2021 IWDC Program (Virtual)

Day 1 (23 Mar 2015) - Genetics, Behaviour and Training. Is there a missing link?

Crossbreed genetic analysis of a standardised behavioural test for potential guide dog puppies – Presented by KATY EVANS
Guide Dogs use a standardised behaviour test for potential guide dog puppies at 6 weeks of age, known as the Puppy Profiling Assessment (PPA), in which responses to a series of 11 applied stimuli are scored. A previous study has shown that scores in this test are associated with later success in guide dog training. Genetic analysis of PPA scores was undertaken, considering 704 purebred Labrador Retrievers, 119 purebred Golden Retrievers and 1304 crosses between the two breeds. Heritabilities and crossbreeding parameters were estimated for the 11 PPA components, and genetic correlation estimates between the PPA components were produced. Nine of the 11 components had low to moderate heritability estimates ranging from 0.09±0.05 to 0.24±0.09. Most of the crossbreeding parameter estimates (heterosis, recombination loss and Labrador fraction) were not detectably larger than zero, likely reflecting the relatively small size of the dataset. Genetic correlation estimates between PPA components ranged from -0.71±0.06 to 0.74±0.09. Guide Dogs may wish to incorporate estimated breeding values (EBVs) for PPA components into selection indices to assist with breeding dogs with appropriate temperaments for the guiding role. However the antagonistic genetic correlations identified will need to be managed appropriately.

Co-authors: Thomas W. Lewis, Lucy Asher, Simon Blythe, Matthew Bottomley, Lisa Tootill, Rena Roberts, Helen Whiteside, Gary C. W. England, Sarah C. Blott ; School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham , Loughborough, UK
Katy graduated from the University of Bristol School of Veterinary Science in 2001. After working for DEFRA during the 2001 Foot and Mouth outbreak, a 3 year Clinical Training Scholarship in Veterinary Anaesthesia at Bristol and a 3 year spell as Deputy Veterinary Surgeon at the Babraham Institute, Katy took up a Postgraduate Studentship in Small Animal Epidemiology at the Animal Health Trust (AHT) in Newmarket. She gained an MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health via distance-learning from the Royal Veterinary College, while undertaking surveys and publishing reports for the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. Subsequently she undertook a PhD in canine quantitative genetics at the AHT as a student of the University of Nottingham, entitled “Genetic evaluation of guide dogs in the UK”. Katy successfully defended her thesis in January 2015 and she is now a postdoctoral researcher in quantitative genetics at the University of Nottingham, working with Guide Dogs to turn the findings of her PhD into useable tools.
The international working dog registry: a new service to be provided by IWDBA – Presented by ELDIN LEIGHTON
Working dog breeding program managers and private dog breeders would benefit from having a centralized repository for storing medical, behavioral, and work performance data on their dogs. It would aid in defining phenotypes and in clarifying terminology used to describe those phenotypes. Within a breed, these phenotypes would enable the calculation of estimated breeding values for traits where sufficient data are recorded, thus improving the accuracy of young breeder selection decisions. A centralized repository could also inform the search for suitable males to mate with a particular female by identifying potential sires that would produce lower inbred puppies. Expansion of the database could include other assessment data, allowing variation in skills to be noted and changes over time to be measured. The International Working Dog Registry should appear online in January 2016, with data held in a cloud-based relational database, accessible using only a web-browser and the Internet.

