill.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1163/1568539x-00003486
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/content/journals/10.1163/1568539x-00003486
2018-04-06
2018-10-21

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