Assistance dogs are trained to help people with various physical and mental handicaps and are selected using a test comprising several behavioral components. Anecdotal reports have shown that only about 50% of the dogs selected successfully complete training and become assistance dogs. Traditionally training centers had used puppies, but recently some trainers have begun to use dogs from animal shelters and pounds. This study randomly chose 6 male and 3 female adult dogs of appropriate breed types, from a shelter environment and conducted an 11-item selection test on each. The dogs were then trained in both basic obedience and a retrieval task. No correlation between an animals' overall performance on the selection test and its ability to complete the retrieval task was found. Fear/submission behaviour traits, however, were predictable from the selection phase. It is suggested that further studies are needed to refine selection tests for adult dogs to be used as assistant dogs.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Psychology Department, Wichita State University, Wichita, USA.|
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