Early Life Experiences and Exercise Associate with Canine Anxieties

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Tiira , K & Lohi , H 2015 , ' Early Life Experiences and Exercise Associate with Canine Anxieties ' , PLoS One , vol. 10 , no. 11 , 0141907 . https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0141907

Title: Early Life Experiences and Exercise Associate with Canine Anxieties
Author: Tiira, Katriina; Lohi, Hannes
Contributor organization: Departments of Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary Biosciences
Research Programme for Molecular Neurology
Research Programs Unit
Hannes Tapani Lohi / Principal Investigator
Veterinary Genetics
Date: 2015-11-03
Language: eng
Number of pages: 16
Belongs to series: PLoS One
ISSN: 1932-6203
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0141907
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/160558
Abstract: Personality and anxiety disorders across species are affected by genetic and environmental factors. Shyness-boldness personality continuum exists across species, including the domestic dog, with a large within-and across-breed variation. Domestic dogs are also diagnosed for several anxiety-related behavioral conditions, such as generalized anxiety disorders, phobias, and separation anxiety. Genetic and environmental factors contributing to personality and anxiety are largely unknown. We collected questionnaire data from a Finnish family dog population (N = 3264) in order to study the associating environmental factors for canine fearfulness, noise sensitivity, and separation anxiety. Early life experiences and exercise were found to associate with anxiety prevalence. We found that fearful dogs had less socialization experiences (p = 0.002) and lower quality of maternal care (p <0.0001) during puppyhood. Surprisingly, the largest environmental factor associating with noise sensitivity (p <0.0001) and separation anxiety (p = 0.007) was the amount of daily exercise; dogs with noise sensitivity and separation anxiety had less daily exercise. Our findings suggest that dogs share many of the same environmental factors that contribute to anxiety in other species as well, such as humans and rodents. Our study highlights the importance of early life experiences, especially the quality of maternal care and daily exercise for the welfare and management of the dogs, and reveals important confounding factors to be considered in the genetic characterization of canine anxiety.
413 Veterinary science
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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