Come on boy, fetch the data

HAVE you ever wondered where your pooch goes and what they get up to when you're not looking?

A group of researchers are attempting to find out just that and local dog owners whose pets like to wander have been invited to take part in a free trial.

New South Wales Department of Primary Industries researcher Guy Ballard said the trial, which works to uncover where their domestic, working and hunting dogs are exploring and what they encounter in their travels, offers a great opportunity for residents in the Northern Rivers.

"We're working with the University of New England to examine relationships between domestic dogs and other animals they cross paths with, during adventures outside their own yards," Dr Ballard said.

He said in their studies of wild dogs they often see domestic dogs out and about, exploring nature reserves, state forests and parks, and their research will look more closely at that and give dog owners insight into their dog's world.

"All information we gather will remain confidential, with details given to each dog's owner only," Dr Ballard said.

Dogs enlisted in the trial will be fitted with a lightweight GPS collar - which is safe and can be fitted as easily as an ordinary collar - that tracks movements.

Information from the trial will be used by the Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre to develop a better understanding of dog movements and interactions between dogs and wildlife, while researchers aim to use the information to secure healthier environments for people and pets.

Vet Nick Jones, from Lismore Veterinary Clinic, said the study was a good idea.

"Even domestic dogs can run around at night if they're not chained up, attacking livestock and stuff, so it's probably good to monitor their behaviours," Mr Jones said.



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