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Background

Breeding kennel and possible stressors

In 2004, a breeding kennel in Sollefteå was built and since the summer of 2005, all breeding occur here. Three to four weeks prior to the delivery the bitches are transferred to the breeding kennel from their civilian home. The biggest differences between the civilian homes and the breeding kennel are access to a smaller area, shorter walks and social isolation. These differences can be perceived as stressors.

There are both a physiological and a behavioural stress response for coping with the stressor. The physiological stress response is the release of glucocorticoids, cortisol in mammals. Cortisol can be used as biomarkers for stress. Measuring the cortisol level can be done by sampling blood, saliva, urine, or hair. The behavioural stress response is displaying different behaviours, indicating poor welfare in dogs. Some of these behaviours are repetitive behaviours, vocalisation and lowered fearful posture.

Maternal care

Social interaction in the neonatal period, for social mammals, is important for the development of social behaviours in the offspring. Studies have shown that maternal care affects the working memory, stress reactivity in the offspring and the social learning. The difference in maternal care varies depending on different factors affecting the mother such as stress during gestation.

Aims

The aims are to see if transfer and social isolation are perceived as stressors for the bitches, as well as to see if these potential stressors affect the maternal care.


Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 06/02/14