2nd July 2003

 

UNIVERSITY RESEARCHERS NEED HELP FROM DOG OWNERS

 

Researchers at the University of Lincoln have renewed their appeal for dog-owners to help them with a new study.

 

Scientists need owners of young puppies to take part in a study measuring the effectiveness of a new type of  therapy which uses natural odours to reassure puppies and help them to settle in.

 

The therapy uses Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP), a synthetic chemical delivered into the puppy’s environment via a plug-in air freshener type device, and dog-owners can test the device in their own homes.

 

Leaving your mother, brothers and sisters to go and live in a strange new home can be an anxious time for a puppy.

 

Breeders have often recommended that a puppy goes home with a piece of mum’s blanket, so that for the first few days the puppy is reminded of home and feels more secure.

 

Now the new DAP diffuser is being tested to see if it can help young puppies who leave their mother to settle into their new home.

 

“This is a relatively new field of study known as pheromonatherapy - the use of chemicals naturally produced by animals to alter the behaviour of others for the better,” explained Daniel Mills, principal lecturer in Biological Sciences, who is leading the study.

 

“DAP is derived from a pheromone produced by the bitch when she is suckling her pups. It has already been shown to have a positive effect on adult dogs with a fear of fireworks and dogs suffering from signs of separation anxiety.

 

“Since puppies are deprived of this pheromone when they leave their mother, continuing the supply in the new home may reduce the likelihood of crying at night and other signs of anxiety at this time.”

 

The research team at Riseholme Park urgently needs more dog owners to help out with the study. If you are thinking of getting a puppy (six to ten weeks old) over the next few months and would like to help in the university’s month-long study, please contact Katy Taylor on Lincoln 895453, write to her c/o Animal Behaviour, Cognition and Welfare Group, University of Lincoln, Riseholme Park, Lincoln LN2 2LG or email ktaylor@lincoln.ac.uk 

 

For more information contact: Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager

University of Lincoln (tel: 01522 886042)            email: jashberry@lincoln.ac.uk