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Adopter's responses when asked the most important reason they choose their adult dog or cat. 

Adopter's responses when asked the most important reason they choose their adult dog or cat. 

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Simple Summary This study examined reasons why adopters chose their pet in an animal shelter, what behaviors were first exhibited by the pet to the adopter, what information was important during their selection process, and the relative importance of seeing the animals’ behavior in various contexts. Abstract Responses from an adopter survey (n = 1...

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... puppies (69.4%) were adopted than kittens (30.6%), while slightly more adult cats (51.6%) were adopted than adult dogs (48.4%). Appearance was cited most often as the single most important reason people adopted their dog (27.3%) while 26.9% of people who adopted cats cited behavior (Figure 2). The above relationships between species and single most important reason for adoption were significant, 2 (1, N = 1,596) = 110.30, ...

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... 1; z = 17,97; p < 0.0001). This apparently amazing data should be considered with caution, since adoption is a complex phenomenon, affected by many factors, besides training per se, including appearance, social interaction with the adopter and personality [29,30], as well as the need for humans to improve their social and emotional wellbeing. Accordingly, although there is no significant year effect between dogs' age and 2015-2020 period (Oneway ANOVA: F (5,18) = 0.2465, p = 0.9362), our data showed an overall increase of adoptions in 2020, compared to the previous years, thus suggesting that, under stressful situations, such as that experienced during the forced lockdown, caused by SARS-CoV2 pandemic, humans might require to establish an emotional osmosis with companion animals to get pleasure from them [31]. ...
... Such an innovative approach allows us, on one hand, to detect the strengths and weaknesses of each dog and, on the other, make shelter dogs more attractive for potential adopters from a behavioral perspective, thus tackling the overall expectations. In this line, Weiss et al. (2012) reported that most adopters gave importance to the information about the animal's health and behavior from a staff member or volunteer, rather than cage cards [30]. Again, several studies suggested that training programs, which are regarded as one of the main enrichment plans, might enhance desirable behaviors and decrease unwanted ones in shelter dogs that eventually can improve their welfare [40]. ...
... Such an innovative approach allows us, on one hand, to detect the strengths and weaknesses of each dog and, on the other, make shelter dogs more attractive for potential adopters from a behavioral perspective, thus tackling the overall expectations. In this line, Weiss et al. (2012) reported that most adopters gave importance to the information about the animal's health and behavior from a staff member or volunteer, rather than cage cards [30]. Again, several studies suggested that training programs, which are regarded as one of the main enrichment plans, might enhance desirable behaviors and decrease unwanted ones in shelter dogs that eventually can improve their welfare [40]. ...
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... Identifying predictive components which result in different outcomes are vital, and typically, the focus is on characteristics of the cats as well as the type of intake. Regarding the physical attributes of the cat, coat color is considered a strong predictor of adoption (11)(12)(13). Age is a prominent factor as well, where younger cats are more likely to be adopted than older cats (14)(15)(16). Length of stay is a commonly used metric among shelters, where shorter lengths of stay increase shelter efficiency by increasing animal turnover, improves animal welfare, and reduces risk of illness. ...
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Animal shelters play a vital role for pets, such as transitioning animals between homes, from outdoor communities into homes, caring for unadoptable and community animals, and providing a breadth of veterinary and welfare services. The goal of shelters is to move cats to their appropriate outcome as quickly as possible, which for many animals, is to rehome them as quickly as possible through adoption. Therefore, the ability to identify pre-existing factors, particularly those occurring outside the walls of the shelter, which result in specific outcomes is vital. In this study, we used structural equation modeling to test four hypotheses addressing how to predict cat outcome from a shelter in Washington, D.C. We developed four hypotheses that described how cat outcomes could be predicted, based on four general factors: (1) The characteristics of the cats; (2) The location of origin; (3) The type and date of intake; (4) The length of stay. Using 4 years of data from the Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, D.C., we found support for each of our hypotheses. Additionally, we tested and found support for a global model, which comprised an amalgamation of our all our predictors. From the global model, we can conclude that many factors are at play in predicting cat outcomes in this shelter and very likely in many others as well. Critically, these factors are interconnected, indicating, for example, that cat characteristics mediate the influence of intake location on outcome type. Furthermore, our study highlights the importance of incorporating influences beyond the shelter when attempting to understand cat outcomes. Therefore, to modify cat outcomes most efficiently, such as increasing adoption probabilities, our results show that efforts may be most effective when incorporating multiple factors.
