The Australian Working Dog Survey Report 2009

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Short Description:
Working dogs are dogs who have jobs in the private sector (e.g. herding), government (e.g. bomb sniffing, drug detecting), in sport (e.g. racing, hunting), and for assistance (e.g. animal assisted therapy, seeing eye dogs). This survey addresses the sourcing, breeding, assessment, training, housing and veterinary care of working dogs in Australia.

Executive Summary:

"The inaugural Australian Working Dog Survey was conducted between June and October 2009. Information was collected about the sourcing, breeding, assessment, training, housing and veterinary care of 4195 Australian working dogs from private industry, government, assistance and sporting dog sectors."

"Key Findings:"
  • "Correction and electric shock collars are most commonly used by working dog trainers who have not received any formal certified education in dog training. "
  • "External dog breeders are the most common source of working dogs. This random approach to the recruitment of working dogs presents the risk of ‘behavioural wastage’ – reduced success rates in training dogs to perform specific tasks. This finding raises concerns in terms of animal welfare and also in relation to industry productivity and efficiency."
  • "Based on Australian Companion Animal Council estimates of the number of working dogs in Australia, a high proportion of Survey responses were received from all but the private industry sector and in particular, farm dogs. The absence of peak industry bodies in this sector restricts communication with working dog stakeholders."
  • "Development of a national education and accreditation program for working dog trainers."
  • "Development of task-specific working dog breeding programs to reduce behavioural wastage"
  • "Consultation with the veterinary profession to develop strategies for facilitating information-flow to working dog trainers nationally."
  • " Recognition of the need for an umbrella research body to coordinate research and development; manage and fund priority research and facilitate translation of results into practical outcomes for industry development."

Please note the below link will begin an automatic download of a PDF version of the report.

Spot Check Number: 2003
Sponsor: Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Researcher/Author: Nick Branson, Mia Cobb & Paul McGreevy
Animal Type: Dogs
Research Method: Online Survey
Geographic Region: International
Number of Participants: 308 people, 4,195 working dogs
Population Descriptors: Australia, Working dogs
Year Conducted: 2009
File Attachments: You must be logged in to access attachments (see login and registration links above)


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