Undesirable behaviors are common in the domestic dog population. This study aimed to identify similarities and differences in characteristics underlying 2 major groups of behavioral problems, and their treatment outcome. The study focused on 335 dogs that visited a Behavioral Clinic in northern Italy between 2013 and 2016. These cases were categorized into 2 broad groups based on the diagnosis: an “aggressive” group (behavioral pathologies involving aggression) and an “anxious” group (behavioral pathologies not primarily involving aggression). Each dog underwent a behavior consultation made by a veterinary specialist who used a basic history questionnaire focused on all aspects of dog's behavior, management, and health issue. Several variables were selected from the questionnaires collected. We found a statistical association of the behavioral problem with factors such as size, sex, age, time of onset, dogs' resting place, family composition, and mounting behaviors involving people (P ≤ 0.05). Small- and medium-sized dogs were mainly “anxious” instead of “aggressive”; male dogs were mostly “aggressive” and female dogs (neutered and intact) were mainly “anxious”; dogs adopted from pet shops were all anxious. On average, “aggressive” dogs exhibited the problem 4 months after adoption. “Anxious” dogs exhibited the problem within 1 week of adoption. The resting place and diagnosis were statistically related (P ≤ 0.05): the 20% of dogs that slept on owners' bed were mainly “anxious” dogs (78% of these). Sixty-five percent of “anxious” dogs and 33% of “aggressive” dogs showed mounting behaviors toward people. Most (72.3%) (N = 242/335) of the dogs improved after behavior treatment. “Aggressive” dogs (96%, N = 232/242) improved more than “anxious” ones (4%; N = 10/242) (P ≤ 0.05). Moreover, owners of dogs with anxiety problems were significantly more prone to surrender the dog to a shelter or other people (P ≤ 0.05). Our work supports some previous findings and suggests some new information regarding factors associated with broad scale aggression and anxiety in domestic dogs. Anxiety problems appear more difficult and demanding for dog owners. A referral population is not likely representative of the entire population of dogs. To understand patterns of behavioral problems, we need more complete population data and we need data from dogs across their lifetime.

Factors associated with dog behavioral problems referred to a behavior clinic / S. Cannas, Z. Talamonti, S. Mazzola, M. Minero, A. Picciolini, C. Palestrini. - In: JOURNAL OF VETERINARY BEHAVIOR. - ISSN 1558-7878. - 24(2018 Apr), pp. 42-47. [10.1016/j.jveb.2017.12.004]

Factors associated with dog behavioral problems referred to a behavior clinic

S. Cannas
Primo
;
Z. Talamonti
Secondo
;
S. Mazzola;M. Minero;C. Palestrini
Ultimo
2018-04

Abstract

Undesirable behaviors are common in the domestic dog population. This study aimed to identify similarities and differences in characteristics underlying 2 major groups of behavioral problems, and their treatment outcome. The study focused on 335 dogs that visited a Behavioral Clinic in northern Italy between 2013 and 2016. These cases were categorized into 2 broad groups based on the diagnosis: an “aggressive” group (behavioral pathologies involving aggression) and an “anxious” group (behavioral pathologies not primarily involving aggression). Each dog underwent a behavior consultation made by a veterinary specialist who used a basic history questionnaire focused on all aspects of dog's behavior, management, and health issue. Several variables were selected from the questionnaires collected. We found a statistical association of the behavioral problem with factors such as size, sex, age, time of onset, dogs' resting place, family composition, and mounting behaviors involving people (P ≤ 0.05). Small- and medium-sized dogs were mainly “anxious” instead of “aggressive”; male dogs were mostly “aggressive” and female dogs (neutered and intact) were mainly “anxious”; dogs adopted from pet shops were all anxious. On average, “aggressive” dogs exhibited the problem 4 months after adoption. “Anxious” dogs exhibited the problem within 1 week of adoption. The resting place and diagnosis were statistically related (P ≤ 0.05): the 20% of dogs that slept on owners' bed were mainly “anxious” dogs (78% of these). Sixty-five percent of “anxious” dogs and 33% of “aggressive” dogs showed mounting behaviors toward people. Most (72.3%) (N = 242/335) of the dogs improved after behavior treatment. “Aggressive” dogs (96%, N = 232/242) improved more than “anxious” ones (4%; N = 10/242) (P ≤ 0.05). Moreover, owners of dogs with anxiety problems were significantly more prone to surrender the dog to a shelter or other people (P ≤ 0.05). Our work supports some previous findings and suggests some new information regarding factors associated with broad scale aggression and anxiety in domestic dogs. Anxiety problems appear more difficult and demanding for dog owners. A referral population is not likely representative of the entire population of dogs. To understand patterns of behavioral problems, we need more complete population data and we need data from dogs across their lifetime.
aggression, anxiety, problems behavior, dogs
Settore AGR/19 - Zootecnica Speciale
Settore VET/02 - Fisiologia Veterinaria
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/556826
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