IWDC 2019 Program

Program Announcement (Download Here)

Time Speaker Lecture
04:00pm-08:00pm Registration and Poster placement
05:00pm - 10:30pm Networking opportunity - hotel bar - NOTE: Hotel is "cash free" for transactions.

Time Speaker Lecture
Focal Topic: Testing and assessing dogs: choosing a task - specific dog
07:00am - 08:45am Registration
08:45am - 09:00am Welcome
09:00am - 10:00am Åke Hedhammar DVM, PhD
Kenth Svartberg, PhD

Flag of Sweden Testing dogs for behaviour in Sweden: Canine temperament - assessment and heritability

It all started by the need to predict outcome a working dog purchased or bred to be trained for military service. Military personnel Axel Paulson and Hilmer Johansson developed a testing scheme to be applied on German Shepherds they were intending to train for military service. The test was secondarily also used for selection of breeding stock in their breeding program. It was later also used for other purposes (e.g police dogs and guide dogs for the blind) and other breeds (e.g., Labrador retrievers). That test is now the basis for current testing (L-tests) of dogs suitable for military service, police and guide dogs.
For further development of the test, ethologists were involved. Work by Kent Svartberg and Erik Wilson are good examples of the scientific validation and analyses performed. The original test was also adopted for testing of first privately owned German shepherds, later also working dogs of other breeds and eventually any breed (Dog Mentality Assessment, DMA) For the later purpose it has recently been further revised to serve a wider range of behaviours and breeds (BPH)
For privately owned dogs it has mostly been seen as a tool for selection of breeding stock. Extensive studies on the heritability have proven its value especially when applied with EBV as presented by Erling Strandberg.
By access to samples from DMA-tested dogs we are now revealing the molecular genetics of behaviour traits. This is done primarily not for testing, but rather for understanding the mechanisms behind variations of behaviour traits in working dogs as well as in other dogs.

Flag of Sweden How you assess temperament

Research on dog behaviour during the last decades indicates the existence of stable traits in dogs, which has been referred to as temperament or personality traits. Knowledge of personality in dogs have relevance in several areas, from predicting behavioural problems in pet dogs to selection of suitable working dogs. Since many of the revealed traits seem to be genetically influenced, such knowledge can be of great importance in behaviourally based dog breeding. In many cases, dog personality traits seem to be detectable by the use of behavioural tests. In this talk I will share my experiences from general tests such as the Dog Mentality Assessment (DMA) and the more recently developed test Behaviour and Personality Assessment in Dogs (BPH). A number of factors decide the usefulness of data collected in behavioural tests. Aspects such as purpose, feasibility, standardization, reliability and validity are important for the quality of the test. One key point is the behavioural measurement method. Clear definitions of the measured behavior, sound scales and repeated measurements of the underlying traits are of importance. Results from analyzes of data from the DMA and BPH give us insights into some aspects of dog personality. These will be discussed more generally, and reflections will be made regarding differences and similarities of the personality in pet dogs and working dogs.

10:00am - 10:30am Erling Strandberg, PhD, SKK

Flag of Sweden Temperament and EBV

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

010:30am - 11:00am Coffee/Posters
11:00am - 11:15am Doc Loc Mai (Jimmy)

Flag of Great Britain   What helps and what hinders assistance dog/puppy raising practices?

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

11:15am - 11:30am W. Baltzer, DVM, PhD Flag of Great Britain   Working Dog Centre: Working hard for working dogs

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

11:30am - 11:45am K. Levy

Flag of United States   From Puppyhood to Adolescence: Longitudinal Cognition Study at Canine Companions for Independence

While past research has largely focused on profiling the temperament of young puppies by measuring their behavioral responses to novel or startling situations, much less is known about the early cognitive abilities of dogs. To address this deficit, Canine Companions for Independence in collaboration with the University of Arizona tested 168 dogs (97 females and 71 males from 65 litters) around 9 weeks and again around 18 months of age. Dogs participated in a cognitive battery that consisted of 16 different tasks measuring abilities such as memory, impulse control, problem-solving skills, interpretation of social cues, and discrimination of sensory information. In addition to gaining insight into the cognitive profile of young puppies, preliminary analyses identified specific traits that remained stable from puppy to adulthood. The majority of traits also exhibited significant heritability, with genetic factors accounting for more than 40% of variance on several measures. Prediction for success as an assistance dog from a younger age was also assessed.