... It could be that these factors are not as important as they have been suggested to be in the adoption of cats. As with the adoption of human infants, physical appearance has been regularly cited as one of the most important factors in kitten adoption, while behaviour was cited as being most important when adopting an adult cat [24,42,43]. Several studies have found that active cats, who exhibit playful behaviours, and those that interact with potential adoptees, have greater chances of being adopted [5,40,[42][43][44][45]. Brown and Morgan [4] suggested that behaviour may play a key role in adoption and suggest that male cats may be adopted quicker due to their temperament. ...
... As with the adoption of human infants, physical appearance has been regularly cited as one of the most important factors in kitten adoption, while behaviour was cited as being most important when adopting an adult cat [24,42,43]. Several studies have found that active cats, who exhibit playful behaviours, and those that interact with potential adoptees, have greater chances of being adopted [5,40,[42][43][44][45]. Brown and Morgan [4] suggested that behaviour may play a key role in adoption and suggest that male cats may be adopted quicker due to their temperament. ...
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... No significant differences in the number of overall emotions or grouped primary and secondary EA were observed among CI groups of respondents' dogs. Although still images influence adopters' initial interest in shelter dogs [56], additional factors are considered before successful adoption [57]. Thus, it is likely that after observing factors such as behaviour and emergent bonds with a dog, CI becomes a weaker predictor of EA. ...
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Assumptions about dogs’ personality are influenced by their appearance, which may lead to differences in ownership styles and subsequent canine welfare. The influence of canine appearance on observers’ emotion attributions to dogs remains largely unexplored. This study investigated whether canine head shape is related to how both dog owners and non-dog owning adults in the U.K. attribute emotions to still images of dogs, and in the case of dog owners, to their own dogs. Attachment, respondent personality and dog trainability were assessed as potential influences on emotional attribution in owners. Overall, 2451 participant responses were received. Still images of mesocephalic dogs were attributed primary and positively valenced emotion with more strength and frequency than other groups. Mesocephalic images were also attributed negatively valenced emotions less frequently and with less strength than other groups. Apart from empathy, no significant differences were found in emotional attribution to owned dogs of different head shapes; however, human personality influenced attribution of emotions to owned dogs. The finding that some dogs are attributed emotions more readily based on their appearance alone has applied importance, given, for example, the potential for misattribution of positive emotions to dogs in negative emotional states, and potential prejudice against dogs considered in negative emotional states.
... Online platforms such as Petfinder or social media sites advertise adoptable animals to the public [9]. Pet owners consider these internet adoption platforms as valuable resources; 36% of dog adopters and 30% of cat adopters reported that access to information from Petfinder or shelter websites provided important sources of information about their pet prior to adoption [10]. Optimizing these online adoption platforms could be a useful tool to reduce the length of stay for animals in shelters. ...
... With the perceived sociability of dogs previously linked to their likelihood of selection and their length of stay [16,17], sociability scores may be an appropriate proxy for adopter desirability when assessing photographs of shelter dogs. Although immutable photo characteristics, such as the physical appearance of dogs, are often cited as a predictive factor taken into consideration when adopting [10], further attention on mutable photos traits, such as online photo backgrounds, is warranted as these photo elements are modifiable by photographers. ...
... Overall, link clicking behaviour and sociability scores were largely driven by dog ID suggesting that online viewer interest in online photos of shelter dogs is more influenced by the appearance of dogs rather than background type. This is congruent with past literature where the appearance of animals was listed as one of the primary determinants of adoption [10]. It is possible that the attention of participants was drawn to more salient photo traits relating to the physical features of dogs. ...
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... Demonstrating that individuals show implicit preference toward white versus black animals may help explain why these biases against black animals exist. At the same time, it is clear that there are multiple factors that influence human behavior in choosing animal companions, including preferences or biases toward specific breeds, as well as the individual animal's personality and health characteristics (Onodera et al., 2014;Sinn, 2016;Weiss et al., 2012). There is spirited debate among IAT researchers as to whether implicit pro-White biases toward humans are associated with explicit attitudes and behaviors (e.g., see Cunningham et al., 2001;Greenwald et al., 2015;Jost, 2019;Jussim et al., 2020;Oswald et al., 2013). ...
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There is abundant evidence for pro-White color bias across the social psychology literature. In human–animal interaction work, black dog syndrome (BDS) refers to preference toward lighter-colored dogs over black dogs, leading to differences in rates of euthanasia and adoption. BDS has received mixed support in prior studies. Results from studies examining explicit color preference toward animals are also inconsistent. Numerous studies report strong support for implicit pro-White bias toward humans, but no studies have examined implicit pro-White bias toward animals. Thus, the primary aim of the current research was to test for implicit pro-White bias across various stimuli and species, using both novel and well-established Implicit Association Tests (IATs). In study 1 (n = 127) and study 2 (n = 141), IATs assessed pro-White bias across five different stimuli: objects, rabbits, dogs, skin tone, and race, using data collected from college students. Participants were categorized into three groups based on race and ethnicity (non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and all other racial/ethnic participants). In both studies, there was evidence of pro-White bias across all five IATs. However, both studies also revealed significant racial differences. In both studies, pro-White bias was significant among White and other racial/ethnic participants but not among Black participants. Racial/ethnic differences were also found in prevalence of pet ownership and attitudes toward pets, but neither ownership nor attitudes were significantly associated with pro-White bias. Results from this study provide indirect support for BDS, in that individuals showed an implicit bias toward White dogs, although this bias is not present among Black individuals.