Co authors: Patrick MacIsaac, Paul Mundell, Karen Overall, Walt Burghardt, Miguel Stevens, Erik Wilsson, Dominique Grandjean, Hannes Slabbert, Al Grossman; IWDBA, San Antonio, USA
Founded in 1929, The Seeing Eye, Inc. is the oldest guide dog school in the world. Since the 1940’s, they have bred dogs to work as guides for blind people. In 1980, they asked Dr. Leighton to develop a breeding plan to genetically reduce the incidence of hip dysplasia, while also maintaining the ability of the dogs to be trained for work as guides. By following his plan, the organization reduced the incidence of hip dysplasia to less than 5% in young dogs over the first 10 years. Since 1995, Dr. Leighton has been fully responsible for overseeing implementation of the breeding plan, and today, he holds the endowed Jane H. Booker Chair in Canine Genetics at The Seeing Eye.
Avoiding the surgeon : Preventing stifle disease – Presented by Bess Pierce
Dr. Bess J. Pierce is an Associate Professor in the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine (CPCVM) at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM). Dr. Pierce joined the faculty initially in 2007 to develop and lead the Community Practice service in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, leaving active duty service in the United States Army. Since November 2011, she has also served as Director, Center for Animal Human Relationships (CENTAUR) at the VMCVM. Dr. Pierce earned a B.S. in biology from Tulane University in 1986, an M.Z.S. in wildlife biology in 1990 and a DVM from Auburn University in 1992. Serving more than 22 years on active and reserve duty in the US Army Veterinary Corps, Dr. Pierce has been stationed in a variety of assignments including California, two tours in Japan and several years at the Military Working Dog Center in San Antonio, Texas. She is currently a colonel in the US Army Reserve, assigned to the Public Health Command RegionEurope. Dr. Pierce is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (Canine Specialty), the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (Canine/Feline Practice) and the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Small Animal Medicine). She has extensive experience in working and service dog health care and policy, and in promoting strong handler/canine partnerships. Her primary research interests are in canine sports medicine and rehabilitation, canine conditioning and injury prevention, and three dimensional motion capture and modeling. Her human animal bond work concentrates on the impact and utilization of animal assisted activities in military and law enforcement settings.
Cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) disease in the canine patient is a common finding in companion animal practice, and the prevalence has doubled over the past 30 years. In humans, the majority of anterior cruciate ligament tears or ruptures are trauma induced. On the other hand, trauma accounts for only approximately 20% of CCL disease in dogs. Bilateral disease occurs in approximately 50% of patients, which can lead to increased dysfunction, pain and chronic degenerative changes in the affected stifles. Although excellent progress has been made over the past 10 years in surgical correction of CCL rupture or injury, complication rates of 14-60% have been reported (depending on the technique). The best medicine is still prevention, but to date, very little research has been focused towards these preventive measures. It is clear that CCL disease in dogs is multifactorial and complex and therefore, it is critical to examine the stifle from a whole, functioning unit perspective. Factors influencing the health and maintenance of the canine CCL include genetics, conformation, muscle control, weight, exercise and loading, and joint inflammation. Each of these factors will be discussed in relation to promoting stifle health and prevention of CCL injury.
Genetic linkage and fine mapping of hunt and play behavior in explosives dogs from the TSA breeding and development center – Presented by Liz Hare
Hunt and play behavior are critical parts of a working dog’s development and success. A preliminary genomewide study of 88 dogs at the TSA Canine Breeding and Development Center identified two chromosomal regions linked to physical possession and three chromosomal regions associated with the ability to find hidden objects. An additional 258 dogs have been genotyped and the analysis is being repeated with this larger data set. To narrow down the identified regions of linkage, the 346 dogs have been genotyped on custom arrays of more closely spaced markers. The custom arrays will also provide insight in to the relationship between genes involved in learning and memory and behavior. The identification of genes involved in working dog behavior can provide insight into the biochemical pathways involved in behavior and can aid in selective breeding to enhance these traits in future generations.

Co-authors: Katharine Lee, Scott Thomas; Dog Genetics LLC, Sunnyside, USA
Dr. Hare has a long-term interest in canine quantitative genetics, particularly in working dog behavior. She founded Dog Genetics LLC in 2009 to begin an ongoing project with the Department of Homeland Security to study the genetics and genomics of the population of dogs produced at the TSA Canine Breeding and Development Center and to implement a selective breeding program. She consults with Leader Dogs for the Blind to study the genetics of work- and healthrelated traits and to plan a selective breeding program. She performs statistical analyses for studies at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center. Dr. Hare taught online distance education courses in canine and feline genetics at Cornell University. She earned her PhD in Genetics from George Washington University, where her research focused on the heritability of litter size in dogs.
Increased genetic improvements by cooperation among breeding programs; example from breeding of English Setter in Sweden and Norway – Presented by Per Arvelius
Genetic parameters were estimated for six hunting traits from English Setter field trials in Sweden and Norway. The aim was to study the potential for increased genetic improvement if basing selection of breeding animals on a joint Swedish–Norwegian genetic evaluation, compared to using phenotypic records alone (which is current practice) or breeding values from within-country genetic evaluations. A mixed linear animal model was used, and the analyses included 3620 Swedish records from 685 dogs and 94 414 Norwegian records from 7175 dogs. Heritabilities were 0.07-0.13 for Swedish measurements and 0.08-0.18 for Norwegian. The accuracies of breeding values were higher when including both countries in the genetic evaluation, especially for dogs with Swedish results for which the average increase was 19 %. Compared to phenotypic selection, the across-country genetic evaluation almost doubled the potential annual genetic improvement for Swedish dogs. Thus, a joint genetic evaluation is especially advantageous for the population with the most limited information. However, it will also be beneficial for the other population due to the increased number of available selection candidates; it becomes possible for all participating populations to increase selection intensity and/or decrease the inbreeding rate, potentially leading to faster genetic improvement.

