National Agricultural Library
Animal Welfare Information Center
HomeAbout AWICPublicationsWorkshopsServicesNews and EventsHelpContact Us
Search AWIC
Search all of the United States Department of Agriculture
Advanced search
Browse by Subject
Research Animals
Farm Animals
Zoo, Circus and Marine Animals
Companion Animals
Government and Professional Resources
Literature Searching and Databases
Pain and Distress
Humane Endpoints and Euthanasia
You are here: Home / Publications / Bibliographies and Resource Guides / Information Resources on the Care and Welfare of Dogs   / Therapeutic and Working Dogs  Printer Friendly Page
Information Resources on the Care and Welfare of Dogs: Animal Welfare Information Center
<< Table of Contents << Previous |  Next >>


Therapeutic and Working Dogs

Bussotti, E.A., E. Ribeiro Leao, D.M. Nascimento Chimentao, and C.P. Rodrigues Silva (2005). Assistencia individualizada: "posso trazer meu cachorro?" [Care: can I bring my dog?]. Revista Da Escola De Enfermagem Da U S P 39(2): 195-201. ISSN: 0080-6234.
Abstract: A case study aimed at knowing the perception of a teenager suffering from recurrent acute lymphocytic leukemia and of her mother regarding the visit of her pet dog during hospitalization, as well as at describing the experience as a nursing intervention. Data was obtained and organized through reports on the experience. Beneficial effects of such therapeutic action were observed, thus demonstrating that Animal Assisted Therapy may be extended to other clinical situations and should be the object of new investigations.
Descriptors: human-pet bonding, dogs, infection control methods, leukemia, visitors to patients.

DiSalvo, H., D. Haiduven, N. Johnson, V.V. Reyes, C.P. Hench, R. Shaw, and D.A. Stevens (2006). Who let the dogs out? Infection control did: utility of dogs in health care settings and infection control aspects. American Journal of Infection Control 34(5): 301-307. ISSN: 0196-6553.
Abstract: Research has substantiated that animals improve human health, both psychologically and physiologically. Therefore, healthcare facilities have begun to implement programs, such as the "Furry Friends Foundation," that bring animals into the facility to improve the quality of life of patients. When implementing these programs, consideration must be given to potential adverse events such as phobias, allergies, and particularly the possibility of zoonotic disease transmission. Santa Clara Valley Medical Centre (SCVMC), a 600-bed county teaching hospital with specialized units (e.g., for burns, rehabilitation, and pediatric care), has implemented programs that incorporate animals into the healthcare setting. This facility allows three categories of dogs to interact with their patients: service dogs, therapy dogs, and pet visitation dogs by the "Furry Friends Foundation." A blurring of the roles of the three categories of dogs occurred when these programs were put into place at SCVMC. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that service animals cannot be prohibited from any area. For example, a "no pet allowed" policy could not apply to these animals. Proof of a person's disability or proof of the service animal's health or training cannot be required. The purpose of this project was to maintain these programs by clarifying the policies regarding animals, specifically dogs, in the healthcare setting. This had to take place to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for the patients and the staff. A comprehensive table was developed to delineate the three categories of dogs and the corresponding policies. Therapy dogs and the visitation animals are more restricted than service dogs. Both therapy dogs and visitation dogs require identification and certification of health and are excluded from certain areas of the facility, including intensive care units and isolation rooms. By complying with the current policies and regulations, the risks from these programs can be minimized. Staff should be educated on the proper terminology and procedures to prevent a blurring of the categories and roles of these animals.
Descriptors: animals, domestic classification, disease transmission prevention and control, health facilities, infection control methods, dogs, health policy.

