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Owner reports of attention, activity, and impulsivity in dogs: a replication study.



When developing behaviour measurement tools that use third party assessments, such as parent report, it is important to demonstrate reliability of resulting scales through replication using novel cohorts. The domestic dog has been suggested as a model to investigate normal variation in attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behaviours impaired in Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). The human ADHD Rating Scale, modified for dogs and using owner-directed surveys, was applied in a European sample. We asked whether findings would be replicated utilizing an Internet survey in a novel sample, where unassisted survey completion, participant attitudes and breeds might affect previous findings.


Using a slightly modified version of the prior survey, we collected responses (n = 1030, 118 breeds representing 7 breed groups) primarily in the United States and Canada. This study was conducted using an Internet survey mechanism.


Reliability analyses confirmed two scales previously identified for dogs (inattention [IA], hyperactivity-impulsivity [HA-IM]). Models including age, training status, and breed group accounted for very little variance in subscales, with no effect of gender.


The factor invariance demonstrated in these findings confirms that owner report, using this modified human questionnaire, provides dog scores according to "inattention" and "hyperactivity-impulsivity" axes. Further characterization of naturally occurring variability of attention, activity, and impulsivity in domestic dogs may provide insight into genetic backgrounds underlying behaviours impaired in attention and associated disorders.

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