Friday, 20 September 2013

First Ever UK Dementia Dogs Start Work Helping Owners

Two specially-trained dogs have become the first assistance dogs in the UK to help people with dementia. Kaspa and Oscar are part of a project to investigate how a dog may bring benefits to people with early-stage dementia.
The project, which was generated by students at Glasgow School of Art’s (GSA) Product Design department, then developed by a partnership between Alzheimer Scotland, Dogs for the Disabled and Guide Dogs Scotland commenced in 2012. 

Both dogs have been highly trained to help offer practical assistance and reduce social isolation and anxiety levels, some of the major problems experienced by couples where one partner has dementia.

For more information on Dementia Dogs click here:

From Pound Puppy to Whale Watcher: How a Black Lab Helps Scientists Track Orcas

Back in 2008, Tucker the black Lab was just another canine resident at SnoLine Kennels in Arlington, Wash. - until he caught the eye of Sam Wasser, director of the Center for Conservation Biology and the Conservation Canines at the University of Washington.
“Tucker was everything we were looking for in a dog,” says Katherine Ayres, lead author of arecent study on whales published in PLoS ONE, in which Tucker had a starring role. “He was a play-driven black Lab that loved to work with his handlers - and he hated water!”
This proved to be a favorable personality trait, since Ayres and her team needed Tucker to stay put on a boat while using his stellar nose to sniff out killer whale feces that they could then collect and test for stress hormones back in the laboratory.

How a Dog Detects a Whale

With Tucker onboard, the scientists could stay as far away as 400 meters from the marine mammals, reducing any disturbance to the orca pods.
“He also minimizes any bias in the sampling, since we are not selecting which whales to follow,” Ayres says, “making our sampling more random and more representative of the whales that are present.”
The ultimate goal of Ayres' study was to test the levels of various stressors in killer whale populations. Her findings: Not having enough salmon to eat is a bigger deal for whales than having boatloads of whale watchers in their vicinity.

Free Phone App: 'Where to Go' for your Dog at Airports

Phone App: "Where to Go" - a directory of airport animal relief areas

opening screen of Where to Go
“Where to Go” is a free app for the iPhone and Android phones, which helps you and your dog find “where to go” in airports across the U.S.

Airport animal relief areas can be difficult to locate -but Where to Go overcomes that challenge.

Just click and find out where to go. It’s that easy.

Airports are listed, with short directions to the relief area at each. There are also links to U.S. Department of Transportation FAQs and updated ADA regulations about service animals, as well as other information.

See more at:

Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin

Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin

Announcing the new open access, online, peer-reviewed Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin(HAIB), devoted to the dissemination of research in the field of the interaction between non-human animals and their human counterparts. 
Researchers, Academicians, Clinicians/Practioners, Scholarly StudentsThe mission of the Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin  is to bring together researchers, academicians, clinicians/practitioners, and scholarly students working in different areas for the advancement of the human-animal interaction field. Click here to read the full announcement and find out how to submit your article!
They encourage the HAI community to make full use of this very welcome new resource. For more information please visit:

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Livestock Guardian Dogs: Working on Common Ground

Ranchers who struggle to coexist with large predators are finding new hope in old dog breeds. While these Old World livestock guardian dog breeds have successfully defended livestock from predators for thousands of years in Europe and Asia, they remain relatively unknown in the American West. Explore how they work for one family, and what it means for the maintenance of large predators, like the wolf, on the landscape.

Dogs can help ranchers and predators co-exist? Watch this video and learn how it works! 

Please note that not all LGDs are trained or reared the same way, and therefore not all are as approachable as those featured in this video.

The development of a best practice manual for the use of guardian dogs to protect livestock will allow land holders to be proactive by preventing predation rather that reacting to attacks.

The Australian Government has produced an online Guide called "Guardian Dogs - Best Practice Manual for the use of Livestock Guardian Dogs" (2010) which you can download free at:

How working dogs are helping conservation efforts

Conservationists around the world are using a new kind of filed equipment. It can navigate difficult terrain, detect tiny samples, and...wag it's tail! Detection Dogs are teaming up with humans to study rare, endangered and invasive species.

In 2000, Working Dogs for Conservation, was set up to assist a group of biologists and dogs travel the world, to study rare, endangered and invasive species.

Vesely and Rogue head into the field to demonstrate the dog's ability to search for Western Pond Turtles.

For more information check out Conservation Ecology Centre and Working Dogs for Conservation (USA).

The Nose Knows

Dogs can detect the smell of diseased bees, ovulating cows, pirated DVDs and cancer. It's all thanks to their top-notch sensory equipment.

An infographic exploring canine sensory equipment.

"The dog has hundreds of millions' more scent receptors lining the pathways of its nose then we do" says Alexandra Horowitz, a dog cognition expert at Barnard College. And the part of the brain that makes sense of all the signals from these receptors 'the olfactory bulb' is much larger in dogs than in humans. "That probably means [dogs have] exponentially more ability to detect odors," Horowitz says.

