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Anxiety and impulsivity: Factors associated with premature graying in young dogs

By Camille King, Thomas J. Smith, Temple Grandin, Peter Borchelt

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The present study examined the association of anxiety and impulsivity with premature muzzle grayness among young dogs. A sample of 400 dogs, ages 1–4 years was obtained at dog parks, shows, veterinary clinics, and other venues. Each dog was photographed and the degree of muzzle grayness was rated on an ordinal scale ranging from “no gray” to “full gray.” White or pale colored dogs were dropped from the study because it was impossible to determine degree of grayness. Each owner filled out a questionnaire assessing the constructs of anxiety and impulsivity, as well as other behaviors and characteristics. To prevent response bias, owners were told that the purpose of the study involved dog lifestyle. Distractor items were added to the survey to prevent the owner from guessing the purpose of the survey. Examples of survey items indicating anxiety included: destruction when left alone; hair loss on vet exam or being in a new place; and cringes/cowers in response to groups of people. Examples of survey items indicating impulsivity included: jumping on people, inability to calm, loss of focus, hyperactivity after exercise. In our sample of young dogs, latent variable regression showed that the extent of muzzle grayness was significantly and positively predicted by anxiety (p=0.005) and impulsivity (p

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 185
Pages 78-85
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Aging
  2. Anxiety
  3. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  4. Dogs