Objectives—To determine potential risk factors and
behaviors associated with separation anxiety and
develop a practical index to help in the diagnosis of
separation anxiety in dogs.
Animals—200 dogs with separation anxiety and 200
control dogs with other behavior problems.
Procedures—Medical records were reviewed for signalment,
history of behavior problems, home environment,
management, potentially associated behaviors,
and concurrent problems.
Results—Dogs from a home with a single adult
human were approximately 2.5 times as likely to have
separation anxiety as dogs from multiple owner
homes, and sexually intact dogs were a third as likely
to have separation anxiety as neutered dogs. Several
factors associated with hyperattachment to the
owner were significantly associated with separation
anxiety. Spoiling activities, sex of the dog, and the
presence of other pets in the home were not associated
with separation anxiety.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results do
not support the theory that early separation from the
dam leads to future development of separation anxiety.
Hyperattachment to the owner was significantly
associated with separation anxiety; extreme following
of the owner, departure cue anxiety, and excessive
greeting may help clinicians distinguish between
canine separation anxiety and other separation-related
problems. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:
Objective—To evaluate and define the characteristics of tail chasing in Bull Terriers and explore the association between tail chasing and other behavioral and physical characteristics.
Design—Survey and case-control study.
Animals—333 Bull Terriers (145 dogs with tail-chasing behavior and 188 unaffected dogs).
Procedures—Owners of Bull Terriers with tail-chasing behavior were surveyed regarding the age of onset, triggers, frequency, duration, interruptability, degree of disruption to the dogs' normal functioning and the owners' relationship with the dog, and associated medical and physical consequences. Associations of tail chasing with various behavioral and physical characteristics were examined by comparison of dogs with tail-chasing behavior with unaffected dogs.
Results—Phenotypic and developmental descriptions of tail chasing in Bull Terriers were defined. Associations of tail chasing with sex, trance-like behavior, and episodic aggression were found. Males were at an 8% greater risk for the diagnosis of tail chasing than females. Phobias and owner-directed aggression did not significantly associate with tail chasing in the final log-linear model, but did have significant associations in earlier analyses that did not include the behaviors of episodic aggression and trance-like behavior.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In Bull Terriers with tail-chasing behavior, there was a slight increase in the susceptibility of males to develop tail-chasing behavior, compared with females. A close association of tail chasing with trance-like behavior and episodic aggression was identified.
Objective—To evaluate blanket and flank sucking and any association with pica in Doberman Pinschers.
Design—Survey and case-control study.
Animals—153 Doberman Pinschers (77 dogs with blanket or flank sucking and 76 unaffected dogs).
Procedures—Owners of Doberman Pinschers with blanket sucking, flank sucking, or both were surveyed regarding the age of onset, triggers, frequency, duration, interruptability, and associated medical and behavioral consequences. A putative association of blanket sucking and flank sucking with pica was examined by comparison of affected dogs with unaffected dogs.
Results—Apart from the difference in the object of oral activity between blanket and flank suckers, age of onset was the only variable that differed between dogs with the 2 conditions. Dogs with blanket or flank sucking had a higher prevalence of pica than the unaffected population.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Blanket and flank sucking are apparently related conditions that can occur with sufficient intensity to cause medical sequelae. These nonnutritive suckling behaviors share similarities with other canine compulsive disorders and are associated with pica. Veterinarians should advise owners that flank and blanket sucking are abnormal, potentially harmful behaviors in dogs. Treatment should be considered for severely affected dogs or when flank or blanket sucking is associated with medical problems.
Objective—To analyze factors associated with interdog household aggression and determine treatment outcomes.
Design—Retrospective case series and survey.
Animals—38 pairs of dogs with interdog household aggression. Each pair of dogs was considered 1 case.
Procedures—Records of dogs with interdog household aggression that were examined during initial or follow-up consultations at a veterinary teaching hospital from December 5, 2006, to December 5, 2007, were analyzed for clinical features. Data regarding outcome, owner compliance, and efficacy of recommended treatments obtained by use of a follow-up survey were evaluated.
Results—Most cases (30/38 [79%]) of interdog household aggression involved same-sex pairs; 26 of 38 (68%) cases involved 1 female or a pair of females. Instigators and recipients of aggression were clearly identified in 27 of 38 (71%) cases; most instigators were the younger of the pair (20/27 [74%]) or were newer additions to the household (19/27 [70%]). Fight-eliciting triggers included owner attention, food, excitement, and found items. Some dogs had risk factors for behavior problems such as a history of living in multiple households (21/51 [41%]), adoption after 12 weeks of age (20/51 [39%]), or being acquired from a shelter (17/51 [33%]). Effective treatment recommendations included implementing a so-called nothing-in-life-is-free program, giving 1 dog priority access to resources, and administering psychotropic medication. Frequency and severity of fighting were significantly reduced after consultation. Owners reported a 69% overall improvement following treatment.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Most treatment strategies were considered effective. Consistency and predictability of social interactions are essential in resolving interdog household aggression.
Objective—To evaluate the effect of high- and lowprotein
diets with or without tryptophan supplementation
on behavior of dogs with dominance aggression,
territorial aggression, and hyperactivity.
Design—Prospective crossover study.
Animals—11 dogs with dominance aggression, 11
dogs with territorial aggression, and 11 dogs with
Procedure—In each group, 4 diets were fed for 1
week each in random order with a transition period of
not < 3 days between each diet. Two diets had low
protein content (approximately 18%), and 2 diets had
high protein content (approximately 30%). Two of the
diets (1 low-protein and 1 high-protein) were supplemented
with tryptophan. Owners scored their dog's
behavior daily by use of customized behavioral score
sheets. Mean weekly values of 5 behavioral measures
and serum concentrations of serotonin and
tryptophan were determined at the end of each
Results—For dominance aggression, behavioral
scores were highest in dogs fed unsupplemented
high-protein rations. Tryptophan-supplemented low-protein
diets were associated with significantly lower
behavioral scores than low-protein diets without tryptophan
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—For dogs with
dominance aggression, the addition of tryptophan to
high-protein diets or change to a low-protein diet may
reduce aggression. For dogs with territorial aggression,
tryptophan supplementation of a low-protein
diet may be helpful in reducing aggression. (J Am Vet
Med Assoc 2000;217:504–508)