Hi Bronwne & Anna-
I hope all is going well with school – these are definitely some tough questions!
I had to pull out my animal behavior notes and text to help with some of these (since it is not something I deal with every day in emergency & critical care!), so please let me know if you need more information or clarification. I put my answers in italics.
1) What is dominance aggression?
Dominance related aggression is now commonly referred to as “owner directed aggression” and “conflict-related aggression”. However, the definition varies greatly among behaviorists and clinics. Aggression may result when owners threaten or challenge the dog’s social status in situations of competition over resources or there is a perceived threat to the dog’s rank within the family dominance hierarchy. “Resources” are a broad term used to define things like food, bedding, toys, or preferred people within the family. Conflict related aggression tends to occur more often in males, often between the ages of 1-3 years old, and it is seen in all purebred and mixed breed dogs. It can be seen when affected dogs are in possession of a “special” object (foods, toys, etc), when they are disturbed from a bed or other resting area, and when there is interaction with their preferred person by another.
2) How to deal with the following different types of aggression:
The most important part of treating all forms of canine aggression is to rule out an underlying medical condition as the cause of aggression. A complete medical history, physical examination, and if indicated, bloodwork and urinalysis should be performed to rule out underlying diseases or disorders.
For all types of aggression, the specific circumstances under which aggression is elicited should be avoided. In addition, physical corrections and punishments should also be avoided. Dogs should always be very strictly supervised when around young children. Behavioral modification, and medication, may also be helpful.
(a) Senile aggression
Senile aggression may be part of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), which is defined as geriatric onset behavioral problems not exclusively attributable to a general medical condition. The exact incidence of CDS in older dogs is unknown, though some believe some or all components are quite common. If aggression is part of CDS, it is important to recognize that this disease cannot be cured, though the clinical signs can be controlled. Environmental modification to prevent dogs from getting into areas where they become upset, confused, or aggressive can help. To help curb aggressive behavior, rewards (food, toys, play, affection) should be given to dogs when they are not aggressive and to help turn a situation which can induce aggression into a more positive event.
A medication called selegiline HCl (Anipryl) has been approved to treat dogs with signs of CDS, which is thought to help by increasing the amount of dopamine levels in the central nervous system.
(b) Defensive aggression
Defensive, or fear-related, aggression is seen when fearful dogs try to avoid the source of fear, and then bite or show other forms of aggression when they are confronted. This type of behavior can be displayed toward both familiar and unfamiliar people. It can be seen in any breed, sex, or age, though some breeds (such as border collies and German Shepherd dogs are more commonly affected). This type of aggression is best treated as a form of anxiety disorder, so avoiding aggression inducing event, and desensitizing dogs to these events can help. In addition, anxiolytic drugs, such as diazepam, alprazolman, chlorazepate, and buspirone can help.
Another definition for dogs with defensive aggression are those that do not back down to threats against them, such as police dogs who continue to attack even when they are being injured or harmed. This is how defensive aggression is defined for police and protection dogs. There is no treatment per se when used in this context, since this would be a very desirable trait for these dogs.
(c) Genetic aggression
I was unable to find any treatment options for genetic aggression, as it seems as if this is a form of aggression with a documented genetic basis, and therefore the dog should be treated for the specific type of aggression via behavioral therapy and or medications.. The parents of the dog, and the affected dog (as well as all littermates) should not be bred to prevent further propagation of this trait.
(d) Redirected aggression
Redirected aggression is best managed with the use of a harness, leash, and often a head harness (also called a gentle leader) to provide good control of the dog’s head in situations which induce aggression to prevent biting. Until training is complete, the situations which cause redirected aggression should be avoided and the dogs or people who are the subject of this type of aggression should be kept safe. The dog should also be desensitized to these situations through controlled encounters with the conditions that induce aggression. The dog should also have his/her attention redirected during the desensitization training, by using a toy or food to reward non-aggressive behavior. Anxiolytic drugs and/or anti-depressant drugs can also be used in combination with behavioral modification.
