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Program 2019

Program announcement (Download here)

Sunday, September 1, 2019
Time Speaker Lecture
04:00pm - 08:00pm

Registration and poster placement

Monday, September 2, 2019
Time Speaker Lecture

Focal topic: Testing and assessing dogs: choosing a task-specific dog

07:00am - 08:45am

Registration

08:45am - 09:00am

Welcome

09:00am - 10:00am

Erling Strandberg PhD SKK and Kenth Svartberg, PhD

Canine temperament – assessment and heritability

Flag of Sweden  Using behavioural tests for the assessment of personality in dogs

Kenth Svartberg, PhD

Dogs of working dog breeds in Sweden are required to participate in the Dog Mentality Assessment (DMA) if they are to be used in breeding. DMA was developed mainly for working dogs and there was an increasing demand for a mentality assessment suitable also for other breeds. With this aim,the new behaviour and personality assessment in dogs (BPH) was created and assessments were started in 2012.This presentation will describe the genetic background of behavioral traits that can be used for genetic evaluation of dogs in Sweden from both tests. 6 traits were defined for 12 breeds in DMA: Sociability (SOC), Playfulness (PLAY), Chase-proneness (CH), Curiosity/Fearlessness (C/F), Aggressiveness (AGGR), and Gunshot Avoidance (GUN). Heritability’s averaged around 0.25 for SOC, PLAY, and C/F and around 0.13 for the other 3 traits. BPH-information from five breeds: Rhodesian Ridgeback, Labrador Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Staffordshire Bullterrier, and American Staffordshire Terrier were used to define 6 summarizing mentality traits using exploratory
factor analysis.  Average h2 for all traits within breed varied from 0.29-0.38. Hostility had the highest h2 across breeds but also the largest variation (0.38, range 0.18-0.62). Confidence had more consistently high h2 (0.36,> range 0.22-0.45). The other 4 traits (Playfulness, Sociability, Curious and Confident, and Positive and energetic) had average h2 of around 0.3,with range from 0.10 to 0.59. In conclusion, the results show that it should be possible to achieve genetic improvement in several of the traits measured  in both DMA and BPH.

Temperament and EBV.

10:00am - 10:30am

Åke Hedhammar DVM PhD

Flag of Sweden  Testing dogs for behaviour in Sweden

From phenotypic screening of individuals for suitability to be trained for military service to molecular genetics of behavioural variations in almost any dog.

It all started by the need to predict outcome a working dog purchased or bred to be trained for military service. Military personnel Axel Paulson and Hilmer Johansson developed a testing scheme to be applied on German Shepherds they were intending to train for military service. The test was secondarily also used for selection of breeding stock in their breeding program. It was later also used for other purposes (e.g police dogs and guide dogs for the blind) and other breeds (e.g., Labrador retrievers). That test is now the basis for current testing (L-tests) of dogs suitable for military service, police and guide dogs.

For further development of the test, ethologists were involved. Work by Kent Svartberg and Erik Wilson are good examples of the scientific validation and analyses performed. The original test was also adopted for testing of first privately owned German shepherds, later also working dogs of other breeds and eventually any breed (Dog Mentality Assessment, DMA) For the later purpose it has recently been further revised to serve a wider range of behaviours and breeds (BPH) 

For privately owned dogs it has mostly been seen as a tool for selection of breeding stock. Extensive studies on the heritability have proven its value especially when applied with EBV as presented by Erling Strandberg.

By access to samples from DMA-tested dogs we are now revealing the molecular genetics of behaviour traits. This is done primarily not for testing, but rather for understanding the mechanisms behind variations of behaviour traits in working dogs as well as in other dogs.

10:30am - 11:00am

Coffee/Posters

11:00am - 11:15am

Doc Loc Mai (Jimmy)

 Flag of Australia  What Helps and What Hinders Assistance-Dog Puppy-Raising Practices?

Most puppies being raised as potential assistance dogs spend their time living and learning with a volunteer raiser during their first year of life, a critical period for their physical and psychological development. After this puppy raising stage, up to half of all assistance dog puppies fail to graduate to work in an assistance role. Many factors contribute to the high failure rates, but little is known about what helps and what hinders a puppy raiser to educate a puppy to the highest quality. To investigate this issue, seventeen interviews were conducted with puppy raisers and staff responsible for overseeing puppy raising programmes in different countries. The data were analysed thematically, suggesting that various factors affect raisers’ competency and engagement in optimal puppy raising practices.  These factors are categorised as intrapersonal (expectations, sense of achievement, patterns of acquiring new knowledge and skills, and willingness to push through difficulties), interpersonal (interactions with staff, fellow puppy raisers, and those in their professional and personal networks), and organisational (different types and methods of delivering support and training). Recommendations for organisations and individuals engaged in puppy raising will be presented.

