One of the goals of the Refining Dog Care project has been to develop and deliver CPD training to staff working in experimental facilities and dog breeding facilities. Lack of relevant resources and training opportunities has been consistently highlighted as a reason training programmes do not succeed in the laboratory environment. One of the other major contributing factors has been lack of evidence-based Refinements to dog use. Although there is a multitude of resources available for the training of pet dogs and other types of working dogs, these have no translated well to the experimental environment because of the particular needs of the dogs, staff and regulatory requirements. By conducting high-quality research in research facilities, we now have evidence to support Refinements to many aspects of dog use, not only to benefit dog welfare but also to improve the quality of data obtained from their use. Training of dogs using desensitisation and positive reinforcement techniques has a particularly important role to play in preparing dogs for study use, not only leading to dogs which are more resilient, but also to increased efficiencies for staff and economic benefit from high quality data.
Refining Dog Care is now delivering on-site, comprehensive training staff CPD in welfare assessment and training techniques, designed to allow staff to understand and implement successful training programmes in their facilities. Through a combination of theory and practical sessions, staff develop the skills needed to implement training and evaluate the impact on welfare.