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Barking at the Vacuum, Too?

Nearly three-quarters of dogs whose owners were surveyed exhibit problematic behaviors that may partially be rooted in the dogs' genes, Scientific American reports

Researchers from the University of Helsinki surveyed 13,715 dog owners about seven anxiety-related traits in their dogs, such as noise sensitivity, compulsive behavior, and aggression. As they report in Scientific Reports this week, the Helsinki researchers found that 72.5 percent of dogs had some sort of problematic behavior, the most common one being noise sensitivity, which affected about a third of pet dogs.

The prevalence of these traits varied by breed. For instance, more than 10 percent of Miniature Schnauzers were aggressive toward strangers, but only 0.4 percent of Labrador Retrievers were, and Lagotto Romagnolos exhibited high levels of noise sensitivity, social fear, and aggression, but Staffordshire Bull Terriers exhibited high levels of compulsive behavior, hyperactivity, and inattention. This grouping by breed, the researchers noted, suggests the traits may have a genetic basis.