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New app helps fix dogged problems

13 September 2016
Doglogbook based on new dogmanship science to help make dogs happy, diagnose disorders

The University of Sydney is launching a world-first app that will not only help owners help their dogs be happier and healthier, but could also play a life-saving role by teaching young dogs to behave better – thereby reducing the chances of pups falling victim to what are currently their top killers.

Talking up dogmanship

Professor McGreevy is the author of A Modern Dog's Life: How to Do the Best for Your Dog. This YouTube video was published in 2010.

Dogs can easily be socialised so they do not display common behavioural problems that relate to anxiety.
Professor Paul McGreevy.

Research from the UK has revealed the leading cause of death in dogs under the age of three relate to behavioural problems – being abandoned or euthanased because they display unwelcome behaviour and being involved in car accidents.*

Doglogbook has been designed by animal welfare scientists in the Faculty of Veterinary Science to be a dog’s new best friend, helping ensure optimum quality of life and happiness – from puppyhood through to old age to assist with difficult end-of-life decisions.

The free app draws on the University of Sydney’s new science of ‘dogmanship’ – a term coined by Professor Paul McGreevy in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences. Doglogbook features tonight in the final instalment of a two-part series on ABC TV’s Catalyst, which not only officially launches the app but also reveals whether three owners have been able to transform their dogs’ behaviour in just two weeks, using dogmanship.

Professor McGreevy said: “Dogs can easily be socialised so they do not display the common behavioural problems that relate to anxiety – which is where the doglogbook comes in.”

Mia Cobb, a canine scientist who was part of the expert doglogbook development team, said it was hoped these combined features would help owners become more mindful of their dogs’ overall happiness and wellbeing.

Screen shot of the doglogbook app. Main photo above taken by Mel Fox of What About Charlie? photography

The doglogbook app was developed by Smart Sports Solutions. Main photo at top of page taken by Mel Fox of What About Charlie? photography

“Doglogbook may also help take some of the pressure off owners in identifying and acknowledging decline as dogs near the end of life,” Ms Cobb said.

There is also a working-dog channel that logs training investment and tracks assessment outcomes, as well as assisting in the health management of dogs working in roles as diverse as scent detection, guide/seeing eye, livestock herding, guard/protection dogs, and racing greyhounds.

Doglogbook has been funded in part by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and Meat and Livestock Australia.

The app has the support of the Working Kelpie Council of Australia, the Dog Ownership and Human Health node at the University of Sydney and was developed in collaboration with the Australian Working Dog Alliance and SmartSports.

Doglogbook information could eventually feed into VetCompass, the national opt-in pet surveillance system for vets launched in Australia recently. Data from VetCompass, which was first trialled in the United Kingdom by Professor McGreevy and colleagues almost a decade ago, shows the main killers of dogs under three years of age both relate to behavioural problems – being abandoned or euthanased because they display unwelcome behaviour and being involved in car accidents.

Doglogbook is available online and is free to download from iTunes and Google App stores.

You can read about the dogmanship projects including doglogbook via the new dogmanship website dedicated to this area of work sydney.edu.au/vetscience/research/dogmanship/projects.shtml

*O'Neill, DG and Church, DB and McGreevy, PD and Thomson, PC and Brodbelt, DC (2013) Longevity and mortality of owned dogs in England. VETERINARY JOURNAL, 198 (3). pp. 638-643.

Vivienne Reiner

Media and PR Adviser (Science, Veterinary Science, Agriculture)
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