The Animal Welfare Science of Working Dogs: Current Perspectives on Recent Advances and Future Directions
Working dogs are prevalent throughout our societies, assisting people in diverse contexts, from explosives detection and livestock herding, to therapy partners. Our scientific exploration and understanding of animal welfare have grown dramatically over the last decade. As community attitudes toward the use of animals continue to change, applying this new knowledge of welfare to improve the everyday lives of working dogs will underpin the sustainability of working with dogs in these roles. The aim of this report was to consider the scientific studies of working dogs from the last decade (2011-2021) in relation to modern ethics, human interaction, and the five domains of animal welfare: nutrition, environment, behavioral interaction, physical health, and mental state. Using this framework, we were able to analyze the concept and contribution of working dog welfare science. Noting some key advances across the full working dog life cycle, we identify future directions and opportunities for interdisciplinary research to optimize dog welfare. Prioritizing animal welfare in research and practice will be critical to assure the ongoing relationship between dogs and people as co-workers.
|Publication Title||Front Vet Sci|
|Author Address||Animal Welfare Science Centre, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Science, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.Penn Vet Working Dog Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, United States.College of Education and Integrative Studies, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA, United States.|
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