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Training dogs on a scent platform for oestrus detection in cows

By C. Fischer-Tenhagen, L. Wetterholm, B. A. Tenhagen, W. Heuwieser

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Dogs can be trained for various odour detection tasks, and have been used to search for explosives, drugs or cancer biomarkers. However, there are only a few studies that have attempted to train dogs for oestrus detection using vaginal fluid, milk or urine of cows. In this study, seven dogs were trained utilizing special training equipment to discriminate oestrus against dioestrus scent in vaginal fluid, urine and milk of dairy cows. We set out (1) to determine the length of the learning phase of dogs using vaginal discharge to identify cows in oestrus, (2) to prove that dogs can generalize oestrus specific odour of cows and are not limited to an individual cow scent in oestrus, and (3) to study if dogs can identify oestrus specific odour in urine and milk, after they have been trained with vaginal fluid. Our results demonstrate that dogs can be trained for oestrus detection with vaginal swabs or urine of cows using special laboratory equipment within 52 positive reinforced contacts to the target scent. The dogs were correctly identifying the oestrus sample with a maximum accuracy of 80.3

Date 2011
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 131
Issue 1/2
Pages 63-70
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.01.006
Language English
Author Address Clinic for Animal Reproduction, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universitat Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal diseases
  3. Animal reproduction
  4. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  5. Cancer
  6. Carnivores
  7. Cattle
  8. Dairy animals
  9. Dogs
  10. Drugs
  11. Education
  12. Estrous cycle
  13. Explosives
  14. Female genitalia
  15. Mammals
  16. Medication
  17. Milk and dairy products
  18. peer-reviewed
  19. Pets and companion animals
  20. pharmaceuticals
  21. Research
  22. Ruminants
  23. Studies
  24. training
  25. urine
  26. vagina
  1. peer-reviewed