PuppyFat breeders volunteer to help research

This year, PuppyFat has partnered with Queen’s University Belfast in order to assist research into the vital areas of Enrichment and Socialisation. We asked PhD Student, Uri a few questions about the project…

Who are the researchers?

We are an animal behaviour and welfare research group based at Queen's University Belfast, in Northern Ireland, UK. The researchers on this project include; PhD Student Tori McAvoy, PhD Student Uri Baqueiro-Espinosa, and Project Supervisor Dr Gareth Arnott (Senior Lecturer in Animal Behaviour and Welfare).

What are you researching?

Our current research focuses on understanding the impact that different breeding environments have on the behaviour, health and productivity of breeding dams, and how these factors can affect not only their welfare but also subsequently influence maternal behaviour. Additionally, we are investigating which factors in the rearing environment (including maternal behaviour), affect the socialisation period of puppies and the implications this can have on their behavioural and cognitive development.

How can PuppyFat breeders help?

We are interested in compiling a group of dog breeders with a variety of backgrounds, and who are enthusiastic about contributing to research by providing information about the breeding and management practices they use. We expect that the outcomes of our research will help to develop enrichment and socialisation protocols which may be adapted to different dog breeding environments, thus improving the welfare of both breeding dogs and puppies in their future homes. The project aims to produce evidence based knowledge that breeders can use.

We are really looking forward to starting working with breeders and with QUB! If you sign up, you’ll soon be contacted you with more information about the opportunity to participate in upcoming research studies.

The research will not take up much of your time, and will mainly be done through a series of surveys about your recommended practices and routines.