A year in the life of a dog 

Many research projects in the area of working farm dogs want to determine if some action (.e.g. neutering), intervention (e.g. changing diet) or adverse health event impacts on “performance”. Unfortunately, we have no clear measures of working farm dog “performance”. The aim of the study is to describe the activity levels for working farm dogs over a 12 month period and determine the degree of variability over that time. Fifty owners will be enrolled in the study. At the commencement of the trial a researcher will visit the farm and install a Heyrex™ base unit, fit Heyrex™ monitors to the collars of up to three dogs per team and conduct a physical examination. The researchers will conduct a second physical exam approximately six months after the study commences and at the end of the study. At the end of 12 months the data will be analysed to provide descriptors of activity levels through the year, explore the variability over the 12 month period and determine if activity varies between the different types of dogs. This project will provide valuable information as to the physical demands that are placed on working farm dogs. The information, while valuable in its own right, also contributes to the development of measures of working dog performance. Such measures will support future research activities to evaluate effectiveness of actions or interventions and determining the impact of adverse health events.

Researchers : Naomi Cogger, Helen Williamson, Lorri Linney & Katja Isaksen

Contact Person : Naomi Cogger | N.Cogger@massey.ac.nz

Institution : Massey University Working Dog Centre & Vetlife

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