(e) Sex-related aggression
Female to female fighting is worse than male to male fighting which is worse than female to male fighting, which is worse than male to female fighting. Ways to deal with sex related aggression include castration and spaying, to decrease hormonal influences on behavior, avoid known circumstances which lead to fighting, never give preferential attention, and never let dogs “fight it out”, as dog fights can lead to serious injury and death. Injury should be prevented, and social harmony maintained, by separating the dogs (crating), muzzling if needed, gentle leaders, and indoor leashes. Chronic separation may be needed. When the fight is between a more and less mature dog, the dominance of the mature dog should be reinforced. Relaxation and social skills (obedience) should be taught to each dog separately. Counter-conditioning (rewards) and desensitization should be used to get dogs acclimated to and tolerate each other’s presence. If fighting occurs when an owner returns home, excited greetings should be avoided, and instead both dogs should be ignored when the owner returns. If there is fighting over toys, bones, etc., these should be removed. If rough play or running in closed areas (such as hallways) are triggers, these situations should be avoided. In addition, treatment with antidepressant and/or anxiolytic medications for one or both dogs may be helpful, but should only be used in combination with behavioral therapy..
(f) Dominance aggression
Since dominance related aggression is largely genetic, it cannot be cured. The owner should gain control of the dog’s behavior through gaining control of the dog’s attention (petting, speaking to dog), teaching the dog to look at the owner on cue, and teaching the dog to sit or lie down before any positive event (food, walks, play) so that this behavior can be used to have control of the dog. Aggressive dogs should not be allowed to jump onto people and they should not be permitted on furniture or laps. The only time they should receive attention is if they are sitting or laying down and pawing or nudging for attention should be ignored. Dogs should also have a “safe haven” such as a crate, where they can go (but not be punished) during high risk situations. Obedience training, and clicker training, can also be very helpful. Once there is control of the dog’s behavior, desensitization and counter-sensitization techniques can be used. Anxiolytics and anti-depressants can also be helpful, but only as adjuncts with behavioral therapy.
I hope this was the information you needed! Please let me know if I can help in any other way.
Behavioural problems in the domestic dog and breed dispositions - a study on links between behaviour and genes.
I think you have a great start and some really good ideas here! I will put my suggestions/changes in italics, feel free to use these changes as you see fit. Based on what you have started, I think a good outline to the paper would be as follows:
- discussion on basic genetics
- discussion on what we know about behavioral genetics
- breed specific traits/behaviors and what is known about these genetics
- how can we change our breeding practices to deal with behavioral problems
Scientific literature about the relationship between genetics and behavior in dogs, particularly pertaining to specific issues such as aggression, fear, and dominance, is lacking. This paucity of information is due to our limited understanding of the true nature of inheritance of behavioral traits, and the large impact of environmental influences on each individual animal’s personality. The objective of this thesis will be to address the connection between behavior and genetics, particularly as it applies to breed dispositions and behavioral problems in the domestic dog.
The relationship between genotype and phenotype was first described by Gregor Mendel using pea plants over 150 years ago. Using his scientific principles, many advances have been made in the understanding of inheritance of physical traits, behavior, and disease processes. However, Mendelian genetics alone cannot account entirely for the physical and behavioral characteristics of the individual; environmental influences and experiences also have a significant impact. For this reason, the Biological determinism theory, which describes a completely genetic basis to a specific behavior, has been largely discounted. Yet, just as genes are responsible for physical characteristics, they are also to a certain extent responsible for a dog's temperament. The impact of genetics and behavior can be most simply exemplified by evaluating how artificial selection for appearance and behavior has resulted in hundreds of breeds of dogs; each with their own desirable characteristics such speed, strength, and herding and guarding capabilities.
Specific behaviors of dogs are not the result of one particular gene; there are numerous genes that are involved in the development of behavior, and hence they are termed polygenic traits. Regardless, genes are only part of the complete explanation, as environmental influences will also contribute to the development of specific mannerisms. Therefore, the possession of an inherited variation doesn't guarantee that a specific characteristic will develop and hence the existence of specific genetic features can enhance or suppress other genetic features. (I think this paragraph is a little confusing, and needs more clarification to help tie together the idea of polygenic traits and their expression with environmental influences) Genes are turned "on" and "off" but other things can be preventing a gene from it being turned "on" additionally the protein programmed by a gene can be adapted which means that it influences its ability to carry out its usual cellular task. (Depending on how we re-word this paragraph will depend on how this sentence fits into it. After adjusting this paragraph, we can figure out how to further explore the idea of turning on and off genes)
Pangenesis theory states that within the body the hereditary particles are affected by experiences in their life, this is transported in the blood to the reproductive cells so that the offspring inherits the acquired characteristics. Anna, I would expand further on this theory if you want to include it in the thesis. To my understanding, this was Darwin’s attempt at explaining genetics, yet it is not widely accepted today. So if you want to include it in part of the history of understanding behavioral genetics, I would expand upon it more, and move it to the introduction. However, given that it is not really used currently, I don’t think that it is essential to the paper.
