Candace Croney Research Group

Using non-invasive methods of animal welfare evaluation to improve animal and human quality of life

Research Group

Welfare of Breeding Dogs

Welfare of Breeding Dogs

The welfare of dogs housed in commercial breeding facilities is of great public concern. However, little research has been performed to examine the welfare status of the dogs on-site at kennels, characterize the nature and extent of welfare problems experienced, and explore solutions. We are developing tools to evaluate the behavioral and physical welfare of commercial breeding dogs and create practical recommendations to improve their lives and those of their puppies.

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Feline Welfare

Feline Welfare

Each year millions of cats are confined to cages in veterinary hospitals, shelters, and biomedical research facilities. We have investigated factors that impact how cats’ respond to confinement including aspects of the cage and housing room as well as individual differences in coping style and the quality of human-cat interactions. This research aims to identify the highest quality environment to promote cat welfare.

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Agricultural Animal Bioethics

Agricultural Animal Bioethics

While science addresses the question of what can be done with animals to produce food and fiber, ethics addresses the question of what "ought" to be done. Training of leaders in U.S. animal agriculture to better understand and facilitate resolutions on publicly debated issues pertaining to agricultural animal bioethics is critically needed to adequately prepare young scientists and future animal industry leaders in this important trans-disciplinary subject area.

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Canine Welfare Science Forum

Postponed until June 2022 due to COVID-19

The 2021 Canine Welfare Science Forum has been postponed due to COVID-19.  The June 2022 event will focus on canine welfare topics of relevance to dog breeders, shelters, kennel managers and caretakers, scientists, regulators, students, pet industry personnel, and interested others.  Registration details will be available in early 2022.


Check out Canine Care Certified!

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Canine Care Certified is a nationwide, voluntary program that ensures the health and overall welfare of dogs in the care of breeders in the United States. It is the only program that not only incorporates measures of the physical health of dogs and puppies raised by breeders, but also strongly emphasizes their behavioral well-being.

Featured Research

Do You See What I See? Evaluating Socialization in Commercial Breeding Dogs

Breeding dog responses to their familiar caretaker

Breeding dog responses to unfamiliar observer

In the video clip where the dogs are in the arena with a caretaker, they have a high level of positive interaction with him. These dogs are clearly used to seeing and interacting with the caretaker and they appear to enjoy those interactions based on their behavior.  In contrast, when the dogs are in the arena with a person with whom they are unfamiliar, their behavior changes drastically. They stay very far away from the stranger and look for a way out of the arena. One of the dogs begins to show repetitive behavior by running back and forth between the same spots while barking. This repetitive behavior indicates the dog is fearful.  The differences in responses of dog to the caretaker vs. the unfamiliar person suggests that while they appear to have positive, frequent enough interactions with him to solicit his attention and continue to engage with him, they are not generalizing their perceptions of such interactions to strangers. This suggests that the dogs need more, gentle, effective socialization to different people to reduce fearfulness when in the presence of unfamiliar people.


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