Traits and genotypes may predict the successful training of drug detection dogs

Masami Maejima, Miho Inoue-Murayama, Keiichi Tonosaki, Naoto Matsuura, Shota Kato, Yasuhiro Saito, Alexander Weiss, Yuichi Murayama, Shin'ichi Ito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In Japan, approximately 30% of dogs that enter training programs to become drug detection dogs successfully complete training. To clarify factors related to the aptitude of drug detection dogs and develop an assessment tool, we evaluated genotypes and behavioural traits of 197 candidate dogs. The behavioural traits were evaluated within 2 weeks from the start of training and included general activity, obedience training, concentration, affection demand, aggression toward dogs, anxiety, and interest in target. Principal components analysis of these ratings yielded two components: Desire for Work and Distractibility. Desire for Work was significantly related to successful completion of training (P < 0.001). Since 93.3% of dogs that passed training and 53.3% of the dogs that failed training had Desire for Work scores of 45 or higher, we will be able to reject about half of inappropriate dogs before 3 months of training by adopting this cut-off point. We also surveyed eight polymorphic regions of four genes that have been related to human personality dimensions. Genotypes were not related to whether dogs passed, but there was a weak relationship between Distractibility and a 5HTT haplotype (P < 0.05). (C) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-298
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume107
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007

Keywords

  • drug detection dog
  • training
  • behavioural traits
  • genotype
  • BREED DIFFERENCES
  • ALLELE FREQUENCY
  • RECEPTOR GENE
  • GUIDE DOGS
  • PERSONALITY
  • BEHAVIOR
  • POLYMORPHISM
  • TEMPERAMENT
  • NUMBER
  • REGION

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