Parenting techniques even apply to guide dogs, study says


Parenting techniques may have long lasting consequences for behavior – even when it comes to dogs.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania studied the early development, parenting and subsequent performance of 98 puppies who underwent guide dog training. Dogs who received more independence and less support from their mothers were more likely to be successful in becoming a guide dog, and they also demonstrated improved problem-solving skills.

In other words, successful guide dogs were more likely to have been brought up by “tough love” moms. The study was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Mom-pup interactions, such as nursing style, grooming, and time spent in a nursing box were used to define how highly involved the puppy’s mothers were. Puppies raised with highly involved mothers were more likely to be released – or dropped out from the guide dog program – compared to those with less attentive mothers.

“Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing,” said lead study researcher Emily Bray. Although the study couldn’t conclusively point to what was driving this effect, “one possibility is that the dogs…

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