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Tuesday, August 27th

5:45-6:30 pm – Registration / Welcome Reception

6:30 pm – Welcome from AKC – Dr. Carmen Battaglia, AKC Detection Dog Task Force Chairman

6:30 pm – Dinner                       

8:00-9:30 pm – Keynote – Eight Years and 100 MRI-Dogs: Progress in Decoding Dogs’ Brains – Gregory S. Berns, MD PhD, Distinguished Professor of Neuroeconomics and Psychology at Emory University & Mark Spivak, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Dog Star Technologies, LLC, founder and CEO of Comprehensive Pet Therapy, Inc.
Dr. Berns and Mr. Spivak will show how dogs can be trained to cooperatively participate in MRI studies – without restraint or anesthesia – and how this has opened up a wealth of new data about canine brain function. These results have identified the circuitry of functions ranging from reward and face processing, to language perception, to how dogs process mixtures of odors.

Wednesday, August 28th  

7:30-8:00 am – Registration

8:00-8:10 am – Welcome & an Introduction to the American Kennel Club – Christopher L. Sweetwood, AKC Detection Dog Task Force Vice Chairman & AKC Board Member

8:10-8:25 am – Welcome from the Sponsors – PetPartners Pet Insurance – Adam Blodgett

8:25-9:25 am – Building a Better Detector Dog: Lessons Learned and (Many) Questions Remaining  – Pamela Haney & Dr. Lucia Lazarowski, Auburn University Canine Performance Sciences Program
This presentation will explore the history, pitfalls, successes, current processes and avenues of research in Auburn’s detector dog breeding and development program. The presentation is hoped to inform the working dog community of usefully generalizable experience in producing detector dogs and prompt directions for future research and development to enhance detector dog production.

9:25-10:00 am – Detector Dog Demonstration – Monica Errico & Jennifer Anderson, USDA National Detection Dog Training Center

10:00-10:15 am – Break

10:15-11:00 am – The Critical Role of Research for the Enhancement of Detection Dog Performance – Dr. Nathaniel J. Hall PhD, Texas Tech University, Assistant Professor of Companion Animal Science, Canine Olfaction Lab, Department of Animal and Food Sciences
Detection dog breeding, training, and performance is continually improving, and must do so, to continue to meet the new challenges detection dogs will face in the 21st century. This presentation will argue the importance of research remaining at the forefront, to efficiently reach peak canine performance. Dr. Hall will highlight where his research has challenged his expectations and conventional wisdom related to breed differences and canine cognition, leading to new ways of thinking about what makes an optimal detection dog.  Lastly, he will highlight how a tiered-translational research model can challenge new ideas in the lab and validate them in the field, creating a production line for the development of best practices.

11:00 am-12:00 pm –  Managing Gastrointestinal Health of Dogs in the Field:  What Goes in Must Come Out! – Dr. Erin Perry, Associate Professor, Southern Illinois University
This presentation will be focused on nutritional considerations for working dogs, management of GI health under deployment conditions and practical considerations for minimizing GI distress.  This presentation will also include updates on recent issues related to nutrition regarding FDA recalls and medical conditions that may be associated with diet selection.

12:00-1:30 pm – Lunch

1:30-2:30 pm – Working Dog Collaboration by Federal Agencies – Chris Shelton, Branch Manager, TSA Canine Training Center

2:30-3:15 pm – Implementing Early Odor Training – Dr. Cindy Otto DVM PhD DACVEC DACVSMR CCRT, Professor of Working Dog Sciences and Sports Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine, & Executive Director, Penn Vet Working Dog Center
How young can dogs be trained to recognize odor? What are the advantages and challenges of early odor work? Experience with introducing odor to puppies from 8 weeks of age will be shared.

3:15-3:30 pm – Break

3:30-4:30 pm – Olfaction in Working Dogs: Updates and Answers to Key Questions – Dr.  Eileen Jenkins DVM MS DACVIM, US Army

4:30-5:30 pm – Panel Discussion on Procurement of Detection Dogs

  • Tim Baird, VWK9
  • Mike Dougherty, American K-9 Interdiction
  • Heather Henderson, Arete Canine

 5:30-6:00 pm – Open Discussion

Thursday, August 29th    

8:00-9:00 am – Optimizing Detection Dog Performance: Addressing the Factors of Psychology, Metabolism and Structure – Dr. Robert Gillette, Manager of the website, Veterinarian, and President of RMG Enterprises, Inc.
The metabolic, psychological and musculoskeletal processes that interact when a detection dog is performing their activity are very complex. They are commonly overlooked when developing a training program. This presentation will go over these factors and how they can be addressed when managing a dog who works in the field of detection.

9:00-9:45 am – Detector Dog Demonstration – AKC Patriotic Puppy Program

9:4510:00 am – Break

10:00-10:45 am – Detection Canine Testing Philosophies from an Engineer – Kevin Good, Senior Research Scientist, Battelle
This briefing will discuss how basic scientific principles and practices can improve the rigor of detection canine testing as the community strives for improved canine performance and more reliable test results.

10:45-11:30 am – Improving the Performance and Health of All Working Dogs Through Large-Scale, Collaborative Genetics – Dr. Elinor Karlsson, Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Director of Vertebrate Genomics at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

11:30 am-12:15 pm – Public Policy to Advance U.S. Detection Dogs: Updates and Opportunities – Sheila Goffe, Vice President of AKC Government Relations, and Forrest McConnell, Senior Counsel for US House of Representatives, Homeland Security Committee
An update on what has happened, what still needs to happen, and how breeders, trainers, handlers and others can get involved to advance public policy for US detection dogs.

12:15-12:30 pm – Wrap-Up & Thank You – Dr. Carmen Battaglia, AKC Detection Dog Task Force Chairman