Improving Military Dogs’ Welfare: Is there a Place for Handlers’ Beliefs and Perceptions?

In: Society & Animals
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  • 1 Veterinary Department, Healthcare Directorate of Hellenic Airforce General Staff, Athens, Greece
  • 2 Air Defense Directorate of Hellenic Air Force General Staff, Athens, Greece
  • 3 Centre for Clinical Research, Experimental Surgery and Translational Research, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens, Athens, Greece

Abstract

The present study examined whether the perceptions/beliefs of the staff working with Military Dogs (MDs) may reveal possible factors affecting the welfare of MDs of the Hellenic Air Force Support Command (HAFSC). Visits were made to all Units (n = 5) that had MDs (n = 58) and military staff (n = 63) assigned to work with them. Each participant completed a questionnaire which included questions about demographic data and their perceptions and beliefs towards MDs. The research revealed evidence for possible factors that may affect the welfare of MDs. These factors were identified in the procedures of veterinary support, training, relaxation, and the general living conditions of MDs. According to the results, the recording of perceptions—beliefs of staff working with MDs—is a tool which can reveal possible factors affecting the dogs’ welfare. This study may stand as a guide for drafting welfare standards for MDs.

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