Handlers' professional motivations and the relationship with their military working dog

Diane Lefebvre, Claire Diederich, Madeleine Delcourt, Miguel Stevens (Editor), Jean-Marie Giffroy (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In a previous study surveying most of the 430 handlers of the Belgian army in 2001, we showed that an enhanced dog-handler relationship was strongly linked to enhanced working dog welfare, without concurrent deficit in obedience or increase of uncontrolled aggression. This present study aimed to identify the professional motivations of the handlers and to analyse the link (i) between these motivations and some attitudes of the handlers toward their Military Working Dog (MWD), and (ii) between motivations or attitudes, and dog obedience. Our results showed that 31.68% of the handlers chose this profession for personal convenience. Furthermore, handlers' attitudes toward their MWD did not directly square with their declared professional motivations. Moreover, handlers' answers suggest misunderstanding of some questions, or professional desirable responding. In conclusion, (i) handlers' professional motivations should be carefully evaluated, notably due to its influence on the dog-handler relationship, and (ii) more permissive code for the home-housed dogs could be proposed without concurrent deficit in obedience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-55
Number of pages6
JournalInt. Rev. Armed Forces Med. Serv.
Issue number1
Publication statusUnpublished - 2007


  • safety
  • welfare
  • Military working dog
  • dog-handler relationship
  • obedience


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