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Effect of Auditory Stimulation During Early Development in Puppy Testing of Future Police Working Dogs
- Alves, J.C., Santos, A., Lopes, B., Jorge, P.
- Topics in companion animal medicine 2018 v.33 no.4 pp. 100-104
- German Shepherd, adults, early development, females, humans, males, medicine, music, noise pollution, pets, police, protocols, puppies, radio, sounds
- The aim of this study was to determine if the use of auditory stimulation during early development stages of young puppies, using a variety of sounds such as music, radio talk shows, and ambient noise, that included car noises, sirens, and gunshots, could affect the results of early puppy testing of future police working dogs. Sixty-seven puppies at 7 weeks of age were submitted to a 9-situation test and their results analyzed. The sample comprised 34 males and 33 females, from 4 different breeds/crosses (27 German Shepherd Dog, 19 Belgian Malinois Shepherd Dog, 7 Dutch Shepherd Dog, and 14 animals of a cross of German Shepherd Dog with Belgian Malinois Shepherd Dog), representing 12 litters. Puppies were divided in 2 groups, G1 (n = 46) and G2 (n = 21), with G1 being submitted only to the standard socialization protocol in use in the Grupo de Intervenção Cinotécnico while puppies in G2, beside the standard socialization protocol, were also presented with auditory stimulation throughout the day, particularly during playtime and meal time. Significant differences were observed in some situations between groups, with puppies in G1 achieving better scores on this specific test, which aims to access a puppy's level of interaction with humans, reaction to manipulations, and reaction to different environmental stimulus. No differences were found between sexes but some differences between breeds were found, suggesting familial effects on noise reaction. Further studies, involving a greater number of puppies and litters, and that would also include noise exposure quantification, behavioral, and physiological assays are required to confirm these findings. It will also be of interest to evaluate if the results obtained as a young puppy have any connection with future adult performance.