11:45am - 12:00pm O. Soares, DVM, PhD

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

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

12:00pm - 12:15pm K. Overall, MA, VMD, PhD, DACVB

Flag of United States   Referential focus - pet & working dogs

12:15pm - 12:30pm V.D. Marinescu, PhD

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

The many dog breeds available today are the result of a careful selection for desired characteristics including behavior, making the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) a promising genomic model for identifying the genes and variants underlying behavioral traits. In Sweden, one of the standardized tests used to evaluate canine behavior is the Dog Mentality Assessment (DMA) that quantifies several aggregated personality traits (aggressiveness, chase proneness, curiosity/fearlessness, playfulness and sociability) based on a number of subtests scoring 33 behavioral variables. The DMA was originally developed to assist in the breeding of working dogs, but since its introduction in 1989, has become widely used for privately owned dogs from working and non-working breeds alike. As a result, it is possible to perform genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for a large number of dogs from different breeds for which DMA results are known and blood samples have already been obtained. In a GWAS mapping behavioral traits across a well-defined population of 442 Swedish German Shepherds, we found loci that were genome-wide significantly associated with playfulness and with individual behavioral variables. These point towards genes involved in synaptic plasticity, axonal navigation and nervous system development. We are currently extending this study to identify associations with behavioral traits in additional breeds displaying large behavioral variability such as Rottweilers, Rough Collies, Flat-Coated Retrievers and Boxers. By understanding the genetic variation associated with a particular trait in a given breed, we hope to facilitate marker assisted selection and to gain further insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying canine behavior.

12:30pm - 12:45pm

Group Q & A for all presenters

12:45pm - 02:00pm Lunch and networking
02:00pm - 03:30pm Interactive Session

Interactive Session: Temperament testing in Sweden - videos, virtual demonstration and testing, with audience participation and discussion.
Erik Wilsson PhD - Introduction
Kenth Svartberg PhD
Åke Hedhammar DVM, PhD
Erling Strandberg PhD

03:30pm - 04:00pm


04:00pm - 05:00pm Interactive Session

Interactive session: Evaluating temperament and use in estimated breeding values continued.
Erik Wilsson PhD
Kenth Svartberg PhD
Åke Hedhammar DVM, PhD
Erling Strandberg PhD

07:00pm - 10:30pm

International Working Dog Breeding Association Dinner - for all registered delegates as the registration fee includes your membership in the IWDBA.

Time Speaker Lecture
Focal topic: Olfaction and other relevant senses
08:45am - 09:00am


09:00am - 10:00am A. Dunham, PhD

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

10:00am - 10:30am A. Schoon, PhD

Flag of France   Odour generalisation – theory and practice

When training detection dogs, trainers usually only have a limited number of training aids available. At best, the training aids meet specific pre-set standards and are refreshed regularly, but many trainers, particularly private ones and those from smaller organizations, have to make do with less. And even if the training aids meet these criteria, are they sufficient to fully train detection dogs? A number of recent papers have concluded that this is not the case. Trainers have taken for granted that dogs generalize easily and spontaneously, using the ‘pizza’ analogy. They assume that once trained, dogs will be able to detect all items that smell ‘similarly’ to what they have been trained on. But tested in a proper manner, very few of these assumptions hold up. Happily there have also been studies to show that with proper training, dogs become better. Although dogs do not often generalize to other odours spontaneously, they can be taught to develop a wider odour concept to respond to. And different studies have shown different methods and ‘tricks’ to achieve this. Integrating these methods and specific checks into a training plan makes it possible to monitor the development of this process during training. And it is easy to do, once you think it through and perform systematic monitoring. This paper will describe key elements in such a plan that can be tailored to fit specific missions.

