Environmental factors associated with success rates of Australian stock herding dogs

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Abstract

This study investigated the current management practices associated with stock herding dogs on Australian farms. A parallel goal was to determine whether these practices and the characteristics of the dog handlers were associated with success rates. Success rate refers to the proportion of dogs acquired by the farmer that were retained as working dogs. Data on a total of 4,027 dogs were obtained through The Farm Dog Survey which gathered information from 812 herding dog owners around Australia. Using logistic regression, significant associations were identified between success rate and seven variables: dog breed, housing method, trial participation, age of the dog at acquisition, electric collar use, hypothetical maximum treatment expenditure and the conscientiousness score of the owner's personality. These findings serve as a guide to direct further research into ways of optimising herding dog performance and welfare. They emphasise the importance of not only examining the genetic predispositions of the working dog but also the impact the handler can have on a dog's success in the workplace. © 2014 Arnott et al.

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Arnott, E. R., Early, J. B., Wade, C. M., & McGreevy, P. D. (2014). Environmental factors associated with success rates of Australian stock herding dogs. PLoS ONE, 9(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0104457

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