Doc Loc Mai (Jimmy)

Click for biography.

11:15am - 11:30am

W. Baltzer

Flag of Australia  Working Dog Centre: Working hard for working dogs.

Massey University established the Working Dog Centre in 2008 to advance the health and welfare of service and working dogs in New Zealand. The Centre has drawn together a group of researchers from medicine, surgery, epidemiology, behaviour and ethics. The Centre’s activities include a range of research projects with police, guide and farm dogs as well as providing consulting services. New Zealand has an estimated 200,000 working farm dogs and they make an economic contribution to farming as mustering stock without them would be impossible on many farms. The main health issues affecting working dogs are musculoskeletal injuries. A total of 634 dogs were enrolled between 2014 and 2016. Dogs belonged to 127 owners on 121 farms. Each owner had a mean of four working dogs. Forty-six percent of dogs were female and 54% male. Six percent were neutered. Median age was four years (interquartile range (IQR): 3 - 7 years). Median body condition score (BCS) was 4/9 (IQR: 3 - 5). Thirty percent had a BCS below four, which is considered underweight in pets. The proportion of dogs with at least one clinical finding was 64%. Musculoskeletal system findings (44%) were most common, followed by skin (23%), eyes (11%), mouth and teeth (9%) and the reproductive system (9%). Using these results, we will develop best-practice guidelines for care and husbandry to improve the health and career longevity of working farm dogs.

Wendy Baltzer

Click for biography

11:30am - 11:45am

B. Kennedy

Maternal style: How early experiences are associated with future outcomes of assistance dogs.

11:45am - 12:00pm

B. Soares DVM

  Hyper-reactivity in military working dogs: a report of two cases.

Hyper-reactivity (HR) is a behavioral problem characterized by extreme response to external stimuli that usually leads to difficulties in training programs of military working dogs (MWD). Two dogs from Brazilian Army, one 7 y.o. Labrador Retriever (LR) and one 3 y.o. Malinois Belgian Shepherd (MBS), unneutered males, reported with poor performance and exacerbated reactions to environment. The MBS had history of circling behavior and an episode of redirected aggressiveness. Dogs were evaluated by a veterinary behaviorist and their physiological and laboratory parameters (CBC, TSH and T4) were normal but both dogs showed very high arousal, exploration of the environment and response to any stimulus, with some anxiety signs. Recommendations were: improvement of the handlers’ knowledge on behavior; use of food toys and increment in exercise load; maximum reduction of confrontational techniques; and pheromone (Adaptil®) and fluoxetine therapy (1mg/kg, SID). Improvements in HR sings and performance were noticed within 15 days. In four months performance returned to normal and medications were discontinued. The reported cases show the occurrence of HR in MWD, which if diagnosed and treated possibly brings good prognosis of returning to work. Difficulty of diagnosis, either for lack of qualified professional or for questions of denomination and definition in the literature, can be found, however, behavioral veterinary medicine seems to provide adequate tools for handling these cases also for military working dogs.

Capitan Otavio Soares, DVM, PhD

Click for biography

12:00pm - 12:15pm

K. Overall

Referential focus pet & working dogs

12:15pm - 12:30pm

V.D. Marinescu

  Genome-wide association studies to identify loci and variants associated with behavioral traits in dogs.

The many dog breeds available today are the result of a careful selection for desired characteristics including behavior, making the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) a promising genomic model for identifying the genes and variants underlying behavioral traits.

In Sweden, one of the standardized tests used to evaluate canine behavior is the Dog Mentality Assessment (DMA) that quantifies several aggregated personality traits (aggressiveness, chase proneness, curiosity/fearlessness, playfulness and sociability) based on a number of subtests scoring 33 behavioral variables. The DMA was originally developed to assist in the breeding of working dogs, but since its introduction in 1989, has become widely used for privately owned dogs from working and non-working breeds alike. As a result, it is possible to perform genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for a large number of dogs from different breeds for which DMA results are known and blood samples have already been obtained.