Hennessy, M., A. Morris, and F. Linden (2006). Evaluation of the effects of a socialization program in a prison on behavior and pituitary-adrenal hormone levels of shelter dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 99(1/2): 157-171. ISSN: 0168-1591.
NAL Call Number: QL750.A6
Abstract: This study examined outcomes of an ongoing socialization program for shelter dogs conducted at a local prison. Dogs residing at a Humane Society facility were assigned to either a "Control" or "Socialization" treatment. Dogs assigned to both treatments were administered a pretest at the Humane Society consisting of blood withdrawal for hormone analysis, assessment of responses to commands, and observation of behavior in a novel situation. Dogs assigned to the Socialization treatment were then transported to the prison where they lived with, and were trained by, inmate handlers. Dogs in the Control treatment remained at the Humane Society and received no explicit training. Three weeks later, dogs were administered a posttest identical in form to the pretest. Dogs provided the Socialization, but not Control, treatment exhibited significant improvement from pretest to posttest in compliance with commands. In a novel situation, Socialization dogs showed significantly less jumping on an unfamiliar human and vocalizing, and significantly more yawning, in the posttest relative to the pretest than did Control dogs. Whereas plasma cortisol levels did not vary from pretest to posttest in either group, ACTH levels unexpectedly increased with time in both groups. Moreover, cortisol and ACTH levels were significantly positively correlated with each other at the posttest, but not the pretest. These results provide evidence for positive behavioral outcomes of prison socialization programs for shelter dogs, as well as further support for the notion that shelter housing results in a dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis..
Descriptors: adrenal glands, animal behavior, corticotropin, hormonal control, hydrocortisone, pituitary hormones, social behavior, training of animals, animal rescue shelters, prison inmates, cortisol, corticotropin, neurosecretion.

Lane, D.R., J. Mcnicholas, and G.M. Collis (1998). Dogs for the disabled: benefits to recipients and welfare of the dog. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 59(1-3): 49-60. ISSN: 0168-1591.
NAL Call Number: QL750.A6
Abstract: Dogs for the Disabled is an organisation recently established in the UK to provide trained assistance dogs to enhance the mobility and independence of people with physical disabilities. Fifty-seven recipients of a Dog for the Disabled (90% of all recipients) took part in a questionnaire survey to assess satisfaction with their dog, commitment to the dog's welfare, and other changes in their life brought about by obtaining their dog. Subjects reported an increased sense of social integration, enhancement to self-perceived health, and an affectionate, often supportive, relationship with their dog. Levels of satisfaction with the dog's work and the quality of the recipient-dog relationship were greater in subjects for whom the idea to have a dog was their own than in subjects who were influenced by other people to acquire a dog. These differences were small but statistically significant and may be a useful predictor in future applicants of the success of the working relationship.
Descriptors: working animals, physical disabilities, self perceived health, social integration, handicapped persons, questionnaires, correlation, physical activity, animal welfare .

Lucidi, P., N. Bernabo, M. Panunzi, P.D. Villa, and M. Mattioli (2005). Ethotest: a new model to identify (shelter) dogs' skills as service animals or adoptable pets. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 95(1/2): 103-122. ISSN: 0168-1591.
NAL Call Number: QL750.A6
Abstract: The paucity of dogs dedicated to animal-assisted therapy (AAT) for disabled people creates long waiting lists worldwide and compromises the health of the few certified animals by demanding too much work from them at times, thus jeopardizing their future as service dogs. In an attempt to obviate this situation, a mathematical model has been conceived to select animals endowed with a set of specific inborn skills from a population of sheltered dogs. The model is able to select dogs capable of creating a special bond with humans and able to work anywhere and with any human partner or team; it represents a rapid, inexpensive and coherent method and has been validated after 1 year of observation. The algorithm consists of three steps. Step A is a test assessing the aggressiveness and temperament of animals and selection occurs based on a binary criterion (yes or no). Step B is a test comprising three items and selects animals able to interact with humans; dogs have to fulfil two conditions to pass on to Step C. Step C is a test evaluating the animal's ability to respond appropriately to easy commands (trainability) given by different partners; dogs have to fulfil two interrelated conditions judged more flexibly than in test B. The aims of the Ethotest are: (a) to prevent aggressive animals from entering animal-assisted activity and/or Therapy programmes; (b) to select dogs with the right aptitude and especially to restrict selection to dogs that offer consistent responses; (c) to include both male and female purebreds or mix breeds older than 1 year of age; (d) to identify animals able to work with different partners. Moreover, the aim of this contribution is to share with the scientific community an easy method to select shelter dogs as safe companion animals..
Descriptors: algorithms, animal behavior, pets, tests, temperament, aggression, human-animal relations, training.