10:30am - 11:00am


11:00am - 11:15am L. De Greeff, PhD

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

Canines are sensitive and selective, non-contact vapor detectors that can easily be trained to locate novel materials; however, unlike other vapor detection instrumentation or sensors, canines do not give a readable output, thus leaving the handler to interpret canine behavior. One way to better understand canine response to odor and ultimately better the detector is to improve the understanding of factors that affect or change odor. A compilation of research will be discussed that describes odor on a molecular level as it relates to detection of a target. We will describe how odor emanates from a target object and how the dog might perceive this odor. We will then discuss the variety of factors that affect how the dog experiences the target odor that might not be regularly considered, such as target mass versus odor quantity, differences between manufacturers, changes with time and environmental conditions, and challenges related to wrapping and burial. Additionally, even with the diversity and power of the canine detector, there are minimal resources available for canine research, financial and otherwise. This leads to a dearth in the understanding of this detector, which ultimately has a negative impact on canine detection proficiency. Finally, we will discuss the current state of the field of canine scent detection relating operationally perceived knowledge gaps to currently available resources and literature.

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

11:15am - 11:30am N. Rooney, PhD

Flag of Great Britain   Measuring, and determining factors affecting performance of glycemic alert dogs

Trained dogs have been reported to alert their owners to changes in their blood glucose levels, to improve glycaemic control and consequently to improve quality of life in owners with Type I diabetes. However, owner-independent assessments of dog performance and behaviour in-situ have, until recently, been lacking. In this talk, we describe a growing programme of research objectively testing the efficacy of these dogs. We conducted studies firstly using owner-reported records, from a large number of partnerships. We then used a combination of CCTV footage and simultaneous continuous glucose monitoring to derive owner-independent measures of sensitivity and positive predictive value of dogs’ responses and to identify differences in dog behaviour when their owners’ blood transition to out-of-range levels, as compared to remaining stable. We use these objective measures to identify features of dogs, owners and partnerships corresponding to differences in dog performance, and hence to direct selection optimising future performance.

11:30am - 11:45am B. Pierce, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVP, DACVSMR

Flag of United States   Neuromotor development in puppies: implications for training and fitness.

All puppies, regardless of intended placement as future working dogs or pets, undergo rapid growth and maturation of neuromotor function in the first several months of life. In human athletics, it is well established that developing and refining neuromuscular function (aka, “functional training”) is a key component in successful performance of job or sporting activities. Neuromuscular and proprioceptive training has received increasing emphasis in exercise and conditioning protocols, producing improved outcomes while reducing rates of injuries in human athletes. Although there is a lack of similar studies and validated training protocols for canines, focused and age-appropriate functional fitness training is a key component to shaping the well-rounded working dog puppy. Exercises that target balance, proprioception and develop fine motor coordination include those incorporating narrow-based stance, perturbation techniques and reactive training. The end goal is to develop body spatial awareness in the maturing puppy and to refine the ability to make rapid, reactive physical adjustments when moving through challenging working environments.

11:45am - 12:00pm P. Waggoner, PhD

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

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

12:00pm - 12:15pm V. Ratcliffe, PhD

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

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

12:15pm - 12:30pm C. Otto, DVM, PhD, DAVCECC

Flag of United States   The opioid crisis and working dogs

The opioid epidemic has resulted in an increase in availability of potent synthetic opioids and risk of death due to overdose or inadvertent exposure. Despite concern for the health of the canine, data on how to treat dogs with opioid exposure has been limited. In a crossover design evaluating intranasal vs intramuscular naloxone reversal of fentanyl sedation, the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and impact on olfaction and first responder exposure were evaluated in 10 detection dogs. Following fentanyl sedation, the response is highly variable and ranges from excitement to complete sedation. The safety and efficacy of naloxone was independent of route of delivery, with all dogs responding within a minute. If a dog has been exposed to powdered fentanyl it is likely that the fur will be contaminated and poses a potential risk to handlers and first responders.