Co-authors: Gunnar Klemetsdal ; Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
Per Arvelius earned his PhD in animal science, genetics and breeding, at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. He currently works as a researcher at the same university, and his main research interest is how dog behaviour can be improved by breeding. He has a background as an engineer, who after military service as dog handler became a professional working dog trainer. Later, after university studies and a master degree in animal science, he was head secretary for two governmental inquiries. The first one resulted in new legislation concerning “dangerous dogs”. The second aimed at finding a cost-effective but still functional model for how to organize a Swedish breeding program for working dogs to supply national authorities with capable dog material.
Early puppyhood education, what are the pros and cons for detection dogs? – Presented by Cynthia Otto
The developing brain has incredible plasticity; early education in children leads to cognitive and social benefits. Effective early education programs face economic and curriculum-optimization challenges. Rigid early academically-driven programs may result in a “loss of childhood”. At the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, our puppy education program aims for a balance between social, behavioral, physical and cognitive (skill specific) development. Social development is enhanced by the daily training program at the Center, coupled with foster families that provide evening and weekend care. Training techniques emphasize positive reinforcement, behavioral shaping, games, and social learning from more advanced dogs. Perceived advantages of this approach include “hard wiring” of desired behaviors (e.g. search), early interventions for behavioral problems, controlled exposure to a variety of environmental situations, and ability to capitalize on innate skills enhancing career placement! The disadvantages to this approach are the cost of early training and recruitment of foster families.

Co-authors: Annemarie DeAngelo, Patricia Kaynaroglu, Victoria Berkowitz ; Penn Vet Working Dog Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
Dr. Otto is a tenured associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. She is board certified in Veterinary Emergency Medicine and Critical Care (DACVECC) and Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (DACVMR-canine) has been an attending clinician in the Emergency Service for over 20 years and the director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center since it opened in 2012. She received a Bachelor’s of Animal Science and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University and her PhD in veterinary physiology from the University of Georgia. She has published over 60 peer reviewed articles. Her research, funded by NIH, AHA, AKC-CHF and other foundations, has included studies in sepsis, inflammation, acute lung injury, trauma, and disaster medicine. She has been monitoring the health and behavior of Urban Search and Rescue canines since October of 2001, through an AKC-CHF funded grant (now in its third renewal). She has established the AKC-Reunite Detection Dog DNA bank. She has conducted funded studies of prehydration in working dogs and the use of detection dogs in ovarian cancer detection and diabetes alert. She is an internationally recognized speaker in both emergency medicine and working dog medicine. Dr. Otto has also been involved with search and rescue dogs and disaster response as a member of the Pennsylvania Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 between 1994 and 2010 (including deployments to Hurricane Floyd and 9/11), and the Veterinary Medical Assistance Team-2 since 1999 (deploying to Hurricane Katrina). She is the founding director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center (www.PennVetWDC.org). She is active in educating search dog handlers and members of the working dog community in canine first aid and fitness. She was named Pennsylvania’s 2002 “Veterinarian of the Year” and received an Alumni Recognition Award in 2006 and the OSU Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2008 from the Ohio State University and a top 20 finalist in AVMF’s America’s Favorite Veterinarian. She has been involved in dog sports (flyball, agility, and tricks), and animal assisted interactions, with her dog, Dolce.
Personality and performance of search dog-human dyads: to match or not to match? A preliminary study – Presented by SARA HOUMMADY
Improving operational performances of working doghuman dyads is more and more questioned. However, the associations between human personality, dog personality, dog-human personality matching and dyads’ performances have poorly been investigated. This study hence aims at exploring the links between human and dog personality traits, their matching or mismatching, the quality of the human-dog relationship, and dyads’ performances (time to find a victim during search tests, number of errors, and time improvement during 3 successive tests) of 14 dyads of the Paris Fire Brigade. Several human personality traits were related with higher dyads’ performances or relationship (“gregariousness”, “aesthetics“, “dutifulness”, “activity”, “modesty”, “mind-openness”). Moreover, the dog’s trait “human familiarity” was positively correlated with dyads’ improvement capacity. Dyads’ performances increased when dyads matched on the traits “dog human familiarity” and “human positive emotions” or matched on the traits “dog human familiarity/ confidence” and “human activity”, while they decreased when dyads matched on the traits “dog conscientiousness” and “human autodiscipline”. Finally, matching on personality traits between men and dogs was correlated with dyads’ relationship.

