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Article

Concurrent and Predictive Criterion Validity of a Puppy Behaviour Questionnaire for Predicting Training Outcome in Juvenile Guide Dogs

1
Guide Dogs National Breeding Centre, Banbury Road, Bishops Tachbrook, Warwickshire CV33 9WF, UK
2
School of Veterinary Science & Medicine, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Leicestershire LE12 5RD, UK
3
Centre for Behaviour and Evolution, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University, Agriculture Building, Newcastle NE1 7RU, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2382; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122382
Received: 18 September 2020 / Revised: 3 November 2020 / Accepted: 7 December 2020 / Published: 11 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Collection Health, Behaviour and Performance in Working Dog Teams)
The ability to predict later success in guide dog training can be of great benefit to assistance dog providers, such as those providing guide dogs, to ensure maximum resource and production efficiency and to maintain high welfare standards. This study evaluated the predictive capabilities of a behaviour questionnaire (the refined puppy walker questionnaire, r-PWQ) completed by volunteer carers of puppies (puppy walkers) for dogs aged eight months of age. The r-PWQ includes traits such as “Distractibility” and “Excitability”, which are common withdrawal reasons for many guide dogs. The predictive validity of the r-PWQ was compared to a well-known behaviour questionnaire, (Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire—C-BARQ). The results show that the r-PWQ can be used to predict guide dog outcome and may be better suited to guide dog populations than the C-BARQ.
Working dog organisations regularly assess the behaviour of puppies to monitor progression. Here, we tested the predictive validity (for predicting success in guide dog training) of a shortened version of a previously developed juvenile dog behaviour questionnaire (the refined puppy walker questionnaire, r-PWQ) and compared it with the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ). The r-PWQ is used by Guide Dogs UK, whereas the C-BARQ was designed for pet dogs and is used by some other guide dog schools internationally. A cohort of dogs aged eight months (n = 359) were scored concurrently on the r-PWQ and C-BARQ. Analogous traits between the questionnaires were evaluated for internal consistency and association with training outcome and compared for concurrent validity. The r-PWQ was associated with training outcome for five scales (r-Excitability, Trainability, Animal Chase, r-Attachment and attention seeking and Distractibility) and the C-BARQ for two scales (Excitability and Separation-related behaviour). There were significant correlations between analogous C-BARQ and r-PWQ trait scores (p < 0.001) except for Separation-related behaviour and questionnaire scales had similar internal consistencies. The r-PWQ may be more suitable to use with guide dog schools. However, due to the correlation between analogous scales (except for “Distractibility”) some scales could be substituted for one another when reviewing the behaviour of dogs between guide dog schools using different questionnaires. View Full-Text
Keywords: guide dog; assistance dog; behaviour; prediction; personality; test guide dog; assistance dog; behaviour; prediction; personality; test
MDPI and ACS Style

Hunt, R.L.; England, G.C.W.; Asher, L.; Whiteside, H.; Harvey, N.D. Concurrent and Predictive Criterion Validity of a Puppy Behaviour Questionnaire for Predicting Training Outcome in Juvenile Guide Dogs. Animals 2020, 10, 2382. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122382

AMA Style

Hunt RL, England GCW, Asher L, Whiteside H, Harvey ND. Concurrent and Predictive Criterion Validity of a Puppy Behaviour Questionnaire for Predicting Training Outcome in Juvenile Guide Dogs. Animals. 2020; 10(12):2382. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122382

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hunt, Rebecca L., Gary C.W. England, Lucy Asher, Helen Whiteside, and Naomi D. Harvey. 2020. "Concurrent and Predictive Criterion Validity of a Puppy Behaviour Questionnaire for Predicting Training Outcome in Juvenile Guide Dogs" Animals 10, no. 12: 2382. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122382

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