Friday, December 09, 2005

The Secret Lives of Labradors

A new Australian government study reaches the shocking conclusion that Labrador retrievers spend most of their time sleeping or just lazing about.

Yes, the occasion shoe got chewed or hole dug, but cameras set up by researcher Amanda Kobelt revealed that labs did very little or absolutely nothing about 65 percent of the time.

Kobelt conducted the study to see what could be done to prevent problem behavior in dogs confined in back yards.

"What we have found is quite surprising," she explained. "Neither the size of the back yard, the complexity of the yard, the presence of another dog, nor the time spent with people, on its own or out walking, were related to dog behavioral problems.

What did appear to matter was the type of relationship the owner and dog had.

Kobelt said her research suggested that dogs with a very strong attachment to their owner were often more stressed and anxious when left home alone. These dogs paced around the yard or waited at the back door to try to get as close as possible to their owner.

She said techniques recommended by vets and dog trainers to reduce separation anxiety were useful like making sure arrival and departure times were kept low key.

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