Who’s a Good Handler? Important Skills and Personality Profiles of Wildlife Detection Dog Handlers

Jamieson, La Toya J. and Baxter, Greg S. and Murray, Peter J. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1143-1706 (2018) Who’s a Good Handler? Important Skills and Personality Profiles of Wildlife Detection Dog Handlers. Animals, 8 (12):222. pp. 1-14. ISSN 2076-2615

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Wildlife detection dog teams are employed internationally for environmental surveys, and their success often depends on the dog handler. Minimal research is available on the skills that dog handlers believe are important, and no research has been published on the personality profiles of wildlife detection dog handlers. This may reveal the skills that people should acquire to be successful at, or suitable for, this work. An online questionnaire was distributed to Australian and New Zealand wildlife detection dog handlers. This questionnaire provided a list of skills to be rated based on importance, and a personality assessment measured their five main personality domains (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness). A total of 35 questionnaires were collected, which represented over half of the estimated Australian wildlife detection dog handler population. The handlers had on average 7.2 years of dog handling experience, and 54% were female. More than half (57%) of the handlers stated that they were very emotionally attached to their dogs; however, 9% stated they were either not attached or mildly attached to their working dogs. The skill that was rated highest for importance was ‘ability to read dog body language’, and the lowest was ‘skilled in report writing’. On average, the handlers scored high in the Agreeableness domain, low in the Neuroticism domain, and average in the Extraversion, Conscientiousness, and Openness domains. However, all of the personality scores had large ranges. Therefore, a dog handler’s personality may not be as influential on their success as their training or their dog–handler bond. Further research would be beneficial regarding the direct impact that the dog–handler bond and the handler’s knowledge have on working team outcomes.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2021 01:19
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2021 00:44
Uncontrolled Keywords: dog handler; detection dog; personality; skills; dog–handler relationship
Fields of Research (2008): 06 Biological Sciences > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour
16 Studies in Human Society > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4499 Other human society > 449999 Other human society not elsewhere classified
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120222
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/41297

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