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In Australia, the greyhound racing industry has recently been rocked by scandals, including mass greyhound graves, the use of live animals as bait in training, and socially unacceptable euthanasia rates after the racing career ends. The industry is in the process of reforming, and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV), the industry body in the Australian state of Victoria, aims to rehome as many retired racing greyhounds as pets as possible, once the career ends. In some cases, an obstacle in achieving this goal is the expression of predatory behavior in the greyhound. Therefore, GRV contracted researchers at La Trobe University to review the existing scientific literature about predatory behavior in dogs, to determine what drives the behavior and whether it can be stopped. As part of the review, we surveyed experts around the world with experience in dog behavior, and we conducted follow-up interviews with 12 of these experts to establish a deeper understanding of some of the issues surrounding predatory behavior in dogs. This presentation will discuss the findings, including an explanation of the behavioral sequence and how it differs between breeds. In particular, greyhounds have been bred such that there are few behavioral indicators of the intention to give chase, thus making it difficult to prevent the chase behavior. The neurological underpinnings of predatory behavior will also be described, as well as the current scientific research aimed at understanding whether it can be effectively stopped long-term. Finally, the opinions of experts, based on the results of the survey and the interviews, will be compared with the existing scientific and neurological evidence. Recommendations for best practice in stopping predatory behavior in dogs will be provided.
Sponsor:The Pet Professional Guild
Speaker(s):Dr. Tiffani Howell
Contact: Louise Stapleton-Frappell