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Classification of behaviour problems in dogs: distributions of age, breed, sex and reproductive status

By J. C. Wright, M. S. Nesselrote

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170 behaviour problems were observed in 105 dogs referred for behaviour-problem management by practicing veterinarians. 90% of the observed behaviour problems were classified within three major categories: aggression; stimulus reactivity; separation-related. Aggression and stimulus reactivity problems were further sub-divided by their dominant behavioural components, i.e. excessive approach or avoidance in relation to the target stimuli. The mean age for dogs presented for problem behaviour was 3.4 years, which did not differ as a function of diagnostic category. The distributions of different types of aggression seen in dogs and the most frequent pair-wise combinations of different types of aggression in the sample were described. Significantly more intact males and neutered females were referred for aggressive and stimulus reactivity behaviour problems, but dogs with separation-related problems did not differ. The value of identifying the dominant components of behaviour problems for clarifying the direction of behaviour change was discussed.

Date 1987
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 19
Issue 1/2
Pages 169-178
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Dep. Psychol., Mercer Univ., Macon, GA 31207, USA.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Abnormal behavior
  2. Aggression
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Animal health and hygiene
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Deviant behavior
  7. Dogs
  8. Mammals
  9. Pets and companion animals
  10. predisposition