Give Them a Toy or Increase Time out of Kennel at Lawn Areas: What Is the Influence of These Interventions on Police Dogs’ Welfare?
Poor environments such as kennels can lead to compromised welfare, as they usually lack many kinds of stimuli. Working dogs are not only kept in kennels, but they are also often housed without any kind of environmental enrichment, allegedly due to motivational reasons, which is conducive to all kinds of behavioural issues. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the impact of two interventions, a toy and going out to a lawn area, on a group of police dogs. Behavioural and physiological data were used to evaluate the animals’ responses to treatments. We identified a large variety of behavioural profiles amongst the animals that presented different levels of stereotypies, which is an abnormal behaviour pattern that can be associated with stress. A tendency to a reduction in these behaviours in high-stereotyping individuals was observed after dogs were able to go to the lawn area, indicating beneficial effects of this intervention. The physiological data indicated that the cumulative effect of interventions can also have a beneficial impact and that environmental enrichment plays an important role in kennelled police dogs’ welfare.
Nogueira,L.B., Palme,R., Mendonça-Furtado, O. (2021). Give Them a Toy or Increase Time out of Kennel at Lawn Areas: What Is the Influence of These Interventions on Police Dogs’ Welfare? Animals, 11, 2264. doi: 10.3390/ani11082264
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Topic(s): Enrichment, Enrichment, Stress & Improved Welfare, Research and Teaching