Canine Behavior and Genetic Predisposition

Did you know that your canine’s behavior could actually be affected by the gene pool to which they belong? So when see your fur baby playing fetch over and over again (hello, English Springer Spaniel) or is unstoppable at chewing the blanket (but the labs are so cute!), do remember that it is their genetic makeup causing them to behave in certain ways.

Yes, it is true! Just check out the Christmas article on testing your dog’s DNA. Truth be told, there is plenty of pending research around this topic. For the curious pet parent, there are plenty of DIY DNA test kits available to determine your pooch genetic make-up.

DNA and Behavior

Particular behavioral traits of dogs could explain how the genetic link is true.

Some breeds of dogs are better at remembering things than other breeds. This is a particular genome that helps in building a better memory than other breeds.

Labradors are great at retrieving things and it is a common feature among labs of all shapes, sizes and color. This is yet another distinctive feature among dogs of this breed. Owing to the fact that selective breeding has been done for generations together, decoding dog DNA might be a lot more simplified than human DNA.

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How Will the Studies Help?

People seem to know more about the bodies and physical responses of a dog than their behavior and their brain structure. The primary reason behind this is there has never been a large scale study involving the behavioral traits and the genetic data of several dogs together.

Researchers are more inclined towards citizen science research so that they can study the genetics responsible for canine behavior effectively. The biggest benefit of this research would clearly be to help pet parents have a better understanding of their pets. They would also be able to find out ways to accommodate the changes in the behavioral pattern of dogs as and when they change.

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What Are Some Examples?

Considering the fact that dog DNA is the highlight of the day, the studies reveal some interesting facts about dogs and their tendencies. A study made in the year 2014 revealed that there are 4 specific genes intricately connected with the development of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Behavior) in canines.

These genes seemed to be found in breeds like Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Shetland Sheepdogs and Bull Terriers.

Helping Pet Parents Make Informed Decisions

The fact that a dog’s behavioral pattern is largely affected by its gene pool is not news anymore. With better awareness, potential pet parents are being greatly influenced by the findings.

If a particular breed has predominant ‘undesirable’ behavioral patterns, pet parents are either writing them off completely or are looking at adaptations and adjustments to their training and socialization patterns so that these traits could be erased at the earliest stage. You could call this an informed decision.

Need Training? Mark “Dogman” Castillero and his team at Pro-Train Innovative Training have trained thousands of dogs and hundreds of breeds. Email Mark at protraindog@gmail.com with your specific concerns or questions.

Author Bio

This post was contributed by Pete Decker, the Lead Editor at The Goody Pet. Pete loves to share his passion for pets through snippets of interesting and helpful information. You can find more of Pete at his website, Twitter or Facebook.