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It started when two canine scientists decide to become pen pals in an era of digital media...


3 November 2013

Hours Away! Steve White and Nicola Rooney Inaugural Working Dog Alliance Conference


Hi Mia,
This is clearly not an announcement for you. Instead, it is an internet broadcast that the first Working Dog Alliance Australia Conference is almost here, Nov. 4-5 in Sydney!

You and many others have put months into this initiative, and tomorrow (or your today!) people involved in every aspect of working dogs will come together to share ideas, network and learn! Attendees to include working dog breeders, trainers, handlers, veterinarians, facility managers, research scientists, advocacy groups and government representatives.

I want to make sure everyone knows what’s happening, and how they can follow along!

Conference dates: November 4-5, 2013 Australia time ;)

Conference Twitter Hashtag#workdogs13  

Twitter hashtags are awesome because anyone can follow along with the conference, even if you aren’t on twitter! Hear that, mom? ;) 

Conference Program: Click here  

What Should People Expect at the Conference? 
If I didn’t have to go watch the New York City Marathon I would profile each of the excellent conference speakers, but I have to go watch people mash their feet up, I mean, do an awesome job running so many miles!!  

Here's a taste of what people can expect from the keynote speakers at the inaugural Working Dog Alliance Australia Conference

Welfare of working dogs and its impact on performance: research so far
Nicola Rooney, University of Bristol, UK

Rooney has a PhD in dog behavior (I’ve read her work on play behavior many times) and for the past 14 years she has headed a team studying working dogs (see her bio for specific areas they’ve covered). So many factors can affect working dog performance, and welfare -- defined and measured -- can play a huge part. 

(Source: Rooney)
Border Patrol Dogs Need to Sniff: Here in the States, the Penn Vet Working Dog Center also prioritizes welfare in terms of performance. They list dehydration as a common hazard for working dogs. A recent (and ongoing) study with the Sarita Texas checkpoint Border Patrol agents examines the effect of different hydration strategies on dogs working in hot and humid conditions. The Sarita checkpoint averages 95°F in July with around 84% humidity. Eep!

They are examining different hydration strategies like water delivered orally, an electrolyte solution delivered orally and a subcutaneous electrolyte solution. No data released yet on which fluid best impacted parameters like core body temperature, search behavior and activity and looking forward to more! Maybe this will come up at the conference? Penn Vet Study details here.


Your dog ain’t so special
Steve White, ProActive K9 & Seattle Police Canine Unit USA

White and McConnell Seminar
Excellent title. Steve White covers a lot of ground, from working dogs to companion dogs (he recently gave a seminar with Patricia McConnell in Chicago). Steve is a Military Police Working Dog Handler, has presided over the Seattle Police Canine Unit, and is a consultant for K9 academies around the world. His hands-on work is a big deal. 

Here is Steve in action, combining clicker training and scent work and discussing the 8 rules of Punishment.

Enjoy the conference everyone!

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