Gundogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are a distinct and specialised group of dogs, originally bred and trained to find live game and retrieve shot game. Some gundog breeds are popular companion dogs and are trained as service, guide, search and rescue or medical detection dogs. Their popularity and the 50% failure rate of working dogs during training programs make it necessary to investigate how training success rates can be improved and thus reducing the number of dogs that are discarded. This study aims at investigating motor laterality in combination with the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire as an indicator for the suitability of dogs for different occupations. Different breeds of gundogs (N = 32) were observed during three different tasks (urination, Kong® and tail wagging). The findings show that dogs displaying a left leg bias during urination had statistically significantly higher trainability scores (3.626 ± 0.305) than right biased dogs (2.986 ± 0.350), t(9)=3.47, P = 0.007. Similar results were found for the Kong® task, where lateralised dogs had statistically significantly higher trainability scores (3.565 ± 0.284) than ambilateral dogs (3.067 ± 0.538), t(27)=3.31, P = 0.003. One explanation for this result may be that left bias indicates an activation of the right brain hemisphere, which is also involved in responding to novel situations and environments. This seems especially important for working gundogs in the field: they are confronted with a number of novel environments and situations.
|Type||BSc (Hons) thesis|
|Media of output||Thesis|
|Number of pages||86|
|Place of Publication||Sparsholt College|
|Publication status||Published - 11 Mar 2015|