In a GWAS mapping behavioral traits across a well-defined population of 442 Swedish German Shepherds, we found loci that were genome-wide significantly associated with playfulness and with individual behavioral variables. These point towards genes involved in synaptic plasticity, axonal navigation and nervous system development. We are currently extending this study to identify associations with behavioral traits in additional breeds displaying large behavioral variability such as Rottweilers, Rough Collies, Flat-Coated Retrievers and Boxers. By understanding the genetic variation associated with a particular trait in a given breed, we hope to facilitate marker assisted selection and to gain further insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying canine behavior.

Voichita Marinescu, PhD

Click for biography

12:30pm - 02:00pm

Lunch and networking

02:00pm - 03:30pm

Interactive session:  Temperament testing in Sweden - videos, virtual demonstration and testing and audience participation and discussion

03:30pm - 04:00pm

Coffee/Posters

04:00pm - 05:00pm

Kenth Svartberg, Åke Hedhammar, Erling Strandberg

Interactive session evaluating temperament and use in estimated breeding values continued

07:00pm - 10:30pm

IWDBA Dinner

Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Time Speaker Lecture
08:45am - 09:00am

Welcome

09:00am - 10:00am

Art Dunham PhD

Statistics for working dogs – how do you know if your test/assessments are better than a coin toss?

10:00am - 10:30am

Adee Schoon PhD

 Flag of Netherlands  Odour generalisation – theory and practice

When training detection dogs, trainers usually only have a limited number of training aids available. At best, the training aids meet specific pre-set standards and are refreshed regularly, but many trainers, particularly private ones and those from smaller organizations, have to make do with less. And even if the training aids meet these criteria, are they sufficient to fully train detection dogs?

A number of recent papers have concluded that this is not the case. Trainers have taken for granted that dogs generalize easily and spontaneously, using the ‘pizza’ analogy. They assume that once trained, dogs will be able to detect all items that smell ‘similarly’ to what they have been trained on. But tested in a proper manner, very few of these assumptions hold up.

Happily there have also been studies to show that with proper training, dogs become better. Although dogs do not often generalize to other odours spontaneously, they can be taught to develop a wider odour concept to respond to. And different studies have shown different methods and ‘tricks’ to achieve this.

Integrating these methods and specific checks into a training plan makes it possible to monitor the development of this process during training. And it is easy to do, once you think it through and perform systematic monitoring. This paper will describe key elements in such a plan that can be tailored to fit specific missions.

10:30am - 11:00am

Coffee/Posters

11:00am - 11:15am

L. De Greeff

  The chemistry of odor: How understanding odor can foster a better detector.

Canines are sensitive and selective, non-contact vapor detectors that can easily be trained to locate novel materials; however, unlike other vapor detection instrumentation or sensors, canines do not give a readable output, thus leaving the handler to interpret canine behavior. One way to better understand canine response to odor and ultimately better the detector is to improve the understanding of factors that affect or change odor. A compilation of research will be discussed that describes odor on a molecular level as it relates to detection of a target. We will describe how odor emanates from a target object and how the dog might perceive this odor. We will then discuss the variety of factors that affect how the dog experiences the target odor that might not be regularly considered, such as target mass versus odor quantity, differences between manufacturers, changes with time and environmental conditions, and challenges related to wrapping and burial.

Additionally, even with the diversity and power of the canine detector, there are minimal resources available for canine research, financial and otherwise.  This leads to a dearth in the understanding of this detector, which ultimately has a negative impact on canine detection proficiency.  Finally, we will discuss the current state of the field of canine scent detection relating operationally perceived knowledge gaps to currently available resources and literature.

Dr. Lauryn E. DeGreeff

Click for biography

 

11:00am - 12:30pm

Focal topic: Olfaction and other relevant senses

11:15am - 11:30am

A. Concha

  Effect of Impulsivity on olfactory detection performance in Military Working Dogs.

A broad range of behavioral traits have been assessed in Military Working Dogs to predict success as a working dog; however, very little is known about predictors of olfactory detection performance.  Impulsivity is a trait related to self-control, and manifests in a variety of behaviors. There is some evidence, in humans and dogs, that impulsive individuals have difficulties in sustained attention, working memory and learning of reward and punishment associations. We therefore hypothesized that more impulsive dogs would show poorer performance in a training odor-search task. The aim of this study was to correlate the Dog Impulsivity Assessment Scale with olfactory detection performance in U.S. Department of Defense Military Working Dogs during training and after certification. The results of the present study will give an indication of whether impulsivity is an underlying factor that influences olfactory detection performance.

