Questions that need to be addressed:
- In what ways are behaviour / temperament / instinct related to dog health and welfare?
- Why should behaviour be an integral part of a website devoted to 'dog health, well-being and welfare'?
Dog behaviour experts and researchers have their own organizations - why participate with IPFD and DogWellNet.com - i.e. with a broad group of stakeholders including breeders, breed and kennel clubs, breeding advisors as well as veterinarians and researchers in other fields?
- What are challenges to international collaboration on behaviour?
Do we know enough about breed-specific differences in behaviour? (see article in Peer Reviewed Research section).
- How should information about behaviour be integrated into breeding decisions?
Please - Read More below ... and see "Reaching Out to the Behaviour Community" (article in this section).
Breeders are the ones responsible for combining the genetic material of the dog world. The very best breeders try to bring it all together. However, it is an increasing challenge with an ever-burgeoning number of possible tests they could do on their dogs and in light of our still limited knowledge when it comes to, e.g. prevalence and risk of diseases, conditions or behaviours, specifics of inheritance of, especially, complex traits and the uncertainties of the impact of environment, in its broadest sense. Where can they get the best evidence and guidance for applying that information?
As for many aspects of health, the medical and research worlds we tend to segregate into 'silos' based on discipline, expertise, interest, business etc. Experts, of course, focus on their field of expertise. The media may focus on the most obvious signs of disease or dysfunction in an individual or a breed. Many breeders have a specific focus - perhaps the intended use of the dogs they breed, e.g., the show ring, hunting or working; perhaps, as specific as a particular colour or physical characteristic. Even an intense focus on, say, eliminating a specific disease could lead to 'harm' if it is unknown how selecting for one trait might impact others. So, given all this personal focus, how do we support the dog world to address issues that are integrated into the complex whole that is health, well-being and welfare?
Behaviour - especially as broadly related to breeding - has been a theme in both the 1st and 2nd International Dog Health Workshops.
IPFD and DogWellNet hope to develop this topic and to help to integrate issues of behaviour and health, with the help of Experts - from all areas of the dog world.