STATES CHRONICLE – We can’t help loving all puppies and wishing they get all pampered and spoiled by their mothers. However, this is not a good behavior if they are going to train to become guide dogs. Research showed puppies grow up to be better at guiding the blind if they are exposed to ‘tough love’ from their mothers.
Puppies’ relationship with their mother is crucial
If you get to experience more tough situations when you are younger, you naturally grow up better at handling difficult situations. It seems the situation stays the same for puppies. If they are training to become guide dogs, they are more likely to succeed if their mothers hadn’t pampered them.
For the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers analyzed the behavior of several pups which underwent training to become seeing eye dogs at a special facility located in New Jersey, called The Seeing Eye.
They closely observed 23 dog mothers and 98 puppies by monitoring them both on video and in real life for the first five weeks of their life. Then, they noticed how those pups which their mothers allowed to learn new things on their own grew into great guide dogs.
Tougher dog-moms give birth to better guide dog candidates
On the other hand, those which were much too pampered by their mothers became anxious and easily scared by new things. This didn’t allow them to complete the tough training they had to undergo to become liable to lead the blind.
Among the things they looked at, there was the position in which the mother nursed the pups, how often she groomed them, and how much time she spent with or away from them. Nursing while standing is a key point to help puppies become tough, as they have to struggle more to get to the milk.
Therefore, we shouldn’t feel bad for those puppies who are not as pampered as we want them to be. This will help them grow up brave and become good guide dogs, helping those in need live a life as close to normal as possible.
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