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Effect of impulsivity and core effect on training performance in dual purpose military working dogs – Presented by Astrid Concha

Military working dogs (MWDs) are rigorously selected and highly trained to be able to perform diverse roles in the field, but a significant number of the MWDs fail to achieve their training goals on time or to make full operational status, mainly for behavioral reasons.

Impulsive behaviors and changes in emotional states occur in response to stimuli or situations that potentially are, rewarding or punishing in the environment. There is some evidence, in humans and dogs, that many cognitive processes such as, attention, working memory and learning responses are modulated by impulsivity and core effect. However, very little is known about how individual’s differences in impulsivity, as well as rewards (e.g. positive distractions – temptations), and aversives (e.g. negative distraction – anxieties) may influence performance in MWDs.

The aim of this study was to assess whether there would be differences in terms of scores on theDog Impulsivity Assessment Scale (i.e. impulsivity, aggression and responsiveness); and on the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (i.e. energy, persistence and excitement; and negative activation) on the detection and patrol performance in U.S. Department of Defense Military Working Dogs.

Results showed a significant association between psychometrical tests scores and performance factors such as reward release, detection sensitivity and specificity, but also scores predict the number of days in training to reach detection and patrol qualification.

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