Former laboratory dogs’ psychological and behavioural characteristics

Lopresti-Goodman SM, Bensmiller N (2022): Former laboratory dogs’ psychological and behavioural characteristics. Vet Med-Czech 67, 599–610.

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It is becoming increasingly common for laboratories to allow the rehoming of dogs when they are no longer needed. There is no research, however, comparing the characteristics of dogs from laboratories to dogs acquired from more traditional sources for pets. This study used the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ) to compare emotional and behavioural characteristics of 100 former laboratory Beagles who were rehomed to a convenience sample of 244 pet Beagles with no known history of laboratory use. Our results revealed that the former laboratory Beagles exhibited increased fearfulness, attention and attachment behaviours, and more abnormal behaviours than the convenience sample, yet were significantly less aggressive, and likely to chase other animals or escape. Importantly, we also found no significant differences in a majority of the everyday behaviours assessed. Our findings demonstrate dogs rehomed from laboratories form strong bonds with their caregivers, and make equally good companions as their non-laboratory counterparts. Our findings may be helpful in designing appropriate rehabilitation programmes, educating laboratory workers and potential adopters, and support the ongoing efforts to offer these dogs for adoption.

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