BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A recently released study from the University of Pennsylvania has found that too coddled puppies were less likely to successfully pass training to become guide dogs, than pups who were spoiled less by their mothers.
Too Coddled Puppies Need Some “Tough Love” from their Moms
Leading the study was Emily Bray, who recently received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Psychology. The study was carried out in Morristown, N.J. at “The Seeing Eye,” an organization that trains dogs from birth to guide the blind.
Bray and her team closely monitored 23 mothers and their 98 puppies for the first five weeks of the latter’s lives. They found that the more attentive mothers of the group had a higher baseline level of cortisol, a stress response hormone, than did the less vigilant ones when their puppies were temporarily removed from them. One key indicator in predicting which puppies would graduate to become guide dogs was the position in which their mother had nursed them.
“If a mother is lying on her stomach, the puppies basically have free access to milk, but, if the mother is standing up, then the puppies have to work to get it,” one of the researchers said.
A follow up was done on the puppies when they were 14 to 17 months old. The dogs were tested on their temperaments, and it was found that the canines with a calmer disposition were more likely to succeed than the more anxious dogs.
This study promises to help trainers at “The Seeing Eye” to better select puppies that they believe will make good candidates for guide dog training.
Too coddle puppies are less likely to succeed in passing the guide dog training. Though this seems to be common sense, that obstacles make people and animals stronger, researchers have now verified that it is indeed the dogs who were less coddled by their mothers as puppies that are most likely to make the cut in guide dog training.
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