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Kitaco pups in La Trobe Uni study

Founded in 2002, the La Trobe University Anthrozoology Research Group (ARG) is an Australian-based research team, which includes post-doctoral researchers and students interested in studying the relationship between humans and other non-human animals, led by Professor Pauleen Bennett with a diverse group of ARG members, ranging from psychology and social science, to animal behaviour, biological science, zoology, and veterinary science.

Anthrozoology is the study of human (anthro) and animal (zoo) relationships. Although such study can include wildlife, zoo animals, and farmed animals, the ARG focuses primarily on companion animals, because when interspecies relationships work, they can provide terrific health and wellbeing benefits for both humans and animals. But when they fail, humans and animals alike can suffer.

The Anthrozoology Research Group uses a multidisciplinary approach to learn more about what makes human relationships with companion animals succeed—then use their findings to make life better for everyone, whether two-legged or more.

ARG PhD candidate, Jessica Dawson, recently approached us to complete a questionnaire on our dog breeding practices (Ethics Approval Number: HEC21006) and we have now been invited to take part in the second phase of the project in which our puppy owners will be asked to complete a series of questionnaires across the next few years. From these data the study hopes to learn more about the influences of early experiences on various outcomes for puppies, such as their behaviour, temperament, and relationship with their owners.

The original information provided by breeders who took part in the first phase forms an important baseline of data about breeding practices and the role breeders play in preparing puppies for life with their human companions. Being able to link these data with data supplied by people who have purchased puppies from us (and the other breeders in the study) will be invaluable.

The study will follow puppies right from birth to two years old and track the influence of different breeder practices over time. We'll be able to access a summary of study and our dogs progress at the end, providing valuable information for us as well, as we move forward with our breeding.

We are so pleased and honoured to have been invited to take part in this study and do whatever small thing we can to improve the lot for all dog/human relationships by providing qualitative scientific data to the people who are working so hard to provide hard scientific evidence of what works and doesn't work, when it comes to socialisation and temperament in puppies.


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