The offspring is given two copies of a gene which one comes from each parent and theses are known as alleles. If the two alleles are exactly the same it is said that the individual is homozygous for that trait and if the individual who is homozygous has two alleles that are not mixed together this is because one of the alleles is dominant over the other. Where an individual have two alleles that are different then the individual is heterozygous for that trait. Anna, I am not sure if you need to include this information, as it is more basic genetics than specific to behavior. And the reason I am not sure is I don’t know what your curriculum has been and if this information is expected to be in the paper. If you feel this needs to be included, then I would move it to the introduction part of the paper, and integrate it into part after a description of Mendelian genetics and before the explanation of why Mendelian genetics don’t completely account for behavior.
Throughout the breeding process the method genes are passed down to the offspring is simply down to chance. During the procedure of the construction of sex cells (which is the process of meiosis) just one of the individual's pairs of alleles of each trait is put into each sex cell. Genes for the traits are found on the various chromosomes and the location of a specific gene on a chromosome is known as the locus. I also think this information may not be needed, unless an explanation of basic genetics is needed based on your course’s requirements/expectations. Again, if you feel it is needed, I would move it up with the other information as above.
Normally a dog's predatory behaviour is stalk-chase-grab-bite-kill but, however, dogs tend to be selectively bred such that they only do particular parts of this sequence, to be able to perform very specific tasks. For example, the Border Collie and the Shetland Sheepdog will perform the stalking part of this sequence, which is used for herding. In addition to their ability to stalk, herding dogs have excellent athletic capabilities, are intelligent, agile, and obedient. They are responsive to a handler's commands yet also independent enough to work independently without continuous commands. Other characteristic behaviors among herding dogs include controlling a flock sheep using a steely stare known as "eye” and nipping at the heels of the animals being herded. They have an inbuilt yearning to gather, hold, and move flocks long distances, which are behaviors resulting from the unique genetics of the herding breeds.
In contrast, terriers, such as the XXXXX XXXXX or Parson’s Russell Terrier, were bred to keep rats, rabbits, and foxes under control both over and underground while several of the larger terrier breeds were used to hunt badgers. Therefore terriers, based on the work they were bred to perform, need stalk-chase-grab-bite-kill sequence. Consequently there is a natural instinct for terriers to shake and kill small animals. This predatory instinct can be activated when they see moving objects such as rats, mice, cats, squirrels, rabbits, or foxes or they hear the squeals and squeaks of small animals. Other behavioural traits are their inconsistent temperaments, excitable nature, high energy levels and strong will. Less desirable characteristics that these breeds may exhibit as pets include aggression towards other dogs, a tendency to explore and roam, and a passion for digging.
The Dachshund, or German badger dog, will also complete the entire stalk-chase-grab-bite-kill sequence as they were bred to follow and kill badgers, foxes, rabbits, and even wild boars. The Dachshund’s short legs allow it into narrow burrows and holes, and function as a prime example of breed genetic modification to achieve a specific trait. Common behavioral traits of the daschund include a clever, confident, energetic, and occasionally willful demeanor. They are adaptable to their environment, generally have a good-temperament, are loyal to their owner, are sometimes brave to the point of carelessness, and are inclined to bark. Like the terriers, the Dachshund also loves to dig, often to the chagrin of its owners. Daschunds may bite without any kind of warning, especially if there is a perceived threat, as their role as badger hunters require them to act quickly if threatened. This tendency for them to bite without provocation emphasizes the need proper socialization.
A lot of theses dog from each breed group share some behavioural traits as well as physical features.
I think you did a good job exploring the specific behaviors of some breeds of dogs above. I would further discuss canine aggression and its inheritance, especially why certain breeds are more prone to aggression.
To conclude the thesis, we will tie together all of the information about genetics and any role of environmental influences, and how this information can be used to improve breeding practices and educate owners (to not be surprised when their daschund digs for example!)
As another suggestion, I think it would be best to reference as much information as possible from text book or journal articles. Information can be published by anyone on the internet, and we don’t know how accurate it is. Information from published, peer reviewed or edited sources is much more reliable.
provide a “back stop” of effective regulation to ensure that where commitment and goodwill are lacking welfare standards cannot fall below acceptable
Behavioural problems in the domestic dog and breed dispositions - a study on links between behaviour and genes.
