Updated: May 12, 2019
Authors: Ian R. Dinwoodie,1 Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, Barbara Dwyer,2 CCBS, Vivian Zottola,3 Boston K9 Concierge, Donna Gleason,4 TLC Dog Trainer LLC, Nicholas H. Dodman, 1 2 Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and CCBS
Study Design: This survey was designed to identify and quantify the different types of behavior problems that owners experience with their dogs. Previous studies have found the incidence of perceived canine behavior problems to be between 42 and 90 percent. The Center wanted to pin down the overall percentage more accurately in this carefully designed controlled study.
Owners of dogs that do/did and do not have a behavior problem(s) were encouraged to participate so that the incidence of canine problems as a whole could be scientifically evaluated. In the group with behavior problems, the study was devised to establish precisely the current prevalence of behavior problems which include the various types of aggression, fears and phobias, compulsive behaviors, and other troubling behaviors.
It was hoped that data from this study would be helpful to the Center as well as other canine behavior researchers in identifying target populations and prioritizing future interventional studies.
Participating Dog Owners: 3,201 in the USA, Canada, and the UK.
Status: The study findings research paper has been published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior.
Scientific Findings: This study has generated an enormous amount of data. After publication, the data may be analyzed further; for example, 380+ purebred Labradors, 138 Golden retrievers and 132 German shepherds provide significant breed specific cohorts for study.
Application for Findings: According to lead investigator Dr. Nicholas Dodman, "The study findings provide insight into the magnitude of owner-reported canine behavior problems encountered by owners. It is hoped that findings will encourage veterinarians to further incorporate aspects of behavior problem management into their daily work. More important, emerging findings from a follow up study with owners having problem dogs could make a significant impact in preventing misbehaving dogs from entering the shelter “system” in the first place, and helping dogs surrendered because of behavior, escape the “system” through adoption and thus avoid euthanasia. " With the completion of Study 3 and publication, the findings will be made available to approximately 3,000 brick and mortar animal rescues and shelters as well as veterinarians across the U.S.