Car2ner, that’s quite a bit easier as spay/neuter status is in your dog’s profile. Profile entries can be changed at any time. In hindsight, spay/neuter status is a bit out of place here as it is useful to know the status of the dog when the questions were answers, but I’m not really concerned about this for a few reasons. A majority of our partipant dogs are neutered when they first enroll and one cannot go from neutered to not neutered. So it’s a minority of dogs whose neuter status may change after the questions are answered, and only a subset of those would likely have their profile updated.
More generally to the bigger question here – as a behaviorist and trainer I know that behavior can and does change in significant ways … I’d be out of work if it didn’t. But we do ask for when your dog was born (or how old they are) and we record the date on which each question was answered. So we know that answers you gave for your puppy where for when they were a puppy. As we are exploring behavioral genetics having behavioral phenotypes for lots of puppys, lots of adults, and lots of old dogs will give us a great data set as genes don’t change (much) but certainly the expression of behavior changes in all dogs over their life. These changes in behavioral expression can be due to learning or other experience, or simply age … I’m not as playful as I used to be!
So for all analyses we can include the age of each dog as a variable. When your puppy was 6 months old, they may have been much more playful than they are now that they are older. But we still value that 6-month-old-puppy data as we’ll compare it to other 6-month-old puppies. **All** puppies are more playful, but was your puppy more or less playful than other puppies of similar age, that’s the kind of thing we hope to find a signal of in the DNA.
Certainly giving us another snapshot of your dogs behavior later in life would seem to just give us another data point to work with. But this actually cal also create problems in the analysis: the statistics work much better if every data point is independent. If we include your dog as a puppy and your dog as an adult, we need to account for that replicate. So we don’t want multiple **seperate** survey sets for each dog.
That said, we **do** want to continue to get follow-up information from active participants. We have been really surprised by how most participants log in and fill out all the surveys in one sitting. We wanted to design these so you would fill out a bit, log out, come back later and fill out a bit more. We want to encourage this habbit as we want to be able to add follow up surveys. We have some in the works with questions related to the ones you’ve already answered, but may ask “Compared to 1 year ago, how does your dog …”
We’ve recently set a goal to release one new survey about every month, so check back on the survey site to see if/when there are questions on new topics, or any follow up questions. (Most of these will be announced in our monthly pupdate newsletters).