Miura, A., J.W.S. Bradshaw, and H. Tanida (2002). Attitudes towards assistance dogs in Japan and the UK: a comparison of college students studying animal care. Anthrozoos 15(3): 227-242. ISSN: 0892-7936.
NAL Call Number: SF411.A57
Abstract: Previous studies have indicated that the primary problems associated with ownership of assistance dogs lie not with the dogs themselves, but with people's attitudes and behaviour towards them, including interference with the dog while it is working and denial of access to public facilities. However, there has been little systematic study of the attitudes of the general public towards assistance dogs. Our study was carried out to compare the knowledge and attitudes of young people in Japan and the UK towards assistance dogs in order to provide a basis for the future development of assistance dog provision in Japan. Forty-four Japanese and 42 British college students completed questionnaires in which they were asked about their knowledge of, and attitudes towards, assistance dogs. A similar percentage (about 20%) of the British and Japanese students reported that they were unhappy about allowing the dogs access to places where food is sold. However, the British participants were more likely to be positive about the idea of using dogs to assist people with disabilities than were the Japanese. Attitudes towards assistance dogs varied among the Japanese students. Some considered assistance dogs happier than pet dogs, because pet dogs are sometimes neglected, while others expressed sympathy for assistance dogs because they are strictly trained and exploited by humans. When asked their opinions about the idea of using dogs as assistance dogs, 98% of the British students, but only 41% of the Japanese students, agreed with the idea. Our results suggest that perception of assistance dogs, and also understanding of the well-being of people with disabilities, were both more well-informed and realistic among the British students than among the Japanese students..
Descriptors: attitudes, behavior, guide dogs, students, surveys, dogs.

Orlowski, T., T. Jezierski, and T. Bednarek (2001). The behaviour of water-working dogs during a simulated rescue of drowning persons. Animal Science Papers and Reports 19(2): 157-166. ISSN: 0860-4037.
NAL Call Number: SF1.A53
Abstract: The paper presents an unusual, documented research on behaviour of water-working dogs during a simulated rescue of drowning humans evaluated qualitatively and quantitatively. During the rescue, humans grasped a special harness worn by the dogs. Six dogs (two Newfoundlands, three German Shepherds and one Labrador Retriever) were used. Variation of the time and speed of particular phases of the rescue action were analysed depending on dog, distance to the drowning person (25, 40 and 80 m) and water and air temperature during the action. The dogs differed significantly in their manner of entering the water (P<0.01). Only one dog always jumped into the water immediately after receiving the command. The other dogs needed extra encouragement or prompting in 28-83% of tests, mostly consisting of the handler throwing an object into the water to persuade the dog to enter the water. Two dogs on one occasion each refused to enter the water unless behind the handler in a boat. The manner and time of entering the water was significantly affected by the distance to the drowning person (P<0.01). At longer distances to the drowning man, the dogs entered the water less willingly and after longer hesitation. The dogs differed in the time taken to tow the rescued person to land (P=0.025). Of all the breeds studied, German Shepherds tended to swim faster both when swimming towards the drowning person and when towing the person to land. The mean swimming speed when towing to land was considerably lower, compared to that when swimming towards the drowning person. Unexpectedly, the lowest swimming speed was observed at the distance of 25 m between the drowning person and the water edge. The effect of air and water temperature on swimming speed was inconsistent: mean speed was higher at higher air temperature and lower at higher water temperature. The experiment demonstrated that dogs can be useful during a water-rescue action.
Descriptors: behavior, air temperature, behavior, drowning, rescue, swimming speed, water temperature.

Ruusila, V. and M. Pesonen (2004). Interspecific cooperation in human (Homo sapiens) hunting: the benefits of a barking dog (Canis familiaris). Annales Zoologici Fennici 41(4): 545-549. ISSN: 0003-455X.
NAL Call Number: SF84.A56
Abstract: The first wild animal humans domesticated was the wolf (Canis lupus). The benefits of dog presence for human hunting success is often mentioned as a probable factor initiating the domestication of the wolf. We compared the per-hunter moose (Alces alces) hunting success of four hunter groups of different sizes with and without a dog. Groups with a dog had a higher hunting success for every group size. The difference was most pronounced for the smallest group (< 10 hunters) - hunters with a dog obtained 56% more prey than those without a dog. Indeed, the mean hunting success was the highest for the smallest groups with a dog. Among larger groups, hunting success was independent of the group size regardless of whether or not a dog was present. In groups over ten hunters, hunting success correlated with the number of dogs. The benefit of hunting with a dog had a density-dependent pattern: the benefit increased when moose density was low. Our results give quantitative support to the hypothesis that the benefits of cooperative hunting was a potentially important factor in the wolf domestication process.
Descriptors: animal care, anthropology, hunting, wolf domestication, barking, density dependent pattern, group size, hunting success, interspecific cooperation.