12:30pm - 12:45pm

Group Q & A for all presenters

12:45pm - 02:00pm

Lunch and networking

02:00pm - 03:30pm Interactive Session

Demonstration of therapy dogs - facilitated by The Swedish School for Therapy Dogs

03:30pm - 04:00pm


04:00pm - 05:00pm Interactive Session

Demonstration of alternate ways to teach behaviors used in police and detection dog training Led by: Esther Schalke DVM, PhD Hans Ebbers Polizei Hauptkommissar

05:00pm - 07:00pm Poster Session - Research presentations

Poster session – Research presentations

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

A canine thermal model for mitigation of heat strain in working dogs - click for abstract

Summary slides - click to access

Presented by C. O'Brien


Turning off dogs' brains:fear of noises affects problem-solving behaviour and locomotion in standardized cognitive tests

Summary slides - click to access

Presented by K. Overall, MA, VMD, PhD, DACVB


Effect of kennel environmental enrichment in military working dogs - click for abstract

Presented by M. Roache


The impact of animal-assisted interventions on dog welfare: A systematic literature review - click for abstract

Summary slides - click to access

Presented by C. Williams - click for biography


Effects of a progressive treadmill conditioning program for Military Working Dogs with heat injury - click for abstract

Presented by A. Henderson, DVM - click for biography


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

Summary slides - click to access

Presented by B. Kennedy


The role of reward and punishment sensitivity in the bite topography of Military Working Dogs - click for abstract

Presented by A. Concha Ramirez, DVM, Msc, PhD - click for biography


The elbow enigma – medial coronoid disease; elbow dysplasia trends and the emerging role of computed tomography - click for abstract

Summary slides - click for access

Presented by N. Cotton BVSc DipMgmt - click for biography


Training volunteer dog-owner teams to detect conservation targets - click for abstract

Summary slides - click to access

Presented by N. Rutter BPsySc - click for biography


A method for controlled odor delivery in canine olfactory testing

Presented by K. Frank


Survey of 158 police dogs in New Zealand: Functional Assessment and Canine Orthopedic Index - click for abstract

Summary Slides - click for access

Presented by W. Baltzer, DVM, PhD - click for biography


Inhibitory control and explosive detection performance in police dogs - click for abtsract

Summary slides - click for access

Presented by K. Tiira, PhD - cllick for biography


Laparoscopic ovariectomy procedure at Guide Dogs for the Blind - click for abstract

Presented by Kristin Conover, DVM - click for biography


Development of synthetic training aids for the detection of anoplophora glabripennis - click for abstract

Summary slides - click for access

Presented by R. Makarow, P. Kaul


A method for controlled odor delivery in canine olfactory testing - click for abstract

Summary slides - click to access

Presented by K. Frank - click for biography


Time Speaker Lecture
08:00am - 09:30am Breakout 1 Protection work: Lecture and demo Protection work still represents the most important and most beautiful work in the training of service dogs for most dog handlers. But it is also the work around which many myths and fairy tales still surround us. Frequently, unstructured training leads to behaviors that cause problems such as insufficient "release" or dogs that are very noisy. This in turn leads to other problems. For example, dogs show a redirected aggressive behavior when they are punished for the unwanted behavior. This behavior is often justified by the fact that the dog is so dominant or so strong in the drive. The errors in the training structure are rather rarely seen. This workshop will show how important training planning and structure is also in the protection work. The various elements of the protection work are presented. Videos show how these can be built up during training. The workshop shows how important it is to think about the different emotions and motivations. For which exercise you need which emotion, how you recognize it and which structure results from it. Led by: Esther Schalke, DVM, PhD Hans Ebbers, Polizei Hauptkommissar Swedish AF – clicker training
08:00am - 09:30am Breakout 2

Low stress/no distress approaches to cooperative husbandry and the veterinary care of working dogs (do it faster, better, safer): Lecture, video, demo, hands-on assisted by Swedish Armed Forces, Esther Schalke and Hans Ebbers Led by: Karen Overall, VMD, PhD, DACVB Maj. Marty Roache, DVM Maj. Desireé Broach, MS, DVM, DACVB

08:00am - 09:30am Breakout 3

International Working Dog Registry I (beginner) workshop - must bring a laptop to the session. Led by: Eldin Leighton, PhD Jane Russenberger

09:30am - 10:00am


10:00am - 11:30am Breakout 4

New uses for detection dogs: South African Government initiatives on wildlife conservation (Rhino Horn, Elephant Ivory, Abalone, Pangolin) Led by: Hannes Slabbert, PhD

