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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Alena Shmandura CRC Press Phone: (561) 361-6000 ext. 2265 Fax: (561) 998-0876

WORKING DOGS: OUR MOST RELIABLE COLLEAGUES New book explores how dogs and humans learn and work together Since Canis lupus familiaris first shared a fire with man more than 15,000 years ago, dogs have been trusted and valued companions and coworkers. The relatively new field of canine ergonomics is just beginning to unravel the secrets of this collaboration. In his new book, Canine Ergonomics: The Science of Working Dogs, William S. Helton brings together cutting-edge research on how recognizing dogs as real workers can benefit working dogs and people alike. This book provides a first look at the new science of canine ergonomics—an integration of ergonomics and animal sciences. This radical perspective of seeing dogs as workers on a par with human workers led Helton to examine the ways dogs are similar to humans: how they learn, physical and mental capabilities and limitations, the development of skill and expertise, and the effects of temperament and personality. Helton underscores the uniqueness of dogs among nonhuman animals in their adaptation to human culture and examines issues in the ergonomics research relevant to working canines. A pioneer in this revolutionary field, Helton began his work in canine ergonomics almost by accident. While working on his graduate degree in human factors at the University of Cincinnati he began doing research on sustained attention. He came across an article on detection dogs reporting that they could search efficiently for only 45 to 60 minutes. This concept was familiar: the vigilance decrement. He noticed his wife’s hearing/signal dog Kiowa lying on the floor nearby with one ear up and swiveling around, doing an auditory vigilance assignment. After this moment of Zen-like epiphany, his path became very clear and the idea of studying the similarities not only in how dogs and humans learn, but how they work, was born. While working dogs clearly have limitations, they are often the best option for many work contexts such as search and rescue, cancer, drug, and explosives detection, and herding and livestock protection, and mobility assistance. With the proper training, dogs not only match the breast cancer detection accuracy, sensitivity and specificity of mammography, but may actually exceed it. Diagnostics using painlessly collected breath samples, rather than x-rays taken with often uncomfortable breast tissue compression and the risk of side effects, may be more attractive to patients. Helton’s book includes many such examples of new research on how the specialized skills of dogs can provide cost-effective and eco-friendly alternatives to otherwise costly methods. The scientific community’s recent reassessment of dogs’ cognitive capabilities and increasing recognition of dogs as legitimate workers opens new opportunities for people with dogs to solve society’s problems. We must continue to balance the risk of excessive anthropomorphism, viewing dogs falsely as small people in furry suits, with excessive anthropocentrism, thinking only humans are smart enough to be workers or only humandesigned machines are appropriate solutions to complex problems. This book explores the many ways, past, present, and for the foreseeable future, the domesticated dog will be our most reliable coworker. 6000 Broken Sound Parkway, NW, Suite 300 • Boca Raton, FL 33487 Tel: (561) 994-0555 • Fax: (561) 241-7856 •

Working Dogs: Our Most Reliable Colleagues  

Working Dogs: Our Most Reliable Colleagues New Book Explores How Dogs and Humans Learn and Work Together