Veterinarians need to do more to discourage people from breeding dogs with extremely flat faces. Jessica Perry Hekman, DVM, PhD, compares the recent British Veterinary Association (BVA) position statement on flat-faced dogs, which is quite forward thinking, to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) position, which is weak, at best. “U.S. veterinarians are lacking strong leadership bringing us forward. How can we help to fix these breeds? One step is a new policy from the AVMA, providing real guidance to the veterinarians on the front lines about how to talk to the owners and breeders of brachycephalic dogs.”
Jessica Perry Hekman, DVM, PhD, tackles The Question – Is genetics absolute? In other words, can some dogs be dealt a bad hand genetically and be doomed to a life of bad behavior? She addresses real world questions like “Are pit bull-type dogs genetically aggressive toward people?” and “Is my dog aggressive because of poor socialization (my fault) or bad genetics (the breeder’s fault)?Behavior Research, canine genetics, dog behavior, heritability
We are just at the beginning of a golden age of genetics. We are learning more and more about how environmental differences affect animals at a genetic level, and we are realizing that genes aren’t the whole story as we originally thought.
We know that socializing puppies is incredibly important if we want them to grow up friendly to everyone they meet and relaxed in unfamiliar surroundings. High quality early socialization provides a lifelong solid behavioral foundation to help a dog deal with whatever life might throw at him. But could it last longer than a lifetime? Could socialization actually extend to the behavior of a dog’s puppies?Behavior Research, Epigenetics, Socialization