Research project: reducing the drop-out rate of puppies being educated to become assistant dogs

Normally, puppies from known / familiar breeders are chosen if the puppies are going to be trained as future assistance dogs.
The biggest issue is the high dropout rate during that educational period.
The two major factors for dogs dropping out are behavioral problems and hip problems.

The university in Ghent, Belgium, is doing some research on those issues.
One of the objectives of Professor Bart Broeckx from the University of Ghent, Belgium is to reduce the dropout rate.
Every percentage in lowering drop-outs means more dogs are trained and available to handicapped persons.
aof supports following study:

Title: “Predicting behaviour-associated success rates at an early stage”
As behaviour-associated issues are one of the main reasons for rejection, the demand for a predictive test allowing the identification of dogs suited for a career as an assistance dog, is high.
In this project, we will assess the predictive performance of two tests. These tests are conducted at the age of 8 weeks, 16 weeks and one year of age.
The outcome variable is successful graduation as an assistance dog at the end of the training phase (i.e. +/- 2 years of age).
Short term outcome: test providing classification and selection criteria for behaviour
Long term outcome: higher success rates due to improved behaviour, higher cost-efficiency
The study will start in August 2022, and the results are expected by the end of 2023-beginning of 2024.

The studies about the second issue, namely hip dysplasia, is supported by the foundation Albert &Oscar based in Belgium (under the umbrella foundation „Foundation Du Roi Baudouin)

More projects from Prof B Broeckx / university of Ghent are found here in Dutch and English.

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