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... Although we found that the LOS did not predict the resulting degree of sociability, the existence of a link between these two variables confirms the findings of a previous study that found a prolongation of shelter stay in unfriendly cats; cats initiating contact with humans stayed in the shelter up to three times shorter than cats with which a contact was not possible ( Brown and Stephan, 2020 ). Similarly, other studies reported an increased rate of adoption of cats that responded positively to human contact ( Gourkow and Fraser, 2006 ;Weiss et al., 2012 ;Dybdall and Strasser, 2014 ;Southland et al., 2019 ). The behavior and appearance of cats are important factors influencing the preferences of a potential adopter ( Fantuzzi et al., 2010 ). ...
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This study was conducted for the purpose of long-term monitoring of changes in the sociability of group-housed cats towards a familiar caregiver in a private no-kill shelter. The sociability of the monitored cat population was assessed at two-week intervals during one calendar year. A total of 158 animals were rated on a 5-point scale, the individual levels of which represented the level of sociability (1-very friendly cat to 5-very unfriendly cat). The evaluation was performed by visual observation of the cats' response to human approach and contact by one observer. At the first assessment, more than three quarters of the cats (81%) showed very friendly (score of 1) or friendly behavior (score of 2). Of the 88 cats that were evaluated at least twice and at the same time their stay in the shelter terminated during the monitoring period, 56 cats (63.6%) did not change their score (worsen or improve) during their stay in the shelter. Among the cats with an observed change, there was a permanently improved score in a significantly higher number of cats (P < 0.001) during the stay in the shelter than a permanent deterioration (26; 29.5% and 3; 3.4%, respectively). There was a temporary improvement or worsening of the score in 3 cats (3.4%). The improvement in the sociability score during the stay in the shelter mainly concerned cats whose behavior was rated as neutral (score of 3), unfriendly (score of 4) or very unfriendly (score of 5) at the first evaluation. The length of stay of cats in the shelter (LOS) correlated with the level of sociability of the cats during the first (rtau = 0.72, P < 0.001) and the last evaluation (rtau = 0.23, P = 0.007); however, the LOS itself did not predict the level of sociability (P > 0.05). The sociability level at the first assessment was found to be a predictor of the sociability level at the last assessment (P < 0.001). The results of our study suggest that during the stay in the shelter, the cats generally improve their sociability towards a familiar person. Although it appears that cats with lower levels of sociability remain in the shelter for a longer period of time, improvements may increase their adoption potential. Support for programs to increase the cat sociability is needed and should be addressed in further research.
... Rohlf et al. [54] found that 52.4% of highly committed dog owners reported giving the decision to get a dog a great deal of thought. Weiss et al. [55] reported that 27.3% of participants stated appearance was the single most important reason for choosing a dog, however after a few months of ownership the value of appearance dramatically reduces and behaviour and temperament are seen as much more important [18]. New owners often have to adjust their perception of dog ownership within the first few months of ownership [56] and a major theme amongst relinquishing dog owners is that they would devote more time, thought and planning to considering getting another dog in the future [57]. ...
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Behaviour problems are a leading reason for dogs being relinquished to rescue centres across the world every year. The aim of this study was to investigate whether free behavioural advice would be accepted at the point of an owner requesting to relinquish their dog for behavioural reasons. The call records of 1131 relinquishment requests were reviewed and analysed to establish if the offer of free behaviour advice was accepted. The results showed that advice was accepted in 24.4% of relinquishment requests and behavioural problem was a significant predictor of whether advice was accepted (p < 0.001). The odds of advice being accepted were 5.755 times (95% CI: 2.835–11.681; p < 0.001) greater for a relinquishment request due to problems with general management behaviours compared to aggression between dogs in the home, representing 4.2% and 20.2% of overall relinquishment requests. These data suggest that owners are prepared to accept behaviour advice at the point of relinquishment request, so advice interventions could have potential to impact the levels of dog relinquishment to rescue centres. The impact of an intervention offering behaviour advice may be limited by overall levels of advice acceptance by owners and therefore complimentary proactive solutions to reduce behavioural relinquishments should also be considered.