Dog owners who participated in the study were recruited through The Simon Foundation, Inc.’s Center for Canine Behavior Studies (CCBS) that operates as a 501(c)3 non-profit canine behavior research center. To participate in the study, prospective participants were required to have an active CCBS membership. Registration at CCBS required a valid email address, which was authenticated through a time-sensitive confirmation email. Once registered at CCBS, prospective participants were asked to register each dog they wished to include in the Study. Dog registration asked (but did not require) information about the dog, including age, sex, sterilization status, breed information (pure, designer/hybrid, or unknown mixed), and acquisition source. Each submitted dog registration was paired with a uniquely generated CCBS identification code. This CCBS dog data collected during registration was included with the REDCap data for analysis.
The study protocol was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Boards of both Tufts University and the University of Pennsylvania. All study participants were required to read the approved online Consent Form and to indicate their understanding of, and agreement to, the terms of the study by checking a box before being able to gain access to the study questionnaires hosted on REDCap
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