Home
Guest Posts
Print|Text Size: ||
Gene Linked to Compulsive Disorder
Dogs and humans have a lot in common
For the study, researchers compared the genomes of Doberman Pinschers with and without compulsive sucking behaviors.

Last spring, Julia Kamysz Lane blogged about a study that suggested a link between compulsive tail-chasing and high cholesterol in dogs. Now, Bark contributor Mark Derr reports for The New York Times on a study linking compulsive behavior in dogs—think: excessive licking, fence running, spinning, staring and more—to a gene for the first time. The discovery is important not simply for the estimated five to six million (!) dogs afflicted with obsessive behaviors but may prove beneficial to the 2.5 to 8 percent of the human population afflicted with related disorders. One more example of how our welfare is tied to dogs.

 

In particular, though, I’m glad that Derr stresses in his story the important role that environment plays in the development of compulsive behaviors, going so far as to say nurture outweighs genetic factors in some cases. Understanding the genetic piece may prove valuable in treating compulsive disorders in dogs (and people) someday, but it won’t be a substitute for our role in keeping our animals healthy and providing low-stress, low-anxiety environments.

 

Print

Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom.

Order Dog Park Wisdom

iStockphoto.

More From The Bark

More in Guest Posts:
Herding in Glacier National Park
Volunteering is a Family Tradition
Dogs Are Marathoners, Cat Are Sprinters
How Sleepypod Protected My Dog in an Accident
Tail Docking and Ear Cropping Affect Dogs, and Not Just Physically
Free the Animal, Don’t get Sued
When it Comes to Crates, Think Outside the Box
Dangers to Dogs Hiking in Heat
Dogs Provide Unique Comfort to Hospice Patients
Secret Life of Pets