Early Heart Rate – Future Trouble?

Todd Hogue, the Forensic Psychologist, said at the recent 2015 Dog Bite Prevention Conference that the heart rate in human babies of one-year-old can indicate potential offenders later in life.

Golden Labrador puppiesMy Paws for Thought, based on no evidence that I can find whatsoever, is just that – a ‘thought’. What if we were to select the puppy from the litter who at eight weeks old had the highest resting heart rate. Would that be a good way to choose the most stable puppy with the best future outlook behaviour-wise?

I couldn’t find that particular research about children of one-year-old online, but there is plenty connecting the high resting heart rate of children of three years and up to future anti-social and aggressive behaviour.

The New Yorker has an article ‘Calm Hearts, Bad Behaviour‘. Adam Raine suggests fearlessness is the key – “the individual remains undaunted by the threats that would keep most of us in check. When you get scared, your heart rate goes up, because your body activates to deal with the imminent hazard. By definition, people with less fear tend not to get activated in situations that others find threatening.”

Now here’s another thought. It seems that humans with high resting heart rates have a shorter lifespan.

“If you have two healthy people,” says Dr. Magnus Thorsten Jensen, a researcher at Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, “exactly the same in physical fitness, age, blood pressure and so on, the person with the highest resting heart rate is more likely to have a shorter life span.”

Does this mean that, if they don’t die early due to their own reckless or antisocial behaviour, people who don’t fit in with society so well are likely to live longer than good citizens?

What if we translate this over into the dog world also? Do stable ‘easy’ dogs have a shorter expected lifespan than ‘difficult’ dogs?

The ‘selecting a puppy by resting heart rate’ may present another dilemma. Do we choose the one likely to live the longest, or the one who is likely to be easiest?

The canine aspect of this, I must stress, is purely conjecture and nothing else. It is totally unscientific and backed up by no research at all that I can find.

I go to clients who say their dogs have been difficult from the moment they picked them up as puppies. Here is my story of a dog I visited a while ago whose resting heart rate as a puppy could have been interesting to measure.

To visit my main website and more stories, please go to www.dogidog.co.uk

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About Theo Stewart

I am a dog Behaviourist (INTODogs-ABTC - AAB) and trainer covering Beds, Herts, Cambs and Bucks, a 'Victoria Stilwell' Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT) and a member of the IMDT. Graduate ISCP, International School for Canine Practitioners. My main site: www.dogidog.co.uk
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