10:00am - 11:30am Breakout 5

Nutrition and medical concerns for working dogs: Discussion of emergent issues and Q & A from audience Led by: Col. (Ret.) Kelly Mann, DVM, PhD Col. (Ret.) Bess Pierce, DVM

10:00am - 11:30am Breakout 6

International Working Dog Registry II (advanced) workshop - must bring a laptop to the session. Led by: Eldin Leighton, PhD Jane Russenberger

11:30am - 01:00pm

Lunch and Networking


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

07:00pm - 10:30pm

Gala Dinner - Semi-formal attire

Time Speaker Lecture
Focal topic: Genetics and health related topics
08:45am - 09:00am


09:00am - 10:00am E. Karlsson, PhD

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

10:00am - 10:30am Frode Lingaas, DVM, PhD

Flag of Norway   Genetic approaches to behavioral concerns in working dogs and family owned dogs

10:30am - 11:00am


11:00am - 11:15am K. Tiira, PhD

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

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

11:15am - 11:30am A. Concha Ramirez, DVM, Msc, PhD

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

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

11:30am - 11:45am A. Henderson, DVM

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

11:45am - 12:00pm Maj. D. Broach DVM, MS, DACVB

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

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

12:00pm - 12:15pm A. Bartels, DVM

Flag of Germany   Medical training of military working dogs

In medical training, animals are trained to accept medical procedures. Medical training originates come from working with wild animals at zoos and almost every medical or custodial treatment is trainable. More and more, medical training is also being used frequently in the companion animal/pets sector with very good results. Presentation of a well video-documented case in medical training of a service dog: In March 2018, when the dog handler checked the dog’s ears because of a scratch the dog attacked and severly injured him so that both hands had to be treated medically. The dog showed strong aggressive behavior in such a way that a proper medical check-up was hardly possible. Following this incident, a medical training was started in June 2018. The dog was trained for one hour at three times a week. The method of choice was positive reinforcement. In the beginning the basics were trained in a neutral room, and afterwards in the medical clinic for service dogs. Contents of training were a signal of cooperation, independent jump on the treatment table, standing on the treatment table and to tolerate a medical treatment. In October 2018, the service dog was injured shortly after the medical training. Both a forepaw and a hindpaw had to be treated by a veterinarian; in the aftermath, bandages had to be changed daily. It became obvious that the dog had profited from the medical training already: it could be treated by the veterinarian and the dog handler. Medical training is important for all service dogs, to safeguard medical care and welfare in case of injury. It should therefore be part of basic education for every service dog.

12:15pm - 12:30pm J. Donner, PhD

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

The ease and affordability of access to genomic information, and consequently the number of genetic health tests available for any given dog has changed radically over the past 10 years. Accordingly, DNA testing laboratories have restructured their services from offering one-by-one single gene tests to providing multiple disorder or trait tests at once as “combination packages“ or “comprehensive genetic health screening”. Such genetic health information represents a powerful tool when appropriately incorporated into breeding programs as a part of pre-breeding health screening. Large-scale DNA screening also provides big data and statistics on inherited disease variant prevalence within and across breeds, which can ideally guide gene testing priorities, breed health research and veterinary care in addition to specific mate selections. However, understanding of what information a modern-day genetic test provides, and what it doesn‘t provide, is crucial to ensure that its result is interpreted and applied correctly in breeding programs.

12:30pm - 12:45pm

Group Q & A for all presenters

12:45pm - 02:00pm

Lunch and networking

02:00pm - 03:30pm Interactive Session Interactive session: The problem of acquiring suitable dogs: breeding, buying, and crying - lecture plus round table and Q & A from audience Led by: Erik Wilsson, PhD Karen Overall, MA, VMD, PhD, DACVB Eldin Leighton, PhD
03:30pm - 04:00pm


04:00pm - 05:00pm Interactive Session continued

Interactive session: Acquisition of suitable dogs continued. Led by: Erik Wilsson, PhD Karen Overall, MA, VMD, PhD, DACVB Eldin Leighton, PhD

05:00pm TBA

Plenary closing lecture