221 – Testing the Genetics and Biological Markers of Fear in Dogs
Research to develop scientifically based information about fear in dogs
Candace Croney is one happy researcher. Her team has received a grant for a ground-breaking study on the genetics and biological markers of fear in dogs.
“This study is going to give us information nobody has,” Croney said.
The $2 million grant will continue Croney’s work with commercial kennels and is designed to investigate how to best identify dogs that can be successfully rehomed as adult dogs.
Part of the Canine Care Certified program is making sure the dogs are treated humanely after their breeding career is done, Croney noted. Her hope is that she will be able to look at which dogs are more or less likely to run into trouble when transitioning from kennel to home
But all of the research is giving Croney invaluable information about how to measure fearfulness in dogs. The research is looking at both phenotypical manifestations of fear (spinning, pacing, freezing) and actual biological markers such as cortisol levels, immune system function, and more.
Amongst the most fascinating part of the equation, is Croney’s examination of fearful dams and fearful puppies. She’s investigating both the genetic and environmental components of this equation. The results of the work have the potential to be useful to hobby breeders, shelters, and companion owners as well as commercial breeders.
“This research benefits all breeders because it’s basic information we don’t have,” Croney said. “Scott & Fuller did great work on this in the ‘60s, but we’ve done little to follow up on it.”
Croney’s research goal is to produce answers to the questions:
- What tests give valid metrics of how fearful or comfortable dogs are around people, objects
- What are biological markers that identify fear – cortisol levels, the immune function of the dog
- Do stress-fearful moms have puppies that are different
Don’t miss Allison Foley’s advice on teaching tricks to focus your dog in the ring.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER — FRANCIS BACON
When you become a patron of Pure Dog Talk you’ll tap into an exclusive community of experts to help you and your dog be blue-ribbon best at whatever you do with your purebred dog! Your support helps keep the MP3's rolling at Pure Dog Talk!
As a supporter, you’ll immediately gain access to the weekly Pure Pep Talk SMS, Pure Pep Talk private Facebook group, and priority emails. Patrons can choose to level up to the After Dark Zoom and a Patrons Digital Badge for their website— even a private counseling session with Laura on any topic.