Schminke, A. and G. Mobius (1998). Schlittenhundesport unter Tierschutzgesichtspunkten. [Animal welfare aspects of Sled dog racing .]. Deutsche Tierarztliche Wochenschrift 105(3): 130-133. ISSN: 0341-6593.
NAL Call Number: 41.8 B45
Abstract: Transport, housing and the dimensions of strain during training and race are important aspects of animal welfare. The race veterinarian has a great responsibility. He is responsible for the treatment of injured dogs and he has to give advice on all medical and animal welfare questions. The presence of the veterinarian during the entire race is very important. These veterinarians should have special knowledge of small animals and of sled dogs in particular. There should be health checks of sled dogs before and after racing similar to horse sport tournaments.
Descriptors: racing animals, animal care, animal transportation, animal welfare, housing, sled dog racing, veterinary health, check ups.
Language of Text: German, Summary in English.

Slabbert, J.M. and O.A.E. Rasa (1997). Observational learning of an acquired maternal behaviour pattern by working dog pups: an alternative training method? Applied Animal Behaviour Science 53(4): 309-316. ISSN: 0168-1591.
NAL Call Number: QL750.A6
Abstract: German shepherd pups from untrained bitches and bitches trained in the location of narcotics were either separated from their mothers at 6 weeks (standard raised) or at 3 months of age (extended maternal care). Pups with extended maternal care which were allowed to observe their trained mothers locating and retrieving a sachet of odour-producing narcotic between the ages of 6 and 12 weeks performed the same task significantly better than non-exposed pups when tested at the age of 6 months, without further reinforcement during the interim period. This difference in performance was independent of the duration of maternal care or maternal origin of the pups and was attributed to differences in early experience acquired through observational learning.
Descriptors: behavior, veterinary medicine, acquired maternal behavior pattern, behavior, breed German shepherd, drug sniffing bitch, duration, maternal care, narcotics location training, observational learning, untrained bitch, working dog performance.

Stohrer, M., B. Hammer, R. Hammer, B. Brincker, and M. Stangassinger (2002). Oxidativer Stress infolge extremer physischer Belastung. Teil 1: Genese, klinische Relevanz sowie Untersuchungen an Vitamin-E-supplementierten Schlittenhunden. [Oxidative stress following extreme physical stress. Part 1: Genesis, clinical relevance and studies on vitamin E-supplemented sled dogs.]. Tierarztliche Praxis 30(4): 266-270. ISSN: 1434-1239.
NAL Call Number: SF603.V433
Abstract: An experimental study was performed in order to investigate oxidative stress in sled dogs after short races, which can be ameliorated by supplementation of the antioxidant vitamin E. Potentially occurring organ damages should be recorded in order to assess the clinical relevance. Therefore in blood samples, drawn before and after the race, the antioxidative status (TEAC, vitamin C, vitamin E), a radical marker (HNE-modified proteins) and resulting organ damages (organspecific enzymes) were measured. The consumption of antioxidants (decrease of TEAC, vitamin C and E) indicates a significant oxygen radical production of the dogs during the race, confirmed by an increase of the radical marker HNE-mod. proteins. The rise of CK- and AST activity proves the damage of skeletal muscles. The less pronounced rise of CK- and AST activity in the vitamin E-supplemented dogs supports the hypothesis, that during extreme physical stress a significant amount of oxygen radicals is liberated and especially damages in skeletal muscles can be ameliorated by the antioxidant vitamin E.
Descriptors: oxidative stress, working dogs, racing dogs, antioxidants, ascorbic acid, creatine kinase, damage, enzyme activity, glutamate dehydrogenase, hematocrit, lactic acid, organs, oxidation, proteins, skeletal muscle, stress, vitamin E.
Language of Text: German, Summary in English.

