Home Page Forums Darwin’s Ark How are the survey questions used?

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    Pat-St Onge

    Hi, I just found your project and signed up with our current dog. As I went thru the surveys, the questions seem more like marketing questions than ones relating to an accurate picture of my dog’s behaviors. I understand you do a lot of grant writing, so my question is, are the surveys geared towards securing grants with companies that market to dog owners? I realize you do not sell the info, and that’s fine, I’m just curious.



    brittney logan

    Hi Pat,

    Great question! We are a non-profit research group that does not receive money from corporations. Our team partnered with canine behavior specialist from around the country to come up with some of the survey questions. Many of these professionals are connected through the IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants), who we closley collaborate with. Some of the questions also come from published and validated studies (listed below).

    We know some of the questions sound a bit odd, and you may chuckle, but each question is unique and can help reinforce certain traits we think they will get at.
    We can factor the questions together into categories depending on the scores. Some examples of factors would be Impulsivity, Noise Sensitivity, Prey Drive and many more! So there is a bigger picture to some of these strange questions that we ask you about your dog. These questions are not geared towards marketing, but purely on what we know about dogs and how we can better understand canine behavior and genetics.

    Other surveys you can likely guess what they are trying to get at, like food allergies. We applied for and received grant money to study specifically allergies in dogs, which we continue to work on.

    You the owner, know your dog best, and that is why we are so excited to have this citizen science project open to all dog owners around the world! We can gather so much behavior and genetic data to better understand our furry best friends, who may be able to then help us live healthier and happier lives in return.


    kathleen morrill

    Hi Pat,

    Many of our survey questions also come from published and validated surveys, particularly:

    The Dog Personality Questionnaire (DPQ)
    from Jones, A. C. Development and Validation of a Dog Personality Questionnaire. (University of Texas, 2008).

    The Canine Health-related Quality of Life Survey (CHQLS)
    from Lavan, R. P. Development and validation of a survey for quality of life assessment by owners of healthy dogs. Vet. J. 197, 578–582 (2013).

    The Dog Impulsivity Assessment Scale (DIAS)
    from Wright, H. F., Mills, D. S. & Pollux, P. M. J. Development and Validation of a Psychometric Tool forAssessing Impulsivity in the Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris). Int. J. Comp. Psychol. 24, (2011).

    The Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Rating scale (CCDR)
    from Salvin, H. E., McGreevy, P. D., Sachdev, P. S. & Valenzuela, M. J. The canine cognitive dysfunction rating scale (CCDR): a data-driven and ecologically relevant assessment tool. Vet. J. 188, 331–336 (2011).

    The Certified Dog Trainer Exam (CDT)
    from the International Association of Canine Professionals

    The Dog Obesity Risk and Appetite questionnaire (DORA)
    from Raffan, E., Smith, S. P., O’Rahilly, S. & Wardle, J. Development, factor structure and application of the Dog Obesity Risk and Appetite (DORA) questionnaire. PeerJ 3, e1278 (2015).

    Hope this helps!


    Pat-St Onge

    Thank you, Brittany & Kathleen. That gives me more insight. I was particularly interested in the questions re: weight & feeding, and that last source Kathleen sited would probably be connected to those questions. I’m really enjoying all the info on this site- its exciting to be part of a research project.


    kathleen morrill

    Yes, most of the eating questions come from Dr. Eleanor Raffan’s questionaire. Her lab focuses on metabolic diseases in dogs but they also published an interesting paper on food motivation and obesity in Labrador Retrievers — and how the genetic region associated with food motivation is more common in guide dogs. There can definitely be some interesting overlap with feeding and behavior!

    Other feeding questions we developed alongside (human) food allergy researchers, as we received funding from the Food Allergy Science Initiative to examine food allergy genetics in dogs.

    Thank you for yours and your dog’s participation!

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