A Word About Working Dog Welfare

We ask you to kindly consider the likely welfare of any working dogs before making the decision as to who to hire a detection or security dog service from. 

This advice is based on science, experience and welfare recommendations are publicly available on the CPNI website under the section ‘Canine Detection Guidance Notes’ and then under ‘Working dog welfare during kennelling.’ (PUB104181)

Here at Guard Secure we employ handlers who are educated in matters pertaining to the training and behaviour of dogs and as a result we will always seek to ensure the dogs’ welfare (physical and mental) is in line with the latest best practice standards. We will also ensure that training methods are humane and positive. In doing so we give our dogs the best chance of being the best that they can be which is good for the dog, the handler and for your business. 

· We assess the dogs on an individual basis and tailor a daily regime including necessary training based on their requirements. This is on top of the standard search or security training.

· We take note of any previous history which includes discussions with previous owners, handlers or organisation in order to gauge any issues arising from their breeding, environmental factors or previous life experiences.

· Physical health is monitored by a vet and previous history details sourced where possible. 

Animal welfare is legally based on five needs:

1. The need for a suitable environment.

2. The need for a suitable diet.

3. The need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour.

4. The need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals. 

5. The need to be protected from pain, injury and disease. 

Dogs can become quite stressed in a kennelled environment and signs of stress/distress can include pacing, bouncing off the kennel walls, chasing of tails, circling, bowing to play, chewing/shredding of bedding, self-licking, lip-licking, panting, hiding, chewing of kennel bars, self-biting, yawning, paw-lifting, body shake, not eating enough, excessive vocalisation, being startled, being listless/withdrawn, excessive drinking, not eating enough and attempting to escape. 

It must be pointed out that above behaviours are often natural and normal behaviours but become signs of stress when continued frequently, for any length of time that could be considered ‘a little too much’ or repeated more than three times consecutively. 

Sadly, these behaviours are frequently observed in the kennels of working dogs and to us at Guard Secure we find it unacceptable to allow this to continue in the industry without trying to implement a change. We are making our best efforts to overcome

this by housing dogs with the handler where possible or if this is not possible, we will assess the dog, train it to be able to cope and fulfil it’s needs on a daily basis. 

We know what is ethically right or wrong and the science which backs this up is now widely available. 

· We believe that it is unacceptable for the working dog to be denied exercise/freedom away from the working environment. 23 hours and 50 minutes in the kennel on a non-working day or whilst the dog is held prior to training is stressful to the dog and is not good practice. 

· Dogs prefer to be clean and can find it distressing to have to soil their kennel because they are not provided with regular access to an outside exercise/toilet area (ten minutes once a day is not enough.) 

· If a dog shreds it’s bed then that dog should not be denied any bedding at all but instead alternative bedding materials should be provided and the issue of bed shredding should be addressed – usually caused by stress because of a lack of stimulation or exercise.

· Dogs who have soiled their bedding should be provided with clean, fresh bedding on a regular basis and should not be forced to lie on unclean, wet bedding for days on end.

· A kennel should include an area for the dog to sleep or hide in if it feels the need. Sleeping boxes are a good option. A dog can find being looked at/direct eye contact from a dog or human, quite intimidating and should not be forced to deal with such challenges. Open kennel boxes are not adequate. 

· Dogs need to be kept warm to help prevent pain, disease and injury and should not be forced to remain in cold kennels especially if they have recently moved from a home environment. Newly kennelled dogs should not have their coats clipped to suit only the preference of the handler or company who owns the dog. 

· A dog can suffer from anxiety and poor physical health as a result of a lack of a high-quality protein and poor nutrition. A working dog usually has to expend a large amount of energy so should be fed a good quality diet. Information on a good quality dog diet can be found at www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk 

· Dogs should not be starved on multiple occasions for days on end because the handler or company cannot get the food delivered on time. Dog food is readily available so there is no excuse. 

· Dogs can find negative/harsh training methods distressing. Negative training methods and theories are outdated and there now exists a wealth of information regarding positive training methods. A dog should not be forced or hurt into working.

Any business employing or hiring a detection or security dog team can ask to visit the kennels of the handler or company who owns the dogs. You should be shown the dogs, kennels (take your time to make observations of each dog), exercise areas, the daily regime for each dog, veterinary and training/behaviour records. There is no reason for this to be hidden from your business. If you are told that you may only view the dogs in kennels via cctv then it is wise to question why the company are doing this. Is it because the kennels are dirty or inadequate or that the dogs are showing signs of distress/stress (remember that excessive vocalisations are one such sign).

We are certain that the forward-thinking businesses of today would want any working dog to be well cared for. Guard Secure welcome client visits.

Guard Secure are setting new standards in the industry and we won’t stop trying to do the best by our dogs who work so hard for us.