There is a lack of scientific literature about the relationship between genetics and behaviour in dogs, especially those connected to particular issues such as aggression, fear, and dominance. The reason for this insufficient information is because of our limited understanding of the true nature of inheritance of behavioural traits, as well as and the significant and variable affect of environmental influences on each individual animal's personality. The aim of this thesis will be to address the link between behaviour and genetics, especially as it relates to breed temperaments and behavioural problems in the domestic dog.
The relationship between genotype and phenotype was first described over one hundred and fifty years ago by Gregor Mendel using pea plants. Applying his scientific principles, much progress has been made in the understanding of inheritance of physical traits, behaviour, and disease processes. Nevertheless, Mendelian genetics on their own cannot account completely for the physical and behavioural traits of the individual; environmental influences also have a considerable impact. For that reason, the Biological determinism theory, which describes a entirely genetic basis to a particular behaviour, has been largely discounted. However, just as genes are responsible for physical characteristics, they are also to a certain extent responsible for a dog's temperament. The effect of genetics on behaviour can be most clearly illustrated by examining and determining how artificial selection for appearance and behaviour has resulted in hundreds of breeds of dogs; each with their own unique characteristics and traits.
Specific behaviours of dogs are not the result of one particular gene; there are numerous genes that are involved in the development of behaviour, and therefore they are termed polygenic traits. Irrespective to that, genes are only a part of the whole explanation, as environmental influences will also go towards the development of specific mannerisms. (These 2 sentences basically say the same thing as the end of the previous paragraph – I think you can either delete this or remove the last few sentences from the last paragraph and use this)
The presence of an inherited variation does not give guarantee that a specific characteristic will develop, therefore the existence of specific genetic features can intensify or suppress others. Genes are turned "on" and "off" but other things can be preventing a gene from it being turned "on" additionally the protein programmed by a gene can be adapted which means that it influences its ability to carry out its usual cellular task. (I think if you want to talk about this, you need to go into more detail – it really doesn’t fit into the paper here on its own, I think you need to expand on this point if you want to include it. That being said, I don’t know how crucial it is to the paper)
Every dog has thirty nine pairs of chromosomes of which thirty eight pairs are autosomes and the last pair are sex chromosomes. There are about one hundred thousand genes located in pairs on theses chromosomes. The pairs of genes are numbered from one to twelve and each pair are known as alleles. The pairs of genes have different combinations of genetic markers, so when theses genetic markers are AA this is normal and the dog will not suffer the condition, when the genetic markers are Aa this is normal but they carry the recessive gene which will be passed on to their offspring and when genetic markers are aa this is recessive and the dog will suffer the condition.
The offspring is given two copies of a gene of which one gene is given from each parent. The genetic markers which are AA and aa are matched pairs so the dog would be homozygous at that locus point (which is the particular location of a specific gene on a chromosome) for that trait and will express the trait. A dog that is heterozygous at that locus point then the genetic markers are Aa which is not a match because one alleles is dominant over the other. The dominant alleles is shown with an upper-case where the lower case represent the recessive alleles so AA is two dominant alleles which the condition is homozygous dominant, aa is two recessive alleles which the condition is called homozygous recessive and Aa is one dominant and one recessive alleles.
Throughout the breeding process the method genes are passed down to the offspring is simply down to chance. During the procedure of the construction of sex cells (which is the process of meiosis) just one of the individual's pairs of alleles of each trait is put into each sex cell.
Based on a sire and dame having four offspring this is the chance of them having offspring with certain genetic markers. If the sire and dame are both AA then all of their offspring will have a one hundred percent chance of also being AA which is normal and will not suffer the condition. If both parents are Aa which is normal but they carry the recessive gene that will be passed on to their offspring then there is a twenty five percent chance of the offspring (one pup) will be AA which is that this pup will not suffer the condition, a fifty percent chance of the offspring (two pups) will be Aa which is that theses puppies are normal but they carry the recessive gene that will be passed on to their offspring and a twenty five percent chance of the offspring (one pup) will be aa which result in this offspring suffering the condition. If both parents are aa (which is that both parents will suffer the condition) then all of their offspring will have a one hundred percent chance of also being aa which is these offspring will suffer the condition like their parents but the breeding of two parents with this genetic marker is very rare as the parents would not be around long enough to mate and pass on their gene. If the one parent is AA (which is normal and will not suffer the condition) and the other parent is Aa (which is normal but they carry the recessive gene that will be passed on to their offspring) then there is a fifty percent chance of their off spring (two pups) will be AA which means that theses two puppies will be normal therefore they will not suffer the condition and the other fifty percent (two puppies) will be Aa which means the two puppies will be normal but they will carry the recessive gene that will be passed on to their offspring. If one parent is AA (which is means that this dog will not suffer the condition) and the other parent is aa (which means this parent will suffer the condition, again this is rare as normally the dog will not be around long enough to pass on its genes) then the offspring will have a one hundred percent chance of being Aa which means that all four puppies will be normal but they will carry the recessive gene that will be passed on to their offspring. If one parent is Aa (which mean this parent is normal but they carry the recessive gene that will be passed on to their offspring) and the other is aa (which means this parent will suffer the condition, again this is rare as normally the dog will not be around long enough to pass on its genes) then the offspring will have a fifty percent chance (two puppies) of being Aa (which mean theses two puppies are normal but they carry the recessive gene that will be passed on to their offspring) and the other fifty percent (two puppies) being aa which is these offspring will suffer the condition.
