Operant conditioning: effectiveness and welfare implications

Australia has one of the highest dog ownership rates in the world, with many dog owners reporting one or more problem behaviours in their dogs.  Although classical conditioning is utilised in dog training, trainers primarily use operant conditioning.  Operant conditioning is the acqui

Working dog interactions with livestock

Working farm dogs have made a profound contribution to the farming of livestock in Australia since the 1800s. While scientific research into the sheep and cattle they work has been extensive, little is known about what makes a successful dog. This project will focus on identifying val

Optimism in dogs

Optimism in humans refers to a tendency to expect more positive outcomes in life than negative. Animals have been shown to possess similar biases depending on whether they may be feeling “happy” or “unhappy”. Like humans, animals that are in a positive emotional state expect more posi

Management practices, welfare and performance

Human attitudes and kennel facility management practices are intimately linked to working dog welfare and performance. This research is working toward better understanding of the links between what people believe, how this relates to how dogs are cared for in kennel facilities, and ho

Working farm dog performance and longevity

Increasing the success rate of working dogs on Australian farms has the potential to improve efficiency for farmers and the welfare of their dogs. A survey of over 800 Australian stock dog owners is currently under analysis. Data have been gathered about 4,000+ of their dogs, past and

Characterising ‘Dogmanship’

Despite a wealth of free information on dog behaviour and training, there is little information regarding the behaviour and personalities of those who train these dogs. The information seems to assume that every dog owner has the same skills and attributes as one another. This overloo