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Dogmanship projects

Outlining our current research
Our dogmanship research aims to characterise the human attributes that influence dog behaviour and identify optimal ways of interacting with dogs.


The dogmanship team is committed to helping dogs and their humans by making dog owners more reflective of their own behaviour and management practices.

Evidence-based assessments of an animal’s quality of life should inform discussions between veterinarians and owners about animal welfare and animal management, yet currently this is difficult since quality-of-life is an under-researched area of veterinary practice. This project will help address this gap by gathering data on dogs used in two contexts - as companion animals and for work. By gathering information from dog owners about the activities their dogs engage in, the time spent in these activities and the pleasure or skills that result, we will compile data regarding quality of life to inform better practice around animal welfare. In addition, the smartphone app we have developed will help owners record and plan map their dog’s husbandry and health care. It will note exercise regimes and allow owners to compare their investment in dog care with averages in our database. It will also allow owners to plan and record preventative health interventions, such as de-worming medication.

Doglogbook PodcastPLUS V2 (via Vimeo)

Dogs and Human Health

The dogmanship team is committed to ensuring that dogs are allowed to meet their potential as companions and co-workers in roles that can advance human health.

As part of their work with Dogs and Human Health node at the Charles Perkins Centre in collaboration with A/Prof Emmanuel Stamatakis, our researchers propose developing a comprehensive program of research into the potential of dogs for human health that addresses:

  1. Prevention of chronic diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease) by optimising the physical and psychological wellbeing of dog owners
  2. Detection of chronic diseases (i.e. cancer and diabetes) and therefore better chance of treatment
  3. Treatment to improve hospital outcomes through therapy dogs e.g., psychological outcomes in elderly care


Farm Dog Project

The breeding and training of successful farm dogs is a complex enterprise, not least because they are selected for at least two different contexts: station work and trials. Behavioural attributes have considerable impact on the success of young dogs in the training program; the length of the dog’s working life and whether it is ultimately chosen as a breeding animal. Similarly, health considerations have profound economic impact on the individual dog’s working life. 

This project is a collaboration with leading behaviour geneticists, Professor Claire Wade, and is intended to help producers source the best dogs and be mindful of the role of their own behaviour when rearing, training and handling farm dogs.

Learning theory

The importance of timing and consistency in humans when training animals are spelt out in Carrots and Sticks, a landmark textbook by Paul McGreevy and his colleague Bob Boakes.

Appreciating the influence of dogs’ mood and arousal during training is explain in this article by Dr Mel Starling, Paul McGreevy and other members of the team.

Senior Dog Project

A form of dementia called canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) affects up to one in seven of dogs aged ten and above. For several years now, Paul McGreevy has been collaborating with Professor Michael Valenzuela to establish the prevalence of CCD, how to test for it and to develop novel treatments.

To test your dog for CCD 

To learn more about the DOGS+CELLS Trial visit the website or call Sarah O’Toole on 0418 838 911.

Working Dog Alliance

Co-founded by dogmanship team members Mia Cobb and Paul McGreevy in collaboration with other colleagues, the Working Dog Alliance is working with industry, government, animal advocacy and scientific research groups to review current practices. We aim to provide opportunities for communication, sharing and collaboration across this diverse industry. We’re here to improve the lives of our working dogs and as a result, get more from our canine counterparts.