Time Speaker Lecture
Arrival of delegates
6:00pm - 8:00pm Registration and Icebreaker

Time Speaker Lecture
06:30am - 08:30am Breakfast and Registration Wildrose Prefunction Space - Hawthorne "A" & "B"
08:00am - 08:15am Patrick MacIsaac

Flag of Canada   Welcoming of delegates to Banff: "DON'T FEED THE WILDLIFE!!!"

08:15am - 08:30am Dr. Miguel Stevens

Flag of Belgium   Opening of the 10th International Working Dog Conference by the President of the IWDBA

08:30am - 09:10am Dr. Gregory Berns MD PhD. - Keynote Speaker

Flag of United States   100,000 Awake Dog MRIs: What Have We Learned?

The use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been a foundational tool of human cognitive neuroscience for decades, but its application to animals, has, until recently, required anesthesia and restraints. Dogs, however, are readily trained to the MRI environment. For the first time, this allows cognitive neuroscience of the canine brain in an awake, relaxed state. Canine fMRI experiments can be divided into passive and active tasks. Passive tasks focus on mapping different perceptual systems of the canine brain and include responses to simple and complex visual stimuli (e.g. colored shapes vs. faces), auditory stimuli (sounds, voices), and olfactory stimuli (simple volatiles, biological odors). Passive tasks do not require the dog to do anything except remain motionless. In contrast, active tasks involve the elicitation of a response or a trained behavior. Active tasks present unique challenges because of the potential confound of subject movement. However, when the dog is trained to move only on cue, the movement artifacts can be delayed in time from the salient neural events. Examples of this approach include response inhibition. Many of these neural measures are found to correlate with out-of-scanner metrics of personality and behavior, and can be used to predict a dog’s suitability for specific working roles.

09:10am - 09:30am Mourad, Tommy - VP, Director of Guide Dog Training Operations Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation

Flag of United States   Enriched Puppy Program

The goal of Enriched Puppy Protocol program is the development of a physically, mentally and emotionally balanced puppy who can best utilize his genetic potential.

This is particularly critical goal for the potential guide, thought just as valuable in the companion animal with far less responsibility. It is well established that early experiences have a profound, often permanent impact on the developing. Enriched Puppy Protocol program focuses on providing appropriate Stimuli in an increasingly complex environment to provide an extensive reference library for the puppy. Stimuli are provided at approximately 3 weeks, while investigation- attraction behavior is strong. This extensive reference library puts many stimuli into the known category long before the 5 week and the onset of the fear of the unknown. The Enriched Puppy Protocol program emphasizes a strong foundation for puppies, addressing cognitive, social and neuro- muscular development. Appropriate challenges encourage the puppies as they learn to move, and in turn, it can be considered that they are moving to learn.

Authors: Tommy Mourad , Yvonne Martin (Directorof programs at GDA)

09:30am - 09:50am Forkman, Björn - University of Copenhagen Professor

Flag of Denmark   An evaluation of an 8-week puppy test

Puppy tests have been developed previously, however few if any scientific studies have succeeded in finding a correlation between the behaviour of the puppy and that of an adult dog growing up in a family. The current personality assessment for puppies (”mentalbeskrivning valp” - MV) has been developed in collaboration with the Swedish Working Dog Association and is constructed using the same principles as for the Dog Mentality Assessment, but with less emphasis on fear. The test takes 15 min/puppy and is done at eight weeks of age. Seven hundred puppies have been tested so far and three personality factors have been identified: Biting intensity, Sociality & curiosity and finally Play and collaboration. Adult dogs were assessed with the DMA 1.5 years later (N=196), this revealed a significant correlation between Biting intensity in the puppy test and chase from the DMA (Rs=0.14, p<0.03). The overall aggression of the adult dog was also correlated to the confidence of the puppy as assessed by the test leader (Rs=0.20, p<0.01). The current puppy test is being implemented and will be used for three years in Sweden before a final evaluation.

Authors: Björn Forkman, Lars Fält, Ingalill Larson, Ann Olsson


09:50am - 10:10am Overall, Karen PhD, - Senior Research Scientist University of Pennsylvania

Flag of United States   Turning off dogs’ brains: roles for reactivity and exposure in problem solving behavior

Anxiety and reactivity may affect problem solving performance. As part of a larger study comparing problem solving behavior and cognition in pet and working dogs, 35 pet dogs were chosen for auditory evaluation using anxiety intensity ranks for noise reactivity (AIR scores). AIR scores were calculated from the Working Dog Questionnaire – Pet Version (WDQ-PET). Nineteen of 35 dogs were identified as noise-reactive (high AIR score) and 16 were identified as non-reactive (0 AIR score). Dogs were tested using the 13-subtest Canine Intelligence Test Protocol (CITP) which evaluates domains of social/interactive learning, physical/spatial learning/memory, executive function/complex memory and spontaneous behavior/laterality. During CITP testing dogs wore custom firmware VOYCE bands which recorded acceleration intensity in 3 dimensions every second. Auditory testing, which was done on the awake, non-sedated and unrestrained dogs, included Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER).

Auditory Middle Latency Response (AMLR), Mismatch Negativity (MMN) testing. Dogs with higher AIR scores had an asymmetric right ear AMLR response compared to non-reactive dogs (Welch’s t-test, 2.551, df=22.413, P<0.0179). Dogs with higher AIR scores also showed significant deviations in movement across the 13 tests in the CITP, as measured using VOYCE bands, and were less successful for all outcome test measures than were dogs with low or 0 AIR scores. The number of dogs completing AMLR testing differed significantly between groups (G test; P<0.0294). Performance on the CITP was affected by anxiety and reactivity, and early experience, as assessed by these behavioral, neurological, movement and outcome measures. Reactivity and early development affect canine cognition.

Authors: Karen L. Overall, Arthur E. Dunham, Albert Goldfain, Peter Scheifele, Kristine Sonstrom


10:10am - 10:30am Coffee Break Poster Exhibition - Wildrose Prefunction Area
10:30am - 10:50am Kaynaroglu, Patricia - Training Manager Penn Vet Working Dog Center

Flag of United States   Preparing a puppy for any career in scent detection using the Penn Vet Working Dog Center Training Program

All our puppies begin the same foundational training at 8 weeks of age. Dogs’ benchmarks are monitored throughout their training. Our agility program’s goal is to teach the canine to perform comfortably in dark and confined areas, as well as traverse and climb varied surfaces and heights. Training in direction and control teaches the canine to respond to handler’s request to search independently at a distance off lead. Furthermore, there are two aspects to our scent detection program: single scent detection (e.g. narcotics, explosives, medical, etc.) and human detection (e.g. human-SAR, suspect search). To accomplish the goal of preparing canines for their careers, such as FEMA disaster search dogs, law enforcement, and medical detection, we plan, monitor progress, and set training objectives through input from hands-on work and data collected during all training sessions. This allows us to analyze the effectiveness and search style of the dogs in our program

Authors: Patricia Kaynaroglu, Annemarie DeAngelo, Bridget Stewart, Danielle Berger, Donna Magness, Hakan Kaynaroglu, Lorenzo Ramirez, Cynthia M Otto


10:50am - 11:05am Carnevale, Michael - MS Graduate Student Clemson University

Flag of United States   Quantifying stress and strain in the canine sacroiliac joint using positional computed tomography and finite element analysis.