Co-authors: Franck Peron, Loic Desquilbet, Loic Jullien, Barbara Bernard, Emmanuelle Titeux, Dominique Grandjean, Delphine Clero, Caroline Gilbert ; Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort, UMR7179 CNRS/MNHN, France
Sara Hoummady is a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine (DVM), Master of Science in Ethology (MSc Ethology), PhD student at the CNRS/MNHN. Her research theme of the PhDis actually on fragility in dogs. She conducted her Master research work on working dogs’ personality and performances, focusing on the search and rescue dogs ot the Paris Fire Brigade.
Acquisition of dogs with previous biting incidents for police work – Presented by ESTHER SCHALKE
The wellbeing of the guide dog: social skills and practices of people with visual disabilities – Presented by Stéphanie Michenaud
Sex ratio: is it always 1:1? – Presented by ELDIN Leighton
Guide dogs in the City of Paris – Presented by Marc Blondot
The use of frozen and chilled canine semen – Presented by Maarten Kappen
True or false? Differentiating negative responses in trained detection dogs – Presented by Astrid Concha
States of arousal are related to successfully working as guide dogs – Presented by Jane Russenberger

Day 2 (24 Mar 2015) - Working technical advances and progress in working dogs

Canine performance science (CPS) program at Auburn University – Presented by James Floyd
The neonatal period: also a challenge in working dog breeding centers – Presented by Emmanuel Fontaine
The importance of microbial exposure early in life – Presented by Asa Vilson
Training puppies and young dogs to become a detection dog for explosive by using a technical training aid – Presented by Esther Schalke
Welfare of working dogs and its impact on ability – Presented by Nicola Rooney
Variability of the detection response of explosive detection dogs (EDD) faced with varying quantities of RDX-type explosives – Presented by Ann Jacob
Real time detection of bovine viral diarrhea virus using detection dogs – Presented by Thomas Angle
Behaviour and cortisol responses in a standardised test for military working dogs – Presented by Pernilla Foyer
Handler-dog interface : the effects of handler’s controllability on the performance of canine in an explosive detection task – Presented by Avi Avital
Functional MRI of conscious dogs: relationship between brain activity and measures of working dog performance – Presented by Paul Waggoner
Quantitative analysis of the relationship between restfullness and dog training
outcomes. – Presented by Joelle Alcaidinho
Evaluation of the use of pheromone collars during transition from foster homes to the JBSA-Lackland training kennel to decrease stress in young military working dogs – Presented by Desiree Broach
Incorporation of the « fit to work » fitness program into a canine detection training program – Presented by Cynthia Otto
The remote explosive scent tracing for air cargo security – Presented by Alain Sales
Measuring and investigating factors which affect the performance of working
dogs, their handlers and the teams – Presented by Nicola Rooney

Day 3 (26 Mar 2015) - Maintaining physical/mental ability in hostile environments

Working dogs: friend or foe? – Presented by Paul Van Der Merwe
Inconsistencies in olfactory training – Presented by Allen Goldblatt
Effects of hydration strategies on vehicle-screening or tracking canines in hot environments – Presented by Cynthia Otto
The use of search and rescue dog in the context of flash floods: learning and consequences for training – Presented by Sarah Riviere
Diagnostic imaging of canine sports medicine and rehabilitation patients for
program managers and practitioners – Presented by Kelly Mann
FAST ultrasound techniques – Simple skills can save lives – Presented by Kelly Mann
Prevention of heatstroke in dogs of the Battalion of Military Police Number 1 (Spain): comparison of different models of cooling vests – Presented by Mila Benito
Updates in canine reproduction – Presented by Emmanuel Fontaine
Effect of a core conditioning program on lumbar pain, function and paraspinal muscle area in military working dogs – Presented by Andrea Henderson
Prevention failed: Rehabilitation of the CCL Post-op Stifle – Presented by Bess Pierce
Effect of masking substances on the performance of explosive sniffer dogs – Presented by Susanne Hartmann
Biochemical shifts induced by exercise and interest of high quality food supplemented in antioxidant and omega-3 fatty acid in working dogs – Presented by Caroline Girardet
Validation for localizing drowning victims by search and rescue dogs; experience of the Paris Fire Brigade – Presented by Delphine Clero