Inbreeding is a big problem when it comes to behavioural as well as health problems as it increases homozygosity at all the gene locations as well as increases homozygosity for the recessive alleles which is just like it happens for the dominant alleles and therefore concealed recessive traits which previously would not be a problem now comes together a lot more often and causes health and behavioural problems.
(Anna, I don’t know if this discussion of basic genetics is really necessary, especially since it can be tough to make generalizations about inheritance/disease or no disease using this scheme, since it really depends on a specific problem and its mode of inheritance. If you feel that based on your course-work that this discussion is essential, then I would include it. However, since the whole introduction of the paper is saying that behavioural genetics don’t necessary follow mendelian inheritance patterns, it doesn’t seem useful to have a huge discussion about them. Again, I don’t know exactly what your requirements are, and what type of background is expected, so I will have to defer this to someone who has a better idea about the course and its expectations.)
Normally a dog's predatory behaviour is stalk-chase-grab-bite-kill but, however, dogs tend to be selectively bred such that they only do particular parts of this sequence, to be able to perform very specific tasks. For example, the Border Collie and the Shetland Sheepdog will perform the stalking part of this sequence, which is used for herding. In addition to their ability to stalk, herding dogs have excellent athletic capabilities, are intelligent, agile, and obedient. They are responsive to a handler's commands yet also independent enough to work without continuous instructions.. Other characteristic behaviours among herding dogs include controlling a flock sheep using a steely stare known as "eye" and nipping at the heels of the animals being herded. They have an inbuilt yearning to gather, hold, and move flocks long distances, which are behaviours resulting from the unique genetics of the herding breeds.
In contrast, terriers, such as the XXXXX XXXXX or Parson's Russell Terrier, were bred to keep rats, rabbits, and foxes under control both over and underground. Therefore terriers, depending on the work they were bred to do, need to perform the entire stalk-chase-grab-bite-kill sequence. Consequently there is a natural instinct for terriers to shake and kill small animals. This predatory instinct can be activated when they see moving objects such as rats, mice, cats, squirrels, rabbits, or foxes or they hear the squeals and squeaks of small animals. Other behavioural traits are their inconsistent temperaments, excitable nature, high energy levels and strong will. Undesirable traits that these breeds may display as pets include aggression towards other dogs, a tendency to explore and roam, and a passion for digging.
The Dachshund, or German badger dog, will also complete the entire stalk-chase-grab-bite-kill sequence as they were bred to follow and kill badgers, foxes, rabbits, and even wild boars. The Dachshund's short legs allow it into narrow burrows and holes, and function as a prime example of breed genetic alteration to accomplish a particular trait. Common behavioural traits of the Dachshund include a clever, confident, energetic, and occasionally wilful demeanour. They are adaptable to their environment, generally have a good-temperament, are loyal to their owner, are sometimes brave to the point of carelessness, and are inclined to bark. Like the terriers, the Dachshund also loves to dig, often to the annoyance of its owners. Dachshunds may bite without any kind of warning, particularly if there is a sensed threat, as their role as badger hunters necessitated quick action if threatened. This tendency for them to bite without aggravation stresses the need proper socialization.
German shepherds are active, intelligent, confident, faithful, and protective of their family members. They can be rather cautious with unfamiliar people. German shepherds are known to be very eager to learn and have a purpose in their life such as a job as a guard dog or police dog.