Working dogs are often instructed to repetitively assume upright positions, increasing weight on the sacroiliac joint. Previous reports have proposed that abnormal biomechanical forces could cause soft tissue injuries. The aim of this study was to determine whether stress and strain could be modeled in supportive ligaments of the canine sacroiliac joint using positional computed tomography (CT) and finite element analysis (FEA). Archived positional CT images for a Labrador retriever military working dog were used for segmentation of the pelvis using Slicer. A 3-D solid model and volume mesh representing the pelvis geometry was then created in ANSYS, and ligaments were attached to the model based on standard anatomic texts. Loads were then applied based on the dog’s weight and stress/strain values were computed for extended and flexed leg positions.   Findings indicated that FEA and positional CT are feasible methods for modelling stress and strain in canine sacroiliac joint ligaments.

Authors: Michael Carnevale, Jeryl Jones, Gang Li, Julia Sharp


11:05am - 11:20am Prichard, Ashley - Emory University Graduate Student

Flag of United States   Awake fMRI of language processing in dogs shows bias for novel words

Do dogs demonstrate lexical processing? Lexical processing involves stored semantic representations that can be accessed via the associated word. We trained 10 dogs to retrieve two objects based on object names, then probed the neural basis for this verbal representation using awake-fMRI. As a control, we compared the neural response to pseudowords versus trained words, and novel objects versus trained objects during the fMRI scan. We predicted that a greater auditory response would occur to trained words relative to pseudowords, if the dogs were lexically processing the trained words. Moreover, if dogs used lexical processing, there should be a difference in activation between the trained words. Instead, we found greater activation for pseudowords relative to trained words bilaterally in the parietotemporal brain region, and no difference between the two trained words. The dogs’ greater activation for pseudowords indicates an underlying bias for novelty rather than lexical processing of words as object-referents.

Authors: Ashley Prichard, Peter Cook, Mark Spivak, Gregory Berns


11:20am - 11:50am De Angelo, Annemarie - Training Director Penn Vet Working Dog Center

Flag of United States   Penn Vet Working Dog Center's Early Development Program Utilizing Evaluations and Testing as Predictors of Career Aptitude

The PVWDC focuses on early development using a suite of training SOP’s and behavioral monitoring evaluations.  Weekly & quarterly testing is performed on all canines to evaluate their development, specifically factors associated with drive and confidence. Our goal is to determine if early evaluations/tests can be predictors of not only success as a working dog, but also career aptitude within the spectrum of scent detector dog career expectations.

In addition to their evaluations,in-house litters are given early odor introduction. At eight weeks of age, all our dogs begin age appropriate foundation training in obedience, agility, search, environmental, fitness and husbandry using positive reinforcement methods.  Although we have benchmarks, the program is designed to allow the dog to progress and grow according to their individual abilities.   Once we have identified the dog’s strengths, we place them in areas of detection where they will be the most successful.

Authors: Annemarie DeAngelo, Patricia Kaynaroglu, Cindy Otto, Lorenzo Ramirez


11:50am - 12:30pm Dr. Arleigh Reynolds - Keynote Speaker

Flag of United States   10 things I have learned about nutrition that helped make my team world champions

Feeding for optimal performance requires adapting the diet to the athletes needs as their demands change.  Over the past 30 years we have bred, trained and competed with sled dogs at the international level.  Over that time we have developed a program that synchronizes nutrition with conditioning to help our dogs meet the metabolic needs specific to each stage of conditioning and performance.  This program has allowed us to optimize performance and longevity while minimizing injury and disease.  While the example presented here refers to my work with sled dogs, we have applied this concept successfully to most other types of working dogs.


12:30pm - 01:30pm LUNCH Wildrose Prefunction Space - Hawthorne "A" & "B"
01:30pm - 02:00pm George, Clint - Veterinarian United States Army

Flag of United States   Forelimb lameness localization and ultrasonographic assessment of the shoulder in Iditarod sled dogs

Specific causes of shoulder lameness in sled dogs and other working dogs are unknown. In addition, it is unclear what the most common location of lameness is in racing sled dogs. This prospective study will ultrasonographically evaluate the periarticular soft tissues of the shoulders of Iditarod sled dogs with and without lameness localized to the shoulder. The objectives of this study are to: 1) localize and quantify lameness in sled dogs; 2) describe the ultrasonographic appearance of the shoulder in sled dogs with and without lameness localized to the shoulder and 3) document the presence of shoulder joint instability if present. This information will serve to educate veterinarians, mushers and owners on the common sites of lameness and specific shoulder abnormalities in racing sled dogs, thus improving identification and treatment of shoulder injuries.

Authors: Clint R. George, Scott Secrest, Mike Davis, Dirsko von Pfeil, Stuart Nelson, William Lisa


02:00pm - 02:40pm Fontaine, Emmanuel - PRO Technical Services Veterinarian, Royal Canin Canada

Flag of Canada   Canine Uterine Disorders : the end of the reproductive career ? Not anymore.

Working dog breeding program’s success is definitely influenced by the females’ reproductive health. Proper monitoring of the uterus, THE organ for gestation, appears essential here. Indeed, any uterine disorder will obviously directly impact the fertility outcome. Pyometra (=pus in the uterus) has for a while been considered as the main threat. Recent studies however highlighted that other uterine disorders like mucometra, cystic-endometrial hyperplasia and especially endometritis, are more frequent than once thought. We still often hear that ovario-hysterectomy is the only cure : however, studies report 95% success and 80% future fertility rate when published medical alternatives are used. Those approaches are definitely worth considering in breeding bitches, and working dog breeding programs must know they exist. In terms of prevention, genital ultrasounds now allow for better screening and earlier detection. Nutrition also helps optimize the uterine medium and the conditions in which the embryos and fetuses will develop.


02:40pm - 03:10pm Mann, Kelly - Veterinary Radiologist Colorado State University

Flag of United States   18F-FDG positron emission tomography – an innovative technique for the diagnosis of canine lameness

Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with fluorine-18-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) is widely known for its use in the diagnosis and tracking of primary and metastatic tumors. 18F-FDG is also used to study the normal physiology of glucose uptake, metabolism, and muscle activity during and after exercise. The clinical findings of a study which added PET imaging to the diagnostic evaluation of canine patients undergoing computed tomography (CT) for mild or intermittent thoracic and pelvic limb lameness are summarized in this presentation. The PET-CT imaging protocol was designed to significantly enhance a routine thoracic or pelvic limb CT examination and to identify areas of muscle, tendon or ligament overuse, inflammation or injury for further diagnostic procedures or definitive treatment. PET-CT imaging is recommended after standard means of diagnosis have failed or when the specific physiologic information provided by a PET radiopharmaceutical may detect subtle metabolic abnormalities in the muscle.

Authors: Kelly Mann, Ilan Frank, Felix Duerr


03:10pm - 03:40pm Pierce, Bess - Senior Veterinarian Veterinary Corps, US Army Reserve

Flag of United States   Infectious Disease Hazards for Deployed Working Dogs

The demand for working dogs continues to increase, and worldwide deployments of handler-canine teams occur routinely. This increased exposure to foreign environments carries the risk of infections from a variety of sources, and the handler should be aware of geographical infectious disease threats and appropriate preventive measures.  This presentation will review important infectious disease risks for working canines in high operational tempo regions of the world, with emphasis on prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The presentation will also expand on the proposal made by IWDBA members in 2015 concerning the creation of a database of accessible regional deployment guides for canine handlers and veterinary health care providers in the field.

