Rexroat, E. K., Haughton, C. L., Fox, K. 2023. Using a cost-effective, efficient method to train young dogs to cooperate for multiple blood collection procedures in a pharmacokinetics study. Laboratory Animal Science Professional 11(6) (November/December), 34-36.

Behavioral testing slings, such as the Pavlov sling, offer an effective form of restraint for beagles while minimizing stress. Although these slings provide effective restraint, their high cost makes them less likely to be considered when discussing restraint options, especially for short-term studies. Professional slings with structural metal bracing can cost eight hundred to one thousand dollars, while the average grooming sling is less than fifty dollars. Thus, grooming slings are a more cost-effective and widely available option. Positive reinforcement training (PRT) can complement the use of restraint by building a positive association with the sling. For this study, sample collection time windows were frequent, so having a positive association with holding still in the sling was very helpful. Likewise, positive human-animal interactions are widely known to decrease stress-hormone levels in juvenile and adult canines. Overall, we sought to use a combination of PRT and a grooming sling to increase procedure efficiency and decrease animal stress. Overall, this method proved to be an effective way to decrease behavioral disruptions in blood collection. Without using these unique methods, the animals would have experienced more stress, and it could have disrupted the lab’s data collection. In conclusion, the sling and clicker training proved quick, reliable, and cost-effective. IACUC approved the procedures and protocol used in this study.

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