Newfoundland's are known to be kind, gently with children, and easy to train. (Since you haven’t discussed the origin of other breeds, I would not begin that discussion now, unless you plan to do so for all of the dogs. I think instead you can expand on the jobs Newfounds commonly perform and why their temperament is suited to these roles)
Sight hounds use sight to hunt for prey and therefore have excellent vision. Their long jaw and neck, deep chest, and athletic build and long strong legs are ideal for the chase part of their predatory behaviour instinct. The Afghan hound is affectionate, loyal, intelligent, independent, and playful. They have a very strong commitment to the pack and a very high prey drive, and have been known to ignore owner commands. Afghan hounds are used for lure coursing, and hunting. The Irish wolfhound is very, patient, easy going, affectionate, and dedicated to their owners. They are comparatively easy to train as long as the owner gives firm, gentle and consistent leadership.
Scent hounds use scent to hunt for prey and have unique characteristics such as long droopy ears. The long ear is thought to help collect scent from the air and keep it close to the face. They also have large nasal cavities for superior scent processing and loose, moist lips to capture scent particles. Scent hounds are active and will stay on a scent over lengthy distances, even over rough terrain and water. The temperaments of scent hounds are generally sweet, loyal, affectionate, intelligent, and independent.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks, a type of scent hound, are generally devoted to their owner, clever, strong-minded, and affectionate. They can be less responsive than some breeds, stubborn and destructive without adequate enough exercise. This breed was created by combining a greyhound’s speed with the fox terrier’s hunting instinct and the bulldog’s stubbornness in the hunt.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback genetics is that they have a genotype that is accountable for its ridge and this genotype has been found by a group of researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala University and the Broad Institute. Studies have taken place regarding the Rhodesian Ridgebacks ridge this included when an offspring is born "ridgelessness" this term is where an pure bred offspring from heterozygous parents does not receive a copy of the ridge mutation gene from one or the other of its parents, which means that these dogs who are "ridgelessness" are really just a normal dog that does not have a ridged back. The ridgelessness rate has been shown to be less than twenty five percent and this can not be made clear when applying it to the punnett square for a single gene/two alleles inheritance. The reason that this study may vary from the expected twenty five percent is that non heterozygous parents who possess a copy of both the ridgeless and ridged alleles were included in the study . By including homozygous dogs which have two copies of the ridged alleles it can be discovered that less than 25% frequency takes place when this is looked at over the whole population within the study. There is no actual molecular genetic test to find if the dog has the ridge gene though. (Since you haven’t gone into this level of detail about the genetics of other traits in the other dogs, I wouldn’t go into this level of detail here. I think a sentence or two is fine, but you don’t need all of this information)
The English fox hound, which is also a scent hound, is friendly, social, and active. They are independent dogs as well as courageous and avid hunters, and they are amenable to training. Their original purpose was to hunt deer, but they were also found to be capable fox hunters as well.
Since genetics have an undeniable role in behavior, breeding practice changes are needed to decrease the risk of undesirable inherited behavioural and health issues. In order to reduce the risk of behavioural problems, there needs to be more effort to deter the breeding for dogs with physical deformities, this could be achieved by the continuous collection of evidence from a wide range of veterinary surgeries, referral practices, university veterinary hospitals as well as other leading clinical centres would let scientist see what disorders are in existent in specific pure breeds or cross breeds furthermore they can find out at what age it happens and this data collection is crucial to support and guide improvements to the conduct of breeding away from particular conditions as well as be used to supply evidence on which decisions can be made about the regulations in the future and it would help both breeders and owners to steer their efforts away from inbreeding (This paragraph doesn’t really make sense – why would not breeding dogs with physical deformities lead to better behaviour? (unless those traits are linked). I think it is important to discuss the role of very selective breeding, and the benefit of veterinarian and research involvement. I would expand more on this)
There is room for much improvement in terms of current animal welfare regulations. In addition to routine inspections of breeding facilities, a written and enforced code of practice for breeders would help ensure ethical breeding of animals. If genetic testing for known diseases affective a given breeds is available, the mandatory use of such tests before breeding could also be enforced through incorporation of such standards into the law. While such testing will not completely eliminate diseases and behavioral problems immediately, they may help breeders make informed choices about dogs used in their breeding pool. Breeders who comply with these standards should be recognized such that potential dog owners can determine which breeders are upholding the ethics of responsible dog breeding.
It is very important that information and support is available to potential purebred dog owners to help them understand the importance of responsible breeding and finding healthy well socialized dogs. Such education would help prospective owners know the right questions to ask, and allow them to feel comfortable requesting visits of the kennels and meeting the parents of the prospective puppy.
Anna – I think things are coming along nicely. I would expand more on how to create effective regulations, the role of the veterinarian in education and health care, and more about being an educated prospective dog owner.
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