Astrid Concha DVM, MSc, PhD

Click for biography

11:30am - 11:45am

N. Rooney

Measuring, and determining factors affecting performance of glycemic alert dogs

11:45am - 12:00pm

K. Tiira

 The efficacy and limits of detection in Finnish accelerant detection canines.

The efficacy of accelerant detection canines has never been investigated using burned ignitable liquids (ILR). However, burning alters the liquid’s chemical consistency, and liquid may have a different smell after burning. In this study, we investigated the efficacy of trained accelerant detection dogs (N = 6) to detect ILR (gasoline, charcoal lighter fluid, isopropanol) after one or three days of burning. Each dog sniffed six tracks, where each track included three control samples and one ILR in randomized position. All ILR samples, and all the samples that the dogs marked, were analysed with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MSD) to determine the exact amount of ILR.  Samples detected by GC-MSD were found with 0,89 likelihood, however, dogs also found samples, that GC-MSD did not detect (with likelihood 0,59). Isopropanol was the most difficult liquid to detect. The delay from the fire did not have effect on the likelihood of detecting ILR.

Katriina Tiira PhD

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12:00pm - 12:15pm

V. Ratcliffe

  Putting working dog research into practice: development of science-based guidance notes.

It is important to ensure that the latest scientific findings from working dog research are made widely available to working dog practitioners in an appropriate format. It is equally important to gather feedback from working dog practitioners to ensure that scientific research is relevant to current operational issues and scientific recommendations are useful and applicable in real-world scenarios. To try to achieve this, we have been working in partnership with the UK Home Office, CPNI and Department for Transport, to develop a suite of freely-available evidence-based guidance notes. These detail good practices underpinning delivery of effective detection dog capability and have been developed based on the outputs of research trials conducted with a range of UK detection dog users. Current topics cover areas such as standardised odour detection tests, the importance of effective double-blind training, advice on selection of training odours, and methods to improve odour generalisation. Wherever possible, the notes have been written so as to be applicable across any detection dog discipline and application and feedback on the content has been obtained from working dog practitioners.

Vicky Ratcliffe PhD

Click for biography

12:15pm - 12:30pm

C. Otto

The opioid crisis and working dogs

12:30pm - 02:00pm

Lunch and networking

02:00pm - 03:30pm

Interactive session I:

Virtual and hands on session on tracking in an urban environment

TBD – may become a research presentation session depending on availability

03:30pm - 04:00pm

Coffee/Posters

04:00pm - 05:00pm

Esther Schalke, DVM, PhD, Hans Ebbers, Polizei Hauptkommissar

Interactive session II Demonstration of alternate ways to teach behaviors used in police and detection dog training.

05:00pm - 07:00pm

Poster session – Research presentations

Heavy hors d'oevres and drinks sponsored by Orion, Finland

Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Time Speaker Lecture
08:00am - 09:00am

Esther Schalke, DVM, PhD, Hans Ebbers, Polizei Hauptkommissar and Swedish AF – clicker training

Breakout 1: Protection work: Lecture and demo

08:00am - 09:00am

Karen Overall, VMD, PhD, DACVB/ Maj. Marty Roache, DVM/ Maj. Desireé Broach MS, DVM, DACVB

Breakout 2: Low stress/no distress approaches to cooperative husbandry and veterinary care of working dogs (do it faster, better, safer): Lecture, video, demo, hands-on (SAF and Schalke /Ebbers’)

08:00am - 09:00am

Eldin Leighton PhD and Jane Russenberger

Breakout 3: IWDR I (beginner) workshop (must bring laptop)

09:30am - 10:00am

Coffee/Posters

10:00am - 11:30am

Eldin Leighton PhD and Jane Russenberger

Breakout 6: IWDR II (advanced) workshop (must bring laptop)

10:00am - 11:30am

Hannes Slabbert (Invictus Canines)

Breakout 4: New uses for detection dogs -medical concerns (diabetes, cancer, seizure disorders) and  wildlife detection and protection:  Lectures/demos/ videos

