Inhibitory control - Important trait for explosive detection performance in police dogs?

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Tiira , K , Tikkanen , A & Vainio , O 2020 , ' Inhibitory control - Important trait for explosive detection performance in police dogs? ' , Applied Animal Behaviour Science , vol. 224 , 104942 .

Title: Inhibitory control - Important trait for explosive detection performance in police dogs?
Author: Tiira, Katriina; Tikkanen, Antti; Vainio, Outi
Contributor organization: Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme
Departments of Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Equine and Small Animal Medicine
Helsinki One Health (HOH)
Outi Vainio / Principal Investigator
Research Centre for Animal Welfare
Date: 2020-03
Language: eng
Number of pages: 7
Belongs to series: Applied Animal Behaviour Science
ISSN: 0168-1591
Abstract: Working dogs are used for a range of important operational tasks. Identifying potentially successful working dogs as early as possible is important as rejection rates are high and training is costly. Earlier research has mainly concentrated on personality traits such as boldness, and there is only little knowledge on the possible association between cognitive traits and the actual working dog performance. This study investigated whether motor inhibition, persistence, problem-solving strategies, and spatial problem-solving are associated with explosive detection success in specially trained police dogs. Dogs (N = 24) were tested with a cognitive test battery, and subsequently they participated in an explosive detection test. The explosive searching situation and the location of the test was such that it would reflect as much as possible a real-life situation. Canine handlers also filled in a questionnaire regarding their dog's working behaviour. We found that those dogs that were more successful in explosive detection task had better motor inhibition in a cylinder task compared to dogs with lower success in an explosive search task. Furthermore, we found that dogs that made more errors in the cylinder task were generally more likely to give up searching sooner, as reported by their handlers, and also abandon sooner the problem-solving task in behavioural test. This study suggests that inhibitory control, specifically motor inhibition, may be an important aspect to consider when selecting suitable dogs for explosive detection tasks. Cylinder task is an easy and quick way to assess inhibitory control, although a larger dataset is needed to verify its association with working performance.
Subject: Cognition
Inhibitory control
Motor inhibition
Explosive detection
Working dog
413 Veterinary science
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by_nc_nd
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion

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