Urban, J.E. and A. Broce (1998). Flies and their bacterial loads in greyhound dog kennels in Kansas. Current Microbiology 36(3): 164-170. ISSN: 0343-8651.
NAL Call Number: QR1.C78
Abstract: Breeders of Greyhound dogs traditionally feed racing animals and nursing bitches raw meat, and that meat generally is obtained frozen from commercial renderers. Previous studies have shown that the rendered meat is frequently contaminated with enteric bacteria, including Salmonella spp., and that during thawing the rendered meat is exposed to filth flies common in dog kennels. Nursing Greyhound pups tend to experience a high morbidity and mortality from intestinal infections, and the authors attempted to determine whether enterics could be spread to pups through contaminated flies. At intervals during 1995 and 1996, flies were trapped or were net-collected from 10 dog breeding kennels in the region around Abilene, Kansas, USA. Trapped flies were identified and counted to determine population numbers, and netted flies were cultured in tetrathionate broth and streaked to medium selecting for Salmonella sp. and other lactose-negative Gram-negative bacteria. The relative numbers of different fly species varied with the sampling method, but traps and sweep nets produced similar proportions of the different fly species. Blowflies (Cochliomyia macellaria, Phormia regina, Phaenicia sericata [Lucilia sericata] and P. cuprina [L. cuprina]) were twice as likely to be contaminated with enteric bacteria as any other fly (flesh flies [Sarcophagidae], house flies [Musca domestica], stable flies [Stomoxys calcitrans] and others). The most common enteric bacteria found were Proteus spp., followed by Providencia spp., Pseudomonas spp. and Salmonella spp. The incidence of Salmonella and Proteus spp. seemed to correlate more with accessibility of flies to dog excrement than to rendered meat. The apparent high incidence of enteric contamination of filth flies clearly implicates them as vectors of enteric diseases in kennels.
Descriptors: Greyhound dogs, kennels, dog feces, disease vectors, puppies, dog foods, bacteria, enteric diseases, Salmonella, Proteus, Providencia, Pseudomonas, Cochliomyia macellaria, Phormia regina, Lucilia sericata, Lucilia cuprina, Musca domestica, Stomoxys calcitrans, Sarcophagidae, Muscidae, Calliphoridae.

Weiss, E. (2002). Selecting shelter dogs for service dog training. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 5(1): 43-62. ISSN: 1088-8705.
NAL Call Number: HV4701.J68
Abstract: Service dogs are an essential aid to persons with disabilities, providing independence, mobility, and improved self-esteem. Because of these proven benefits, the growing use of service dogs is creating a demand and supply crisis. One major cause is the 50% average dropout rate for dogs selected for training. Weiss and Greenber (1997) recently found that a dog, successful on the most commonly used selection test items, was as likely to be either a poor or a good candidate for service work. The experiment presented here evaluated test items developed by the author in 15 years of experience with dogs. The test items were administered to 75 dogs from the Kansas Humane Society. Once tested, the dogs received obedience and retrieval training. The experiment assessed each dog on behavior over 5 weeks of training versus performance on each selection test item. A subset of the selection items, combined in a regression analysis, accounted for 36.4% of the variance with R=0.603. This research also revealed a reliable test for dog aggression without risking injury to dog or tester. Items for testing included fear, motivation, and submission. Another set of selection items reliably predicted the trait of "high energy" commonly described as "high strung." Future research should involve investigating the effectiveness of both cortisol levels and blood pressure in predicting traits to help strengthen the predictive value of the tool and then testing on dogs trained to be full service dogs.
Descriptors: animal husbandry, agriculture, behavior, philosophy and ethics, regression analysis, mathematical and computer techniques, kansas huhumane society, aggression, animal shelter, blood pressure, disability, fear, motivation, obedience training, retrieval training, self esteem, service dog work, submission.



Back to Top  
<< Table of Contents << Previous |  Next >>
Last Modified: Jan 23, 2014  
AWIC Home | NAL Home | USDA | AgNIC | ARS | Web Policies and Important Links | RSS Feeds | Site Map
FOIA | Accessibility Statement | Privacy Policy | Non-Discrimination Statement | Information Quality | | White House