A placebo-controlled study to investigate the effect of Dog Appeasing Pheromone and other environmental and management factors on the reports of disturbance and house soiling during the night in recently adopted puppies 

Effect of DAP and other factors on night time disturbances and house soiling by newly adopted puppies

source: K Taylor and D.S. Mills
Applied Animal Behaviour Science vol 105, no 4, July 2007,
starts p358, 11 pages long

New owners of puppies often have to cope with the pups disturbing them at night, crying and scratching repeatedly, and with soiling, or going to the toilet at night. A study of 60 pups, 25 of which were gundog breeds, has sought to test whether dog appeasing pheromone (DAP) may help, and to find out what other factors may be important. The pups were split into two groups, with 30 sleeping in rooms with a DAP diffuser, and 30 in rooms with a placebo diffuser. The other factors looked at by the researchers included whether the pups slept alone or with other dogs, whether the pups came from a domestic or a non-domestic setting when they lived with their previous owners, and whether the new owners crated the pups at night.

Most of the pups, ie 71%, disturbed their owners the first night, and this fell to 22% by the 7th night. There were 11 pups which slept with the owners' other dog or dogs, and these 11 pups were much less likely to disturb their owners, even during the first night. The dogs they slept with may have provided natural DAP. The DAP diffusers were especially effective in reducing the tendency of gundog pups to disturb their owners, Gundog pups without DAP in the diffusers were more likely than other breeds to disturb their owners, perhaps because gundogs are bred to be sociable. DAP had little or no effect on the non-gundogs' tendency to cry or scratch, though, whatever the breed, pups with a tendency to disturb were less likely to do so if they had DAP in the diffuser.

Most of the pups soiled the first night, ie 84% of them. This fell to 65% on the 7th night, 59% on the 14th, and 45% on the 28th. DAP diffusers appeared to have no effect on whether or not the pups soiled. What did appear to have an effect was crating. About half the pups were crated at night, ie 29, with 31 loose in a room, and crated pups soiled for a median of 10 nights in all, compared with 30 for uncrated pups. Coming from a domestic environment also helped. The 25 pups from a domestic environment soiled for a median of 16 nights in all, while the 35 from a non-domestic environment soiled for a median of 30, during the study period.

Crating may be effective because pups are constrained in terms of exercise, as well as feeling inhibited about soiling their den. Previous owners in a domestic environment may have put pups out with their dam, so helping the pups to become house trained before they went to their new homes.