Authors: Pierce B, Sangster J


03:40pm - 04:00pm Coffee Break Poster Exhibition - Wildrose Prefunction Area
04:00pm - 04:15pm Alcaidinho, Joelle - Georgia Tech; PhD Candidate and Kerrine Levy

Flag of United States   P.A.W.S. - Puppy Accelerometer Data for Working Dog Suitability

We present the design of P.A.W.S., Puppy Accelerometer Data for Working Dog Suitability, a system created by Georgia Tech in collaboration with Canine Companions for Independence for monitoring potential working dog puppies. In our presentation we will discuss the combination of tools that make up this system, including commodity sensing accelerometers, commercial apps, and a custom visualization tool developed to support the exploration of the accelerometer data. We will share our experience developing and using this system in a pilot study with 133 Canine Companions puppies and provide guidelines for the development of future systems with the intention of improving scalability, efficiency, and validity.

Authors: Joelle Alcaidinho, Kerinne Levy, Branden Brown, Chelsi Cocking, Benjamin Elder, William Hsu, Jed Paz, Gregory D. Abowd, Melody


04:15pm - 04:55pm Otto, Cynthia - Executive Director Penn Vet Working Dog Center University of Pennsylvania

Flag of United States   Conditioning and rehabilitation geared for Working Dogs

This presentation will highlight the impact of a conditioning program on the health of working dogs. Case examples will include the role of exercises on improving hip laxity and lumbosacral instability. Case examples will include the progressive rehabilitation of police dogs with musculoskeletal injuries and the strategy to return them to duty using focused therapeutic exercise.

Authors:Otto CM, Darling T, Berger D


04:55pm - 05:30pm Fontaine, Emmanuel

Flag of Canada   Everything you need to know about the bitch’s milk

Canine parvoviral enteritis(CPE) has remained a problem in dog population worldwide. In Nigeria, dog owners and researchers have grossly neglected the disease even though it has been a frequent cause of morbidity and mortality in dogs. This retrospective study provides current information on the status of CPE by collating and analyzing data from clinical records of hospitalized dogs from June 2012 t0 Ikwuano L.G.A Abia state Nigeria. The study was conducted based on age, sex, breed and vaccination status. recovery rate was also documented. There is therefore a need to enlighten Dogs breeders on the status and importance of vaccination against this disease.


05:30pm - 06:00pm Henderson, Andrea - Chief, Rehabilitation DOD Military Working Dog Veterinary Service

Flag of United States   Physical Conditioning of Military Working Dog Athletes

Military Working Dog (MWD) athletes have considerable physical demands placed on them in the line of duty.  These dogs are at risk of unique musculoskeletal injuries and diseases that may significantly impact their performance or even prematurely end their careers. While some conditions are developmental or congenital, it may be possible to prevent injury or reduce the impact of musculoskeletal disease through the employment of a comprehensive conditioning program.  Ultimately, the goal of physical training is to produce a well-rounded canine athlete and prolong the working life of the MWD.  This presentation will cover the physical requirements of Military Working Dogs and the current available evidence of musculoskeletal diseases and their impact on MWD careers.  It will also include a review of the literature on prevention of injury through conditioning in human athletes and recommendations for a comprehensive MWD conditioning program tailored to specific life-stages and duties. 


06:30pm - 10:00pm International Working Dog Breeding Association Dinner Wildrose Prefunction Space - Wildrose Salons
Time Speaker Lecture
07:00am - 09:00am Breakfast Wildrose Prefunction Space - Hawthorne "A" & "B"
08:00am - 08:40am Prof. Claire Wade BSc (Hons ) PhD UNSW GCertEd UQ - Keynote Speaker

Flag of Australia   Computational biology and animal genetics

The number of genetic tests that can be used to identify heritable disorders which are increasing at an astonishing rate. The question we have to ask is what makes a good test, how do we effectively use genetic test information and what do we do if there is no test available? As working dog breeders we are interested in working traits as well as genetic health. She will discuss the particular implications of genomic advances for those interested in canine working abilities; give some examples of work underway in her laboratory and will suggest answers for some of these important questions of how best to use genomic technologies in dog breeding programs.


08:40am - 09:00am Leighton, Eldin - The Seeing Eye, Inc. Director of Canine Genetics (Retired)

Flag of United States   Estimates of genetic correlation between two measures of hip quality in 3 breeds of dogs bred for work as guides

Over 35 years, hip extended view scores (HES) were obtained by The Seeing Eye on 12,496 dogs. Among these, 9,548 were also evaluated for hip quality by the PennHIP® distraction index (DI) method. For approximately 20 years, genetic selection decisions were mostly based on estimated breeding values for the HES phenotype. After 8 generations of selection, over 90% of German Shepherd Dogs and Labrador Retrievers and over 87% of Golden Retrievers received an “excellent” HES. Among dogs evaluated by DI, observed values ranged between 0.12 and 0.80. A genetic analysis estimated the correlation between these two hip quality phenotypes to lie between -0.29 and -0.21, depending upon breed. This is a genetically weak correlation. Genetic improvement of HES to its physical limit produced little change in DI values until direct selection pressure on DI was applied in generation classes beyond 8, where mean DI values began declining significantly.

Authors:  Leighton, E.A., Smith, G.K., Holle, D.H., and Biery, D.N.

09:00am - 09:35am Russenberger, Jane - Guiding Eyes for the Blind Senior Director, Genetics and Breeding

Flag of United States   Heritability and Genetic Correlations for Aspects of Behavior Measured at 2 and 4 Months of Age

Puppy behavior is modified by environmental influences. Trained observers using a standardized scoring instrument called the Behavior Checklist (BCL) scored 38 behavior items at 5 age points, beginning with 7-week old puppies and continuing through guide dog training. In this paper, results will be presented from the earliest two age points: puppy test, and 4-months. Analysis of variance determined that some puppy test BCL items provide statistically significant information that can be related to future outcome of an individual puppy. Estimates of heritability for selected BCL items at 2 and 4 months of age are: (1.) Activated by Stress, h2 at 2Mo=0.29, 4Mo=0.21; (2.) Inhibited by Stress, h2 at 2Mo=0.11 and 4Mo=0.09; (3.) Noise Sensitivity, h2 at 2Mo=0.27 and 4Mo=0.20; (4.) Object Fear, h2 at 2Mo=0.04 and 4Mo=0.10; and (5.) Return to Productive, State h2 at 2Mo=0.01 and 4Mo=0.30. Genetic correlations will also be presented.

Authors: Jane Russenberger BS, Barbara Havlena, Eldin Leighton PhD, Helen West

09:35am - 10:05am Pamela Haney

Flag of United States   Breeding and Raising the Vapor Wake Detection Dog Phenotype

In 2013, the Canine Performance Sciences Program at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine embarked on a concerted effort to develop a dog phenotype ideally suited to perform its patented Vapor Wake® (VW) detection repertoire. VW is a method of training and employment of dogs for the detection of person-borne IEDs that utilizes control over the dog’s searching by odor emitted by persons moving or congregated in an area. Most VW dogs are also trained to perform conventional object-search based explosive detector dog (EDD) tasks and, when not completely suitable for VW training, make excellent candidates for conventional EDD employment. This presentation will describe the VW repertoire, performance and environmental requirements for VW dogs, and our progress and experiences to date in selective breeding toward a dog phenotype with physical and behavioral characteristics conducive to being successful in performing VW detection. We shall also discuss the concomitant importance of specialized early development in preparing these dogs to be successfully trained and employed as VW detection dogs.

