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AVS organises first webinar on the science behind animal behaviour and rehabilitation

27 Oct 2020

- The webinar is the first in a series to develop science-based competencies in the industry

- Centre for Animal Rehabilitation will be set up and it will complement public education efforts in animal behaviour modification and training


The Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS), a cluster under the National Parks Board (NParks), conducted its first webinar focusing on the scientific principles behind canine rehabilitation and training this afternoon. Featuring international experts in the fields of ethology, animal behaviour and welfare, the two-day session kickstarts the webinar series, “Science behind Animal Behaviour”. The series is part of AVS’ efforts to develop the competencies of the industry and the public, in the areas of animal interaction and behaviour modification through a science-based approach.

Science behind Animal Behaviour webinar series

The scientific discipline of animal ethology aims to understand the behaviour of animals in their natural environment, providing crucial insights to a pet’s behaviour as well as its emotional and physical needs. This enables caretakers to provide better care for the management of their pets. In Singapore’s urban landscape, the health and well-being of pets and community animals are intrinsically linked with ours. Adopting a science-based approach to effectively rehabilitate, train and rehome these animals, especially community animals, will ensure that they are better taken care of, to co-exist with us as we work towards making Singapore our City in Nature.

The first of the webinar series, which focuses on canine behaviour, featured Dr Roger Abrantes, ethologist with the Ethology Institute, Portugal earlier this afternoon and will feature Dr Jenna Kiddie, Head of Canine Behaviour at Dogs Trust UK, tomorrow. Besides guest lecturing at universities worldwide, Dr Abrantes has also trained police officers on understanding canine behaviour. On the first day of the webinar, he covered the principles of animal behaviour modification and provided some tips on how one can better condition a dog’s behaviour. Dr Jenna Kiddie, who will be speaking on the second day, will share more on the use of enrichment in reducing stress and improving the wellbeing of one’s dog, by providing them with mental and physical stimulation. Dr Kiddie regularly works with her team to create and review dog training and behaviour content.

Subsequently, there will be two other sessions in the webinar series, focusing on feline behaviour and animal-assisted interactions. These will be conducted over the next six months. Both international and local experts will be invited to share their knowledge on animal behaviour sciences, training, animal-assisted activities and therapy animals. More details on the subsequent sessions will be released on the AVS website at a later date.

Centre for Animal Rehabilitation

To support AVS’ work in rehabilitating and rehoming stray animals, AVS will also be setting up a Centre for Animal Rehabilitation. Since the start of our rehabilitation programme in November 2019, a total of 27 dogs have been successfully rehabilitated and rehomed, through our animal welfare group partners.

The setup of a dedicated centre will further develop expertise and capabilities in companion animal triage, health care and rehabilitation amongst the animal community. The Centre, which is slated to open in 3Q 2021, will have interaction and activity rooms that mimic a home environment to familiarise and introduce the community animals towards living with people, allowing them to integrate better into a home. AVS will also continue to work with international experts to develop its animal rehabilitation capabilities. One such effort is through partnership with the Ethology Institute to offer professional online training programmes and certification in animal behaviour and handling, for staff. This will be complemented by research studies to assess the behaviour and welfare of dogs and cats in a shelter.

Continued consultation with stakeholders and the wider community

AVS will continue consultations with other stakeholders and the public to shape the policies on these areas over the next one year. These will be carried out through the Rehoming and Adoption Work Group, chaired by Mr Tan Kiat How, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office and for National Development, focus group discussions, and consultation with the public.


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Last updated on 06 April 2021

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