Data collected over the 15 years of the 9/11 study represents a massive amount of never before available information on the short and long-term impacts of a search & rescue deployment on the health and behavior of the search dog.
The data analyzed in this project cover three areas: behavior, occupational hazards, and longevity. With the ever changing and improving methods for data collection, the research team has spent most of the time tracking, organizing, validating and preparing the 15 years of behavior data to be analyzed. The foundations of data for all of the analysis is now in place and the remaining missing data has been tracked down and entered for the CBARQ, retirement and longevity.
The health data is being reviewed to optimize the approach to the analysis. The creation of a master database has been an intense project, but now the majority of data is in a form that will allow efficient analysis and cross referencing for the several important questions regarding behavior, health and longevity that we have proposed.
We have valuable information about behaviors that are associated with deployment status, neuter status, certification type and retirement status. At least one CBARQ from each of the 150 dogs was included in the analysis, with a median of 6 completed CBARQs per dog and a range of 1-13. The population includes 65 females (43%) and 85 males (57%). The German Shepherd was the most common breed (37%) followed by Labrador (27%) and Golden Retriever (9%). Dogs still in their working careers accounted for 461 CBARQs (67%), 197 CBARQs (29%) were from retired dogs, and retirement status was missing for 29 CBARQs (4%). The categories of Trainability, Attention Seeking and Energy all decrease with age, independent of deployment status.
Touch Sensitivity was not influenced by age. Excitability differed by deployment status. Deployed dogs started high and gradually decreased with age, Control dogs started low, increased to a peak and then decreased with age. No dog was retired in year 1, by year 10 all participating dogs were retired.
Mid-Year-4 Research Update Dr. Otto for 9/11 longevity study.