Authors: Pamela Haney, Jeanne Brock, Terry Fischer, Bart Rogers, Craig Angle, Paul Waggoner

10:05am - 10:25am Coffee Break Poster Exhibition - Wildrose Prefunction Area
10:25am - 11:00am Brenda Sawyer, Dr. Ken Hubbard D.V.M., and Sgt Curtis Shull - Royal Canadain Mounted Police - Police Dog Service Training Centre

Flag of Canada   Royal Canadian Mounted Police Dog Breeding Program and Management Techniques

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have used police dogs since 1935. Profiles include: tracking, criminal apprehension, explosive or narcotics detection, article searching, and avalanche search and rescue. Since 1999 the program has evolved into breeding, imprinting, and training. The imprinting program is both an avenue for selection of new dog handler candidates and development of puppies into operational service dogs.  Puppy testing and performance evaluation at 4, 8 and 12 months of age are used to determine which dogs will enter training or be selected as breeding females. In order to achieve the goal, of a supply of dogs for training, several ongoing Breeding Management Techniques have been used.  Intra-uterine artificial insemination using both surgical and trans-cervical methods in conjunction with frozen semen collection and storage are the pillars of the program. LH and progesterone blood assays are used to assist in predicting optimal breeding time to achieve maximum litter size. Ultrasound and x-rays have been used for pregnancy diagnosis and monitoring. Dual sire litter testing has been used to provide information related to optimal insemination timing.

Authors: Brenda Sawyer, Dr Ken Hubbard DVM, Sgt Curtis Shull


11:00am - 11:20am Arvelius, Per - Swedish Armed Forces Dog Training Center, Breeding Manager

Flag of Sweden   The Swedish Armed Forces (SAF) breeding program for German Shepherd Dogs – the next step

There exist more than ten breeding programs for guide dogs producing at least 200 puppies annually, but only very few for police and military working dogs. One reason might be that the former often are funded by charity, and that people in charge work closer to reality and realise the importance of high quality dogs and that access to such dogs cannot be guaranteed unless you breed them yourself. The SAF kennel, with an annual production exceeding 200 puppies a year in a relatively closed breeding colony, is one exception. Since its start in 2005, the SAF breeding program has been successful; the proportion of dogs entering active duty has doubled. This is likely a reflection of both genetic and environmental improvements. Until now, selection of breeding animals has been on phenotypes alone. As a consequence, the rate of improvement has started to decrease for some traits. Furthermore, the breeding goal is not sufficiently defined, there is a lack of knowledge regarding validity, i.e., the (genetic) correlations between selection and breeding goal traits, etc. A continued improvement of the SAF breeding program therefore calls for modern breeding methods, e.g., implementing selection based on estimated breeding values.

The SAF’s plan for how to develop its breeding program will be discussed. We hope this process will involve collaboration with other breeding programs with similar breeding goals, because this might enable faster breeding progress and make each program less vulnerable.


11:20am - 11:40am Kennedy, Brenda - Canine Companions for Independence; Director of Canine Health and Research

Flag of United States   Experience of Canine Companions for Independence to Improve Hip Status in Assistance Dogs over a 23 Year Period

Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) is a non-profit organization founded in 1975 to train assistance dogs to enhance the lives of people with disabilities.

Purpose: The purpose of this report is to share CCI’s experience at reducing the incidence of canine hip dysplasia by mass selection based on radiographic hip screening.

Methods: From 1993 to 2015, 2202 Labrador retrievers were tested at CCI using the PennHIP method. Breeder selection included consideration of individual hip scores.

Results: Hip scores in offspring improved consistently year after year from a mean DI of 0.55 in 1994 to a mean DI of 0.32 in 2015. Upward spikes in the downward trend were caused by the addition of non-CCI dogs selected for desirable traits other than hips.

Conclusions: Routine hip screening using the PennHIP DI and mass selection in an assistance dog program can systematically and markedly reduce hip laxity and OA susceptibility in offspring.

Author: Brenda S. Kennedy, Ruth Daniels, Kerinne Levy, Eldin A. Leighton and Gail K. Smith

11:40am - 12:00pm Waide, Emily - The Seeing Eye Jane H. Booker Chair of Canine Genetics

Flag of United States   Harnessing the power of genomics for genetic selection of Seeing Eye dogs

High-density single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping chips serve as the foundation of research into the underlying genetics of inherited traits and allow for more accurate selection of the highest quality dogs for breeding. The Seeing Eye genotyped dogs with the Illumina CanineHD 170K BeadChip in an effort to reduce the incidence of Addison’s Disease in Labrador Retrievers and Phenobarbital Responsive Sialadenosis in German Shepherds. Genes located in moderately associated genomic regions were shown to have functions relevant to the disease trait, which provides insight into the biological mechanisms of these diseases. These results will also allow for careful selection of breeders to avoid producing further affected puppies. Genomic selection is not only an avenue of reducing the incidence of diseases, but will also provide more accurate estimates of genetic value for each young dog.


12:00pm - 12:20pm Venable, Erin - Professor Southern Illinois University

Flag of United States   Improved decontamination protocols for working canines

Working canines of all disciplines often work in hazardous and contaminated environments. Little information is available that validates existing protocols. A study was conducted using 12 FEMA canines (Florida Task Force One) and two decontamination protocols. Protocol A replicated the current FEMA standard involving stiff bristle brushes, non-specific pet shampoo and a double rinse system. Protocol B modified the current standard by replacing the pet shampoo with Johnson & Johnson Head-to-Toe Body Wash ®, rubber-bristled grooming brush and by adding floor grating to allow drainage of the gray water. A luminescent liquid was applied in four locations (throat, shoulder blades, hind paw, inner flank) on all dogs to measure the reduction of contamination pre- and post-wash. Results indicate that Protocol B was more effective in overall contamination reduction.


12:20pm - 01:20pm LUNCH Wildrose Prefucntion Space - Hawthorne "A" & "B"
01:20pm - 01:40pm Tal, Smadar - Koret School of Veterinary Medicine,The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agricultural, Food & Environment, The Hebrew University of Je Head of Small Animal Theriogenology, neonatology and pediatric department

Flag of Israel   Semen quality as a predictor of health and physical performance in working dogs

The relationship between fertility and health is complex. Environmental, hereditary and individual factors may impact both. The living conditions of males play a significant role in spermatogenesis and hormonal metabolism disorders. Recent studies demonstrate higher risk of death in men with impaired semen parameters. The importance of heat shock proteins (HSPs) in spermatogenesis had been described in humans. However, the veterinary literature lacks data regarding the association between semen quality, canine health, and HSPs, which can be extremely important in working dogs. The objective of the current study was to determine the relationship between semen quality, seminal HSPs level and current health status in a cohort of working dogs. Dogs enrolled in this study were subdivided into three groups based on their training regime. Data analyses include: general physical examination, serum biochemistry, urinalysis, reproductive system ultrasonography, full semen analysis and seminal HSPs analyses. Results will be presented at the conference.

