We found that 89% of people had read my puppy manual and found it helpful, then we looked at “Behaviour” and “Trainability” in the survey and found that 83.4% of owners were very satisfied with their dog’s behaviour and 85.3% were happy with their dogs “trainability”. 100% would of course the ultimate result but we are dealing with living creatures here and a perfect score may be unattainable. This is the result from 410 owners who answered this question:
And the result for Trainability:
The results were also broken down by breed and show that the F1 Labradoodles are the dogs with the highest satisfaction levels: 90.21% very satisfied with behaviour and 87% happy with their ‘trainability”. Groodles are a close second with an 89% approval rating for training and 85% approval for behaviour. The backcross dogs recorded 81% for trainability and 78% for behaviour and Cavoodles and Golden labradoodles both scored 78% for behaviour and 84% for trainability.
The behaviour problems represented among the 16.6% of people who were less than perfectly satisfied with their dogs behaviour were either excessive excitability or anxiety related. Separation anxiety, storm phobias, and fear +/- aggression towards unknown dogs and people were the main problems. Food aggression was an issue with a small number of dogs and one dog appeared to show dominance aggression.
I have updated my puppy manual in the light of these findings and work hard with people to prevent problems developing. I encourage anyone to contact me immediately if they feel there are problems arising so that we can discuss strategies to prevent behaviour problems developing.
We have addressed the anxiety issues both by selection of breeding dogs and also in our puppy management.
We try to minimize noise phobias by exposing all puppies to sounds from birth with an array of noises including thunder, fireworks, sirens, bells and traffic noises (and a bit of Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone and the Moody Blues!).
In order to reduce generalized anxiety, puppies are put through a program of “Early Neural Stimulation”, a rigorous handling procedure from 3 to 21 days of age. This program has been shown to build resilience and reduce anxiety in puppies at 5 weeks and it has been shown to have lifelong effects in laboratory animals.
From 6 to 8 weeks of age puppies are housed in the busiest part of the kennel and are handled and played with regularly each day.