10:00am - 11:30am

Led by Dr. Kelly Mann and Dr. Bess Pierce

Breakout 5: Nutrition and medical concerns for working dogs: Panel discussion

Interactive Q & A from audience

11:30am - 01:00pm

Lunch

01:00pm

Tour of Swedish Kennel Club and Swedish Armed Forces facility in rotating small groups

07:00pm - 10:30pm

Gala Dinner

Thursday, September 5, 2019
Time Speaker Lecture
08:45am - 09:00am

Welcome

09:00am - 10:00am

Elinor Karlsson PhD

Improving the performance and health of all working dogs through large-scale, collaborative genetics

10:00am - 10:30am

Frode Lingaas DVM PhD

Genetic approaches to behavioral concerns in working dogs and family owned dogs

10:30am - 11:00am

Coffee/Posters

11:00am - 11:15am

P. Waggoner

  Building a better detector dog: Lessons learned and (many) questions remaining to be explored in Auburn University’s 19 years of detector dog production.

Since 2000, Auburn University has had a program of breeding and raising Labrador Retrievers to be employed as detector dogs.  Beginning with a gift of breeding stock from the Australian Customs Service Breeding Program, Auburn has had the longest continual running institutional program for producing detector dogs in the U.S.A.  The program has gone through many peaks and valleys over time culminating with the present program focused on providing a context for research and development in how to build better detector dogs.  The program has evolved over time and experienced many practical lessons learned and realized many questions in need of answers to enhance detector dog production.  This presentation will explore the history, pitfalls, successes, current processes and avenues of research in Auburn’s detector dog breeding and development program.  The presentation is hoped to inform the working dog community of usefully generalizable experience in producing detector dogs and prompt directions for future research and development to enhance detector dog production.

Paul Waggoner PhD

Click for biography

 

11:00am - 12:30pm

Focal topic: Genetics and health related topics

11:15am - 11:30am

B. Pierce

 Neuromotor development in puppies: implications for training and fitness.

 

Bess J. Pierce, DVM DABVP, DACVIM, DACVSMR

Click for biography

11:30am - 11:45am

A. Henderson

Evaluation of a fitness assessment and conditioning program in a military working dog

11:45am - 12:00pm

D. Broach

 Flag of United States  Commitment over Compliance-Changing Strategies in Working Dog Teams.

 A culture shift is occurring in the veterinary community, emphasizing the patient-centered approach with handling and care administered. The military veterinary community has not been impervious to this shift, resulting in the mindset of “Commitment Over Compliance.” In essence, this means that the Handlers and Veterinary personnel understand the importance of using voluntary strategies during execution of working tasks and healthcare with Military Working Dogs (MWDs). As with human Soldiers, to build a trustworthy and resilient team, MWDs must be committed to their Handlers and their tasks. Compliance alone is not sufficient, because to maintain compliance in a highly kinetic combat environment, an MWD must also remain willing to comply. A committed MWD is bound to his duties and his Handler and will continue to follow his lead regardless of circumstances. The military veterinarian plays a critical part in sustaining and strengthening this commitment in the MWD. Sustainment of the trust between the MWD, Handler, and veterinarian is achieved by providing guidance on environmental management, enrichment, and husbandry, and utilizing cooperative care techniques. Through these guidelines and techniques, the veterinary team is additionally preparing the MWD for a successful transition into retirement when his service commitment is complete. This presentation provides a brief overview of the veterinary guidelines, training videos of cooperative care implementation, and case examples.

MAJ Desireé Broach, MS, DVM, DACVB

Click for biography.

 

12:00pm - 12:15pm

A. Bartels

    Medical training of military working dogs

 

 

Dr. Angela Bartels

Click for biography

12:15pm - 12:30pm

J. Donner

Comprehensive genetic health screening in dogs: here to stay, way to go?

12:30pm - 02:00pm

Lunch and networking

02:00pm - 03:30pm

Led by Erik Wilsson, Karen Overall Eldin Leighton

Interactive session:  The problem of obtaining good dogs:  breeding, buying, and  crying -lecture plus round table plus contemporaneous online audience participation

03:30pm - 04:00pm

Coffee/Posters

04:00pm - 05:00pm

Led by Erik Wilsson (help from Karen Overall, Eldin Leighton)

Interactive session on obtaining good dogs continued

05:00pm

Cpl.Mark Althaus VC Australia

Plenary closing lecture