Authors: Smadar Tal, Yaron Bruchim, Tal Raz


01:40pm - 01:55pm Shaffer, Lisa - Chief Executive Officer and Laboratory Director Paw Print Genetics

Flag of United States   An International Genetic Survey of Working Canines from the United States, Israel and Poland

Genetic diseases occur in breeds used for law enforcement. As important team members, dogs are expected to operate at peak performance for several years and are significant investments for both the initial purchase and extensive, specialized training. Previous studies have not focused on causes for retirement or euthanasia as genetic (inherited) versus acquired (environmental). We performed direct, mutational analysis for breed-specific conditions on samples from 304 dogs including 267 law enforcement (122 US, 87 Israeli, 58 Polish) and 37 search and rescue dogs.  Our genetic screen identified 29% (n=89) to be carriers of a genetic mutation and 6% (n=19) to be at-risk for a debilitating inherited conditions that will eventually impair the dog’s ability to work. At-risk dogs included Labradors (n=5) four with exercise-induced collapse, and blood hounds (n=2) and GSDs (n=12) with degenerative myelopathy. These conditions are preventable and avoidable with genetic screening prior to breeding, buying and training.

Authors: LG Shaffer, CJ Ramirez, P Phelps, M Aviram, GK Bar-Gal, BC Ballif


01:55pm - 02:25pm Evans, Katy - Postgraduate Fellow in Quantitative Genetics University of Nottingham

Flag of United Kingdom   Implementation of EBVs for health and behavioural traits at Guide Dogs UK

This presentation will describe a 6-year project undertaken with Guide Dogs UK to investigate the potential for using quantitative genetic techniques to increase the accuracy of selection decisions.  The approach to heritability estimation of health and behavioural traits recorded by Guide Dogs, along with the challenges of working with the database of the world’s largest breeder of working dogs and using data not purposely collected for this use, will be discussed.  Pure breed and simple crossbreed models were used, and many health and behavioural traits were found to be heritable in the German Shepherd Dog, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever and Labrador/Golden Retriever crosses.  The collaborative determination of which of these traits could be considered selection priorities will be described.  Heritability and genetic correlation estimates will be presented and the implementation of estimated breeding values (EBVs) for six health traits, and an eight-trait behavioural selection index, will then be outlined.

Authors: Katy M. Evans, Thomas W. Lewis, Matthew Bottomley, Gary C.W. England, Sarah C. Blott


02:25pm - 02:45pm Dell, Colleen - University of Saskatchewan Professor & Research Chair in ONe Health & Wellness

Flag of Canada   The Impact of Service Dogs in the Lives of Veterans Who Problematically Use Substances

A 2014 report contracted by the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research in Canada concluded that despite the lack of good quality research available, there is growing evidence of the biomedical, social, and psychological benefits of psychiatric service dogs for trauma and mental health problems, including veterans with PTSD. However, completely unexplored is the relationship to addressing problematic substance use, which is a common to the culture and coping. This presentation will share the findings of a pilot study examining the impact of AUDEMUS service dogs in the lives of 9 military veterans who problematically use substances. This study helps fill a void in understanding the role of the human-animal bond for veterans with service dogs. Attention is paid to impacts in veteran physical (calmness), mental (acceptance), social (connection) and spiritual (purpose) health.

Authors: Colleen Dell, Chris Lohnes, Marc Lapointe, Cheryl Arratoon


02:45pm - 03:05pm Gravrok, Jennifer - La Trobe University PhD student

Flag of Australia   Guide Dogs for Children: Expectations of Stake Holders

People with visual impairments receive many well reported benefits from guide dogs.  However, people with vision impairments are often not considered to receive a guide dog until they are an adult, due to maturity concerns.  The purpose of the study was to collate expectations of benefits and costs children (aged 12-17) could receive from guide dogs in order to determine whether or not guide dog organizations should consider placing guide dogs with children.  During a three-day camp at Guide Dogs Victoria, pre and post interviews were conducted with children, their parents and instructors.  The aim of this presentation is to evaluate the expected benefits and challenges for children to obtain a guide dog.  We believe children with visual impairments could benefit from starting a guide dog program earlier and that they should be evaluated at a younger age to determine their ability to use a guide dog.


03:05pm - 03:25pm Coffee Break Poster Exhibition - Wildrose Prefunction Area
03:25pm - 03:45pm Ernst, Christiane - Lieutenant Colonel (Vet) Dr. Schule für Diensthundewesen der Bundeswehr

 Flag of Germany   Effects of a dog-assisted intervention for soldiers with PTSD

With the increase in deployment to countries in crisis or war, more German soldiers develop a posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and require psychotherapeutic treatment.

In the present study, 30 soldiers diagnosed with PTSD undergoing inpatient trauma-therapy participated in a dog-assisted intervention, taking place once a week for 3 hours in the morning for four weeks. Each patient interacted with a military working dog-team of the Bundeswehr School of Dog Handling, tested specifically for the suitability for this task. Interactions included walks, play, and taking care of the dog and took place under the supervision of a familiar health care professional.

Data on PTSD symptoms, current problems, and therapeutic relationship to psychotherapist were collected. Before and the day after each session current wellbeing, symptoms and the relationship to the dog-handler were assessed. The analyses show that the dog-assisted intervention holds the potential to increase the patient’s wellbeing and ability to trust other persons again.

Authors: Andrea Beetz, Ira Schöfmann, Roger Braas, Franziska von Freymann, Christiane Ernst


03:45pm - 04:05pm Sillaby, Brooke

Flag of Canada   Redefining 'Service Dog': An Owner-Trainer's Perspective

Service dogs have become an integral part of our society. Consequently, there is a need for studies that explore how Canada should proceed with the development and implementation of new policies that will ensure the proper use and integration of service dogs. Before this happens, the terminology used must be clarified. Society continues to move toward an expanded definition, creating public access challenges for persons with disabilities.

This study examined what handlers, particularly ‘owner-trainers,’ feel constitutes a ‘service dog.’ Investigations involving persons with disabilities typically takes the form of disabled individuals being studied and not directly involved. I sought to involve persons with disabilities, attempting to avoid censorship or silence. Using social media, lived experiences were able to be captured without participants being influenced by other societal forces. Using autoethnography, I shared my own experiences, as a raiser, trainer and handler, and provided a glimpse into other handlers’ lives.

04:05pm - 04:20pm Brioschi Soares, Otavio Augusto - Brazilian Army Chief of Canine Reproduction Center

Flag of Brazil   Animal welfare in a military working dogs program: initial proposal for the Brazilian Army

The latest concepts on animal welfare are spread unequally throughout the world, as among the handling practices in several types of animal breeding. Military Working Dogs (MWD) have many particularities in their routine, which certainly influence the animal welfare practices to be adopted. This study aimed to analyze handling, training and military operations practices of the Brazilian Army MWD and propose a manual of good practices on animal welfare for their use. The aspects analyzed were guided by the capacity of the practices to ensure the five freedoms of animal welfare, as well as discussion of specific points of Animal Welfare. Official documents of the Brazilian Army were analyzed and visits in loco in 3 kennels (7% of the total) for the verification of the existing practices. The practices adopted by the Army were considered adequate to guarantee freedom from hunger and thirst, as there is an organized program to acquire and to supply adequate food for the MWD; there are veterinarians responsible for nutritional prescription of these animals and adequate training on handling to guarantee daily supply. The practices on freedom from discomfort were considered partially appropriate, because despite the normative standardization of facilities and materials, some facilities have actually opportunities for space and material improvement. The practices regarding freedom from pain, injury or disease, were considered partially appropriate because despite the existence of structured practices of veterinary medicine, there are animals that have low availability of medical facilities and procedures to guarantee their health. Practices regarding the freedom to express normal behavior were considered appropriate since the animals have time and space for it, despite some controversial issues in the literature such as freedom for the expression of sexual behavior is not fully guaranteed. Practices as freedom from fear and distress were considered partially appropriate, as there is a lack of normative standardization for the training of dog handlers, which could lead to professionals without the minimum knowledge and consequential poor practices in animal welfare. A manual of good practices for animal welfare of military working dogs was produced and proposed, with the aim to be a tool to improve animal welfare in the practices discussed above. A validation for the manual is needed for further improvement of animal welfare in the Brazilian Army MWD. It is also suggested the measurement of animal welfare indicators and its correlation with performance as an auxiliary method to improve animal welfare in the MWD.

