Genetic and environmental factors affecting the suitability of dogs as Guide Dogs for the Blind
- 472 Downloads
Many dogs are found to be unsuitable for training as guide dogs for the blind. Consequently the Royal Guide Dogs for the Blind Association of Australia has embarked on a breeding program to produce a strain of labrador dogs which is suitable for guide dog training.
The most common reasons for rejecting dogs are fearfulness, dog distraction, excitability, health and physical reasons and hip dysplasia. The selection program seems to have been successful in improving the success rate mainly by lowering fearfulness, but there has not been a continuing improvement. This is probably due to continual introduction of dogs from other populations into the breeding program.
Males suffer from a higher rejection rate due to dog distraction and a lower rejection rate due to fearfulness and excitability than females, so that there is little sex difference in overall success rate.
The heritability of success (0.44) is high enough to predict further progress from selection, again mainly against fearfulness.
Variation in environment prior to 6 weeks of age, in age when dogs were placed into a private home and in age when males were castrated, had little effect on the success rate.
Key wordsGuide dogs Behaviour Genetics
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Badham, B. (1975): The effect of artificial breeding on the rate of genetic improvement of butterfat yield in Victorian Jerseys. MSc thesis. Univers. MelbourneGoogle Scholar
- Baillie, J.R. (1972): The behavioural requirements necessary for auide dogs for the blind in the United Kingdom. Br. Vet J. 128, 477Google Scholar
- Biship, Y.M.M.; Fienberg, S.E.; Holland, P.W. (1975): Discrete Multivariate Analysis: Theory and Practice. Cambridge: MIT pressGoogle Scholar
- Ehrman, L.; Parsons, P.A. (1976): The Genetics of Behaviour. Sunderland: SinaverGoogle Scholar
- Elston, R.C. (1977): Estimating ‘heritability’ of a dichotomous trait. Biometrics 33, 232–236Google Scholar
- Goddard, M.E. (1979): Development of a breeding programme for guide dogs. PhD thesis. Univers. MelbourneGoogle Scholar
- Guide Dogs for the Blind (1975): Annual report. Guide dogs for the Blind. U.K.Google Scholar
- Harvey, W.R. (1968): Instructions for Use of LSMLGP (leastsquares and maximum likelihood general purpose program). Unpubl. manualGoogle Scholar
- Murphee, O.D.: Dykman, R.A. (1965): Litter patterns in the offspring of nervous and stable does. I: Behavioural tests. J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. 141, 321–322Google Scholar
- Murphee, O.D.; Newton, J.E.O. (1971): Crossbreeding and special handling of genetically nervous dogs. Cond. Reflex 6, 129–136Google Scholar
- Nelder, J.A. (1975): The GLIM System (generalized linear interactive modelling) Manual. Release 2 Roy. Stat. Soc.Google Scholar
- Pfaffenberger, C.J.: Scott, J.P. (1959): The relationship between delayed socialization and trainability in guide dogs. J. Genet. Psychol. 95, 145–155Google Scholar
- Scott, J.P.: Bielfelt, S.W. (1976): Analysis of the puppy testing program. In: Guide Dogs for the Blind: Their Selection. Development and Training (eds. Pfaffenbergcr, C.J.: Scott, J.P.: Fuller, J.L.; Ginsburg, B.E.; Bielfelt, S.W.). pp. 39–76 Amsterdam: ElsevierGoogle Scholar
- Scott, J.P.; Fuller, J.L. (1965): Genetics and Social Behaviour of the Dog. Chicago: Univers. Chicago PressGoogle Scholar
- Swiger, L.A.: Harvey, W.R.; Everson, D.O.: Gregory, K.E. (1964): The variance of intraclass correlation involving groups with one observation. Biometrics 20, 818–826Google Scholar
- Tallis, G.M. (1959): Sampling errors of genetic correlation coefficients calculated from analyses of variance and covariance. Austr. J. Stat. 1, 35–43Google Scholar