The First Canine Behavior and Genetics Conference: Summary and recommendations for future directions in canine behavioral science

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Abstract

This paper is a narrative descriptive review of the oral presentations from the first Canine Behavior and Genetics Conference and is a synthesis of the general themes from these messages to generate key conclusions on future directions for canine behavior science. The conference was set in London in June 2015 and had 91 attendees from 10 countries. There were 17 oral presentations supported by a poster schedule with 16 posters. Two rapporteurs were invited to attend the conference and to give their conclusions on routes forward for Canine Behavioral Science. The oral presentations covered diverse topics including behavioral genetics and genomics, phenotype assessment, neurobiology and sensory biology, evolution, and socialization. The rapporteurs concluded from these presentations that global consensus on standardized systems for behavioral nomenclature (definitions) and behavioral measurement were required for the improvement of scientific output from canine behavioral research. A multidisciplinary research model and the use of linked databases were also deemed critical for effective advancement of canine behavioral science. The first Canine Behavior and Genetics Conference acted as an incubator for many nascent ideas and collaborations in canine behavioral science. The coming years will judge whether these eggs hatch and generate real welfare improvements for dogs and increased respect of the dog as both a valued working animal and a model of important translational diseases worldwide.

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