"If you had an Olympic-size swimming pool full of water and then you have an identical pool full of water to which you add a teaspoon of sugar," says Horowitz. "Dogs can detect the difference. That smells different to them."

Find out more at: 

Working Dogs for Conservation Field Demo

Monday, 9 September 2013

Supporting human-animal interaction research

Adore Animals have published a beautiful coffee table book on the benefits that animals have for children.
The book is called Moments of Connection, and for a short time all profits from sales of the book will be donated to Australian Anthrozoology Research Foundation (AARF).
AARF are delighted to be partnering with Adore Animals on this promotion, and are very appreciative of their support.
Moments of Connection is the perfect gift for animal lovers, parents, grand-parents or maybe for your pet-related business waiting room. $30.25 (inc. GST) gets you TWO copies plus some great bonus offers for a furry friend, and includes postage. It’s a great offer and all profits support AARF.
Right now Adore Animals have a fantastic deal on this beautiful coffee table book.
Click here to take advantage of this promotion while it lasts!

Friday, 6 September 2013

A Unique Way To Get People To Adopt Dogs!

Territorio deZaguates 

No one wanted abandoned mixed breed dogs until a rescue organization did something unique to help them. Read this inspirational story... 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Understanding Dog Language: The Ethogram

Learning to understand the language of dogs

There is a world that is invisible to us, a world of smells. While we can observe a dog sniffing, then marking, we can’t smell or understand the odors he perceives. Dogs do not, however, use odours alone to communicate: they use facial expressions, postures and movements that we can observe, analyse and interpret. We can see and learn to understand the visual language of dogs. 
In order to learn about the communication of dogs, it’s no longer necessary to observe them for 5,000 hours, what we need is an 'ethogram'.


An ethogram is a complete list of both social and non-social behaviours exhibited by a given species. An ethogram is a list of behaviours which can be likened to the vocabulary used in a foreign language. 

All around the globe, all dogs, of every breed, use these signals. What changes is the appearance of the dogs, and while this in turn can influence their ability to communicate, the signals they use are typical of the entire species.

An ethogram is a useful tool to:
1. Observe dogs
2. Facilitate communication with dogs
3. Study and evaluate dogs behaviour

Ethograms and Scientific Research

Ethograms are the starting point for all animal studies, along with  questions such as  whether or not different breeds have different ethological profiles (Leyhausen, 1982), how much intra-specific variation exists and in what ways domestication has influenced and changed the behavioural repertoire used by animals in the wild (wolves).

In this interaction between two females, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the Australian Shepherd are exhibiting the same behaviour: a swerve to the side.

Using the Ethogram in evaluating dogs 

An ethogram provides a useful tool for the evaluation of dogs, in that it makes it possible to produce less subjective evaluations, and to compare evaluations based on observable and recordable behaviours.

Dog behavioural evaluation tests:

Tests used in breed selection, and aptitude tests for working dog breeds
Tests such as the Ztp, CAL and DMA (Dog Mentality Assessment) were designed to evaluate and preserve the traits of working dog breeds.

Utility dog evaluation tests
Throughout the world, guide dogs for the blind, assistance dogs for the disabled, sniffer dogs used to search for illegal substances, and search and rescue dogs are selected using these tests.

Behavioural evaluation tests used in dog shelters
The goal of dog shelters is to promote and preserve animal welfare. However, shelters also have the task of taking in homeless dogs, and putting them up for adoption. This requires an evaluation procedure to determine which dogs are in reality suitable for re-homing, and the characteristics of suitable adoptive families.

Tests to evaluate aggressiveness
These tests were designed to evaluate the potential level of aggressiveness in individuals judged to be at risk, above all in countries with laws restricting the possession of certain breeds.

dvd ethogram positive interaction behaviour of the dog

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Australian Working Dog Conference 2013

Australian Working Dog Conference 2013  4-5 Nov | Sydney

The inaugural Australian Working Dog Conference, will bring together over 200 working dog breeders, trainers, handlers, veterinarians, facility managers, research scientists, advocacy and government group representatives from across Australasia.
A place to share ideas, network and learn, this conference is the first of its kind.
What is The Australian Working Dog Alliance?

The Working Dog Alliance is committed to optimising the wellbeing and performance of all working and sporting dogs in Australia.
Why? Because across the working and sporting dog industries, a 50-70% fail rate is normal… and it doesn’t have to be. The welfare of these dogs is intimately linked to their working performance.
The Working Dog Alliance is working with industry, government, animal advocacy and scientific research groups to review current practices. It aims to provide opportunities for communication, sharing and collaboration across this diverse industry. They are here to improve the lives of our working dogs and as a result, get more from our canine counterparts.

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