Authors: Otávio Augusto B. Soares, Felipe B. Soares, Nívea de M. G. Vieira


04:20pm - 04:50pm Goldblatt, Allen - Diagnose

Flag of Israel   Some Variables influencing REST (Remote Explosives Training)

REST is a generic term referring to the collection of a sample of dust and/or vapor at one location and analyzing the sample at a different location. It is currently used for the inspection of cargo containers, cargo pallets, and vehicles for explosives. It's use has expanded and is now also used for the analysis of breath, urine, and saliva samples for the presence of diseases. Although the REST system works and the targets are often detected, it has evolved more by trial and error than by a systematic study of the variables that can influence the probability of detection. In this talk I will examine REST as a system, starting from sample collection, storage and transportation, and finally analysis of the samples. I will attempt to show that an understanding of the science behind REST should result in improved performance, resulting in a greater percentage of hits and fewer misses.


04:50pm - 05:20pm Schoon, Adee - Researcher KNGF Geleidehond

Flag of Netherlands   Detecting colon cancer using dogs – results of a Dutch pilot study

The use of dogs in the detection of cancer is booming. Many dedicated dog trainers have begun, helped by doctors that provide them with samples. Unfortunately, samples are usually from a very limited number of patients and (matching?) controls, and testing is not always as rigorous as it should be.

In this study training and testing has been integrated to optimally use a limited number of samples. 5 dogs have been trained at the Dutch guide dog society, using stool samples in a carousel setup. By routinely testing samples from new patients and controls before including them in the training odour set, valuable information on generalization and the development of odour concepts has been gathered. Using such a strategy provides vital information on conditions that need to be met for the successful use of dogs as a diagnostic tool.

Authors: A. Schoon, D. de Jonge, P. Hilverink


Time Speaker Lecture
Delegates are free to explore and discover the beauty of the townsite of Banff and surrounding area
09:00am - 11:30am Dr. Eldin Leighton and Jane Russenberger

This “Hands-On With IWDR” Workshop is intended to introduce participants to the International Working Dog Registry (IWDR) which is an on-line database available for working dog organizations to store their dog's health, performance and pedigree data. Participants will have an opportunity to use their own laptop or tablet to connect to the database and learn what IWDR does and how to use it.

Wildrose Salon "C"

06:00pm - 09:00pm Gala Dinner

Gala Dinner Presentation - Dr. Arleigh Reynolds

"A brief history of the Alaskan Sled Dog: Superheroes Without Capes."

This presentation will describe the 1925 race for mercy, where a relay of dog teams saved the town of Nome from a diphtheria epidemic. It will also explain their astonishing physiology, and how they are used today to help troubled youth in rural villages find alternatives to substance abuse, depression and suicide.


Wildrose Prefunction Space - Wildrose Salons

Time Speaker Lecture
07:00am - 09:00am Breakfast Wildrose Prefunction Space - Hawthorne "A" & "B"
08:00am - 08:40am Bradley Gillespie

Flag of Canada   Brad will present on how the canine handler-scientist interface can truly help impact operational outcomes. In far too many cases there is a large divergence between scientific knowledge and the end state operational user. Brad will  provide strategies, based upon operational experience and training, on how the interface between science and the end state leash holder may be improved. Brad will template these considerations over a recent scientific review born out of operational necessity.

08:40am - 09:10am Andrews, Shane US Army Veterinary Corps

Flag of United States   Mesenteric Volvulus in US Military Working Dogs

Mesenteric volvulus (MV) is a rare, often fatal disorder involving intestinal rotation around the root of the mesentery. The etiology is unknown however certain associations have been hypothesized. Prognosis is grave with high mortality rates. A consensus of many studies is that German Shepherd Dogs (GSD) are at increased risk for MV compared to other breeds. The GSD is a common breed utilized as working dogs around the world. There is raised concern about an apparent recent increase in the number of MV in US Military Working Dogs (MWD).  A retrospective case control study of 54 MWD affected with MV was performed from 1990-2014.  Forty-six risk factors were analyzed with six found to be associated with MV. The results of this study provide invaluable information to the care and monitoring of working dogs particularly the GSD.  

Authors: Shane J Andrews, Todd M Thomas


09:10am - 09:30am Robbins, Patrick - Research Coordinator University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Working Dog Center

Flag of United States   Predictors of stamina in dogs exercising in high ambient temperatures

This IACUC approved study evaluated the physiological and hematological components that contribute to stamina (exercise duration and intensity) following a set of exercises. At the end of the exercise period, heart rate, core temperature and blood sample for lactate (Lactate Scout) and venous blood gas (ISTAT) were collected. The components used to determine stamina in this study were total activity, post-exercise core body temperature, and change in pre- and post-exercise core body temperature. Total activity, as measured by omni-directional accelerometer device, could be predicted from a linear combination of the independent variables: dog breed (p=0.008), warm-up total activity (p=0.008), cool-down total activity (p<0.001), outdoor temperature (p=0.005), exercise-induced change in base excess in the extracellular fluid (BEecf) (P=0.044), and exercise-induced change in total carbon dioxide (TCO2) (p=0.005). This study suggests the influence of temperature and humidity are less important components of stamina than the metabolic parameters associated with exertion

Authors: Patrick Robbins, Brian Zanghi, Meghan Ramos, Cindy M. Otto

09:30am - 09:50am Waggoner, Paul - Canine Performance Sciences (CPS), Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine (AUCVM) Co-Director

Flag of United States   Odor Memory of Detection Dogs: Implications for Training and Employment

Understanding the parameters of the remembering of odors that detector dogs have been trained to detect will allow for enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of initial and maintenance training. In previous work (Porritt et al., 2015) we demonstrated that deficits in detection performance of dogs conducting repetitive searches of the same area without exposure to trained targets in that area were not due to the forgetting of odors. Rather, the decrease in performance was shown to be due to a decrease in search vigilance and that vigilance for detecting targets that were never present in the area could be maintained by the intermittent presence of 1 surrogate target in the area to which the dogs had the opportunity to respond. This presentation will discuss this prior work and our current extension of that work examining memory over longer time horizons and when memory is challenged by training to detect many odors.

Authors: Paul Waggoner, Craig Angle, Fay Porritt, Joong Kim


09:50am - 10:10am Laurel Neme

Flag of United States   While law enforcement has long-embraced detection dogs to find narcotics, bombs and even people, the ability of these canine heroes and their human pack for wildlife conservation is lesser known. This presentation reviews the use of dogs in three areas: (1) ecological monitoring—using dogs to develop population and habitat data for rare species, including identifying where species live, how many there are, and what they need; (2) detection of wildlife products—from their work at ports and airports finding illicit shipments of wildlife products like elephant ivory or pangolin scales among thousands of containers to vehicle and village searches, dogs are on the frontlines to stop illegal wildlife trafficking; and (3) anti-poaching—dogs work on the frontlines with game rangers to find poachers and confiscate weapons, and they are having a big impact keeping both rangers and wildlife safer.


