Rejections in an non-purpose bred assistance dog population: Reasons, consequences and methods for screening.

08:00 EDT 13th June 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Rejections in an non-purpose bred assistance dog population: Reasons, consequences and methods for screening."

Assistance dogs aid people with various impairments on a daily basis. To become an assistance dog, a strict selection procedure and intensive training period must be successfully completed. Consequently, not every dog acquired for this purpose, becomes an assistance dog. The purpose of this study was to investigate reasons for failure and the financial consequences thereof for assistance dog associations that do not have a dedicated breeding program for their dogs. Data were collected for a total of 537 dogs enlisted between 2001 and 2015 and purchased out of the general dog population by five Belgian assistance dog associations. Only 60 percent of the dogs actually became an assistance dog and the main reasons for failure were related to undesirable behavioural characteristics and orthopaedic disorders. The estimated average financial loss per rejected dog was found to be 10524 euro. A detailed comparison of the two most popular breeds (Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever) within the guide dogs and mobility assistance dogs revealed no significant difference in probability of successfully completing the training. However, a comparison of orthopaedic screening methods revealed a higher rejection with computed tomography for elbow dysplasia and laxity-based radiographical techniques for hip dysplasia compared to radiography and the standard ventrodorsal hip extend radiograph alone, respectively. Based on these results, we provide several suggestions to increase the probability of success.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: PloS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
Pages: e0218339


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