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  • 1.
    Foyer, Pernilla
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Military Studies, Military-Technology Division. Linköpings universitet, Biologi.
    Svedberg, Anna-Maria
    Linköpings universitet, Biologi.
    Nilsson, Emma
    Linköpings universitet, Biologi.
    Wilsson, Erik
    Swedish Armed Forces Dog Training Unit, Märsta, Sweden.
    Olsen Faresjö, Åshild
    Linköpings universitet, Avdelningen för samhällsmedicin.
    Jensen, Per
    Linköpings universitet, Biologi.
    Behavior and cortisol responses of dogs evaluated in a standardized temperament test for military working dogs2016In: Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, ISSN 1558-7878, E-ISSN 1878-7517, Vol. 11, p. 7-12Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Military and police working dogs are often exposed to stressful or threatening events, and an improper response, e.g., fear, may implicate both reduced working efficiency and welfare. Therefore, identifying individuals that display a favorable response to potentially threatening situations is of great interest. In the present study, we investigated behavior responses of 85 prospective military working dogs in 4 subtests in a standardized temperament test used to select working dogs for the Swedish Armed Forces. Our goal was to evaluate behavioral responses in specific subtests and cortisol responses of candidate dogs. After dogs were rated as approved or nonapproved based on the test leader’s assessment of the full test result, we independently analyzed video recordings of 4 subtests. In addition, for 37 dogs, we analyzed pretest and posttest salivary cortisol levels. Dogs which were approved by the test leader for further training scored higher in the video recordings on emotionality and, in particular, fear-related behavior during a subset of the test and had higher levels of cortisol both before and after the test, than nonapproved dogs. Although this may actually reflect the desired traits, it could also indicate a bias in the selection procedure, which may pose limitations on the attempts to recruit the most suitable working dogs.

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