10:10am - 10:30am Coffee Break Poster Exhibition - Wildrose Prefunction Area
10:30am - 11:00am Otto, Cynthia - Executive Director Penn Vet Working Dog Center University of Pennsylvania

Flag of United States   Canine Standards and Guidelines - What does it mean for you?

This presentation will provide an update on the process of standard development and the role that NIST has taken in moving the SWGDOG guidelines to the next level.


11:00am - 11:20am Overall, Karen PhD, - Senior Research Scientist University of Pennsylvania

Flag of United States   What do detection dogs know and how do we know they know it? 

Detection dogs do their jobs in a double-blind world, where neither the evaluator (the dog) nor the handler knows whether the substance of interest is present or its identity.  For dogs to be considered reliable, double-blind testing must occur as part of the end-stage and ongoing evaluation process.  This testing is the only way accurate to determine false positive and false negative rates.  These rates determine the predictive value (external validity) of the positive test, the predictive value (external validity) of the negative test, and likelihood ratios that will tell us whether the dog is reliable and how sensitive or specific the evaluation process is.  Sensitive tests detect very low levels of the target odor, so sensitivity is a measure of what you could miss. When dogs are tested there are usually very few target odors compared with blanks so a dog could do extremely well with respect to sensitivity if he never finds anything.  For this reason, sophisticated assessment is needed. Calculation of sensitivity, specificity and likelihood ratios can be used to improve a program and justify investment in it.  Such an approach is scientifically robust, but not commonly used for detection dogs. Using a model that set a priori constraints for false positive and false negative error rates, we show that dogs trained and tested on a large array system can achieve unambiguous, high and repeatable levels of reliability that are statistically robust.

Authors: Karen L. Overall, Rolf von Krogh, Ann Brinck, Arthur E. Dunham


11:20am - 11:40am Guest, Claire - CEO: Medical Detection Dogs

Flag of United Kingdom   Evidence-based methods to optimise medical detection potential

Medical Detection Dogs is the UK’s pioneer charity training and researching medical detection and alert dogs. As the usage of dogs in medical roles increases, it is vital that we use robust evidence-based methods to monitor and optimise performance. In this talk, we describe a programme of research examining a variety of systems for training and quantifying ability. We discuss the value of an 8-stand carousel, a 4-stand linear array and a binary “yes-no” paradigm for cancer detection dogs. We describe a novel pressure plate device which shows great promise in discerning the relative certainty of a dog’s response when encountering an odour. In addition, we have investigated the spontaneous sniffing behaviour of trained dogs when presented with target and non-target samples. The pattern of sniffing shows significant differences; hence by monitoring sniffing behaviour we can potentially improve our understanding and recognition of canine alerting behaviour.

11:40am - 12:00pm Shellman, Vanquilla - Florida International University Graduate Researcher

Flag of United States   The Development and Understanding of Efficient Mimic Devices for Calibrating and Training Detection Canines for Forensic, Environmental, and Medical Use

The superiority of canines’ olfaction capabilities makes them ideal as a substance detection tool and has led to their application in various forensic, environmental, and medical disciplines. Currently, research focuses on augmenting the efficacy of detection canines by providing dependable mimic training aids. The Universal Detection Calibrant (UDC) is one such tool developed to assist during the early training stages of detection. It introduces a universal compound to the canine through controlled permeation rates. A Controlled Odor Mimic Permeation System (COMPS) is used during initial imprinting and maintenance training for consistent volatile organic compound (VOC) release of the desired target odor. Together, UDCs and COMPS lead to consistent and reliably trained canines across detection disciplines. The presenters will discuss in depth the research development and deployment of UDCs and COMPS and establish how they can be used in tandem to strengthen the accuracy and reliability of canines across various fields.

Authors: Vanquilla Shellman, Alison G. Simon, Alice Boone, Kenneth G. Furton

12:00pm - 12:15pm Simon, Alison - FIU; Graduate Researcher

Flag of United States   Chemical and Canine Analysis as Complimentary Techniques for the Identification of Active Odors in an Invasive Agricultural Pest

Canine training aids for environmental detection are limited by several factors, including a lack of available mimic training aids, methods of acquiring species, and variation of volatiles due to the biological nature of the target. For these environmental searches, it is crucial that a safe, long lasting, reproducible aid be created for use by these canines. To address the lack of availability of these aids, a novel column vent method was designed using gas chromatography to separate fractions of an odor that can be collected, stored, and presented to canines for training in the field. This new method of aid creation was tested using the invasive and pathogenic fungus Raffaelea lauricola, which showed that canines could successfully select the fractions containing active odorants. In the future, this can be applied to many other environmental, forensic, and medical fields that require rapid detection but lack safe and reliable training aid mimics.

Authors: Alison G. Simon, DeEtta Mills, Kenneth G. Furton


12:15pm - 12:30pm Martin, Victoria - Canine Research Scientist DSTL (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

Flag of United Kingdom   Rapid Scent Imprinting for Detection Dogs

For detection dogs to be effective they need to learn and remember odours when deployed. It would be advantageous to determine the most efficient method of training dogs to discriminate a new odour.  There was previously no scientifically validated evidence to demonstrate how long it takes dogs to reliably learn an odour, or how long they’re able to remember that odour after limited training. The aim of this work was to understand the minimum training required for dogs to learn an odour, and understand how training time affects dogs’ ability to remember odours up to 1 month later.

This preliminary study has shown that dogs can learn and remember an odour for up to 1 month following as little as 20 minutes of training (13 rewards) on that target odour. This has important implications for rapidly training dogs on new substances in response to new operational requirements.

Authors: V Martin, S Muckelt, L Burton, B Hutchings


12:30pm - 01:30pm LUNCH Wildrose Prefunction Space - Hawthorne "A" & "B"
01:30pm - 02:00pm Overall, Karen PhD, - Senior Research Scientist University of Pennsylvania

Flag of United States   Problem solving behaviors in dogs: what pet dogs can teach working dogs

The demand for competent working dogs has never been greater, but what behavioral characteristics make for a superior working dog? We compare outcomes for a problem solving test (the Canine Intelligence Test Protocol/CITP) for 128 US government contractor dogs and >100 pet dogs. Research indicates that dogs have brain development and complexity similar to humans. The CITP consists of 13 canine-centric problem solving tests, based on cognitive domains tested in humans, adapted for dogs. Tests on working dogs revealed no breed superiority, but exposed a profound effect for training environment: one vendor’s dogs were less successful at all aspects of the CITP. We compare performance between the pet and working dogs with respect to outcomes and problem solving style. Data from pet dogs emphasize the crucial roles played by early environment, experience and learning. Anxiety, reactivity and problematic early rearing handicap problem solving abilities in dogs, as in humans.

Authors: Karen L. Overall, Arthur E. Dunham


02:00pm - 02:20pm Wilsson, Erik - Program manager Swedish Armed Forces

Flag of Sweden   Complementary Training Method for Mine Detection Dogs

One of the major problems when training detection dogs is that the composition of the smell presented for the dog is different than the composition of the substrate. I.e. technical TNT (three nitro toluene) contains 99% pure TNT. The remaining approximately 1% represents by products (depending on the production process), mostly DNT (di nitro toluene). Those contaminates are far more volatile than TNT. We have shown that the gas phase above TNT explosives - what can be registered as the smell for the dog - contains only 1% pure TNT and 99% of these by products. This means that the actual smell presented for the dog during training is rather DNT and other by products than the TNT. The mix of these by products may then vary; due to quality of the TNT, storage time, temperature, humidity etc. This would be less of a problem if the dog would focus solely on the smell from the pure TNT.Another problem related to training dogs on explosives are the practical issues with handling, storing and hiding explosives during training.We have developed a technique were pure TNT in water solution is used for training. The water solution is put on the ground using a syringe. The TNT water, releases the TNT into the ground, where it starts to degrade, mimicking the release from a local buried landmine. The fast and easy way to prepare a training area also facilitates the calibration of the MDD when deployed in another country. In essence, the method makes it possible to make a highly controlled vapour image for MDD training without handling explosives.

Authors: Rose-Marie Karlsson, Mona Brantlind, Erik Holmgren


02:20pm - 02:40pm Bartels, Angela - Oberstabsveterinär: Major (Vet)

Flag of Germany   Learning Behavior and Search Optimization

How can knowledge about learning be used effectively to optimize search dogs’ work? For scientific research and – more importantly – in real life military operations we expect our dogs to deliver 100 % success rates. Yet dogs are living beings, and they can´t help making mistakes. How can we support our dogs to come as close to 100 % as possible?


02:40pm - 03:00pm Schalke, Esther - Lupologic GmbH Veterinarian

Flag of Germany   The release - always a challenge ?

In protection work dogs have to keep hold of a suspect by biting him. To keep the injury as small as possible, the dog handler needs to be able to stop the bite at any time. But this often leads to problems.
Possible reasons are:
1. Dogs associate the command with disappointment and therefore with negative punishment.
2. Concerning the release most trainers train a certain procedure. But people react differently to being bitten by a dog.
3. Dogs are trained that movement is an important trigger to bite. Most suspects move themselves to get away due to pain. To solve this problem positive punishment is often used, for example choking dogs out of suspects. This can lead to serious problems. A research showed that strangling dogs can cause serious brain damage. In addition dogs can associate the context with fear. This can lead to either flight behavior or redirected aggression.
This presentation focuses on a structured training approach and introduces a training aid that has proven it's value. In a recent study we could proof that the aid achieves both animal welfare and efficiency. First results will be introduced.

Authors: Dr. Esther Schalke, Hans Ebbers


03:00pm - 03:40pm Avital, Avraham - Prof. Behavioral Neuroscience lab, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine; Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Flag of Israel   Developing behavioral standards for objective examination of working dogs along the developmental trajectory

Training working dogs for civil or security purposes is based on the evaluation and certification of dog trainers a method that brings a large variability to the assessment of working dogs performance in each phase of sorting, training and qualification throughout their time of service.

Current puppies or adult dogs sorting procedures relies on: genetic background (breed), hereditary background (origin), subjective scaling of the trainer ("better" vs. "worst" dog) and secondary sorting based on the "experience" of the trainer in determining which task is more suitable for the dog.

Our aims are to improve the ability to select and sort each dog from an early age and to establish systematic behavioral profile of Activity, Anxiety and Attention behaviors that are important to a wide range of tasks.

Methods: We used a translational research approach, in which existing behavioral paradigms for rodents were modified and translated into tools for behavioral assessment of dogs. We sampled 50 working dogs that were videotaped while tested. A post-recording analysis was made by a computerized algorithm which was developed in our laboratory. The behavioral standards were implemented along several axes: age, working conditions (day vs. night) and presence of an auditory stressor.

Results:  Data analysis shows that the behavioral parameters for assessing the dog's behavior are stable and follow an age-dependent dynamics. Moreover, there are distinct behavioral characteristics during day versus night conditions. Finally, the behavioral profile at juvenile (training phase) were positively correlated with their performance at adulthood (operational service).

Conclusions: These current findings establish a group of stable behavioral measurements for assessing working dogs performance, which should be implemented during puppies initial sorting and follow up comparing the adult dogs performance during service time. These measurements are designated for a common-ground base between trainers and operational personnel which uses the working dogs.

Authors: Avraham Avital, Salman Zubedat, Inon Maoz, Yuval Eshed, Itay Varkovitzky and Dan Grinstein

03:40pm - 04:00pm Coffe Break Poster Exhibiton - Wildrose Prefunction Area
04:00pm - 04:25pm DeGreeff, Lauryn - Research chemist U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Flag of United States   The Chemistry of Odor and Odor Dection

In this presentation, odor will be described on a molecular level as it relates to the evolution of odor plumes and target detection. This will include the basics of odor development from an odor source into an odor plume.  Additionally, this presentation will discuss work performed to expand our understanding of the chemistry of odor profiles for canine detection.  Empirical evidence has suggested that the targets of interest may be detected by a canine as combination of volatile compounds associated with and unique to that target, rather than through direct detection of the target odor itself.  Elucidating these target odorants is important in improving canine training, and thus the efficiency and accuracy of working canines. This includes determination of target odorants for a variety of targets such as human scent (living and deceased) as well as explosive materials.

Authors: Lauryn E. DeGreeff, Kimberly Peranich


04:25pm - 04:40pm Shellman, Vanquilla - Florida International University Graduate Researcher

Flag of United States   Determination of the Active Odorant for Canine Detection of Synthetic Cathinones for the Development of a Controlled Mimic Perme

The widespread popularity of synthetic cathinones is largely due to it availability to consumers. Although regulations have been placed to halt incoming traffic of these drugs; due to lack of ground efforts there still remains a large percent available throughout many neighborhoods. Canine field detection is routinely used to stop the increasing distribution influx of drugs into the United States that go undetected by standard procedures currently employed. Currently there are a variety of detection teams which can detect a multitude of drugs including heroin, cocaine, MDMA, and methamphetamine. With the development of Controlled Mimic Permeation System (COMPS) training aids mimicking the odor of any illicit material offers a safe, efficient, controlled alternative to training any canine for detection. This study will highlight the canine trials and studies conducted to establish the active odorant for development of a Synthetic Cathinone COMPS.

Authors: Vanquilla Shellman, Kenneth G. Furton


04:40pm - 05:00pm McPeck, Sean - Guardian Point; Veterinarian

Flag of United States   Advanced Canine Athletic Program

Military and law enforcement canines are expected to perform a unique set of athletic activities, often under extreme conditions. Like any athletic activity, proper conditioning is expected to improve performance and reduce injury, but no systematic conditioning program exists to prepare these dogs for their athletic activities. The Advanced Canine Athletic Program (ACAP), was designed involving Subject Matter Experts from different areas of canine conditioning, behavior, research, and competitive canine athletics. The purpose of the ACAP was to provide a conditioning program and reference for the military and law enforcement dog handlers. The initial questions were; would a printed reference manual increase conditioning compliance by dog handlers? Would athletic related orthopedic and soft tissue injuries decrease with a progressive conditioning schedule? Would an appreciable impact in apprehension capabilities and detection be observed? Following 2 years of adherence to the ACAP by the dog handlers of the 75th Ranger Regiment (United States of America Armed Forces), there was a complete absence of retirement related to soft tissue or orthopedic related injuries. Though compliance to any schedule is highly dictated by the individual and their leadership, there was a substantial increase in canine conditioning activities.

Author: Sean P. McPeck


05:00pm - 05:20pm Dr. Miguel Stevens

Flag of Belgium   Closing of the 10th International Working Dog Conference by the President of the IWDBA