Article

Determining factors for successful adoption of dogs from an animal shelter

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Abstract

To determine whether certain characteristics of dogs offered for adoption are associated with successful adoption. Retrospective cohort study. 1,468 relinquished dogs offered for adoption at a local humane society. Data regarding dogs offered for adoption were obtained from surveys completed by previous owners. Data were analyzed by use of bivariate statistics and multivariable logistic regression. Of dogs offered for adoption, 1,073 were successfully adopted, 239 were not adopted, and 157 were returned to the shelter after adoption. Terrier, hound, toy, and nonsporting breeds were found to be significantly associated with successful adoption (P < 0.05, chi 2 analysis). Certain coat colors (gold, gray, and white), small size, and history of an indoor environment were also significant predictors of successful adoption. The correlation coefficient (0.048) indicated that only a small percentage of variance in adoption success could be explained by the multiple logistic regression model. Animal shelter managers with limited kennel capacity may wish to periodically use surveys to determine whether the type of dog being offered to the public reflects the type of dog the public will adopt.

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... This type of dogs seems to be at a high risk of staying in the shelter for 1 year or longer in an urban or semiurban environment when no-kill policies and breed-specific legislations are instituted. Our result that dogs with a higher length of stay (LT dogs) were older was already shown before in the US [5], although there is evidence that this age dependency might only apply for mixed breed dogs [6]. On the other hand, Luescher and Medlock (2009) [37] did not identify age as a risk factor of becoming a long-term shelter dog. ...
... The result of our study, that more LT dogs are of larger size, is in accordance with previous US studies [5][6][7]. A higher popularity of small dogs might be related to a lower need for exercise [6], lower maintenance costs [11], and size restrictions set by a landlord [38]. ...
... The result of our study, that more LT dogs are of larger size, is in accordance with previous US studies [5][6][7]. A higher popularity of small dogs might be related to a lower need for exercise [6], lower maintenance costs [11], and size restrictions set by a landlord [38]. Although smaller dogs were reported to show more unfavourable behaviour such as disobedience, excitement [39][40][41], and aggression [39], people may perceive these behavioural problems as less severe, more manageable, and tolerable in smaller dogs [6]. ...
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To identify characteristics that distinguish long-term (LT: stay > 1 year) from short-term shelter dogs (ST: ≤5 months) and to investigate if a long-term stay impairs welfare, we compared ST and LT dogs in Austrian no-kill shelters. Analyses including characteristics such as breed, sex, or age (shelter records), problem behaviour, and personality (questionnaires completed by staff) showed that LT dogs were significantly more often a “dangerous breed”, male, and older when admitted to the shelter. They were rated higher on “aggression” and “high arousal” and lower on the personality dimension “amicability”. A welfare assessment protocol including reaction toward humans (Shelter Quality Protocol), and in-kennel observations were used to assess the effect of the long-term stay. LT dogs tended to show more signs of aggression toward an unfamiliar human, but welfare assessment revealed no difference. During resting periods, LT dogs spent more time resting head up and had more bouts resting head down. Prior to feeding, they stood, vocalised, and yawned more. LT dogs are characterised by specific features such as being aroused easily and having difficulties to relax. Whether this is a result of the long-term stay or personality-associated, consequently causing lower adoption rates, remains to be determined.
... Respecto del tamaño de los perros, la mayor parte de los estudios evidenciaron que el menor tamaño del animal se asociaba con su adopción (DeLeeuw, 2010;Posage et al., 1998;Protopopova et al., 2012;Siettou et al., 2014) y solo en un caso no se encontró una relación estadísticamente significativa entre el tamaño y el destino del animal (Němcová & Novak, 2003) A su vez, dos características de los perros que fueron consistentemente ligadas con mayor probabilidad de adopción son la menor edad de estos (Brown et al., 2013;DeLeeuw, 2010;Diesel et al., 2007;Kay et al., 2018;Lepper et al., 2002;Němcová & Novak, 2003;Siettou et al., 2014;Svoboda & Hoffman, 2015) y su pertinencia a razas definidas (DeLeeuw, 2010;Diesel et al., 2007;Kay et al., 2018;Lepper et al., 2002;Siettou et al., 2014;Sinski et al., 2016). Sumado a esto, los perros de razas ligadas a funciones de vigilancia y peleas tenían estadías más largas, menos adopciones y mayores porcentajes de eutanasia (Lepper et al., 2002;Protopopova et al., 2012;Sinski et al., 2016;Svoboda & Hoffman, 2015). ...
... Además de su morfología, los estudios permitieron destacar la importancia de los antecedentes de los perros al momento de predecir adopciones. Los adoptantes mostraron preferencias por animales que previamente hayan vivido en el interior de hogares (Němcová & Novak, 2003;Posage et al., 1998), que no hayan sido abandonados por problemas de conducta (Lepper et al., 2002) o costos elevados de manutención (Kay et al., 2018). Adicionalmente, que los perros fueran amistosos con niños y otros animales (Siettou et al., 2014) y que no estuvieran enfermos (Lepper et al., 2002) también se asociaba con su adopción. ...
... Adicionalmente, no hubo preferencias entre colores. Posage et al. 1998 New Hampshire, EEUU Registros de perros (n = 1.468) en adopción en un refugio Retrospectivo Los perros de pelajes color dorado, gris y blanco tenían mayor probabilidad de adopción, mientras que los perros de pelaje negro tenían mayor probabilidad de eutanasia. Los perros de menor tamaño también tenían mayor probabilidad de adopción. ...
Article
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La superpoblación de mascotas en refugios demanda la implementación de estrategias efectivas para incrementar las adopciones. El personal de refugios frecuentemente refiere la subadopción de perros de pelaje negro, denominada el Síndrome del Perro Negro (SPN); sin embargo, su existencia parece basarse más bien en material anecdótico. Para evaluarlo, se realizó a una revisión sistemática de estudios que estimarán el efecto del color del pelaje canino en diversas conductas humanas, incluyendo las adopciones. Las investigaciones evidencian que el SPN no se manifiesta de manera universal y directa, sino más bien, de manera regional y secundaria. El color del pelaje no funciona como un predictor particularmente útil sobre el destino de los perros de refugio, como sí lo hacen su edad y pureza de raza. Fomentar las adopciones de perros adultos y mestizos permitiría incrementarlas en número por sobre otras formas de adquisición, beneficiando a un mayor número de animales. Black dog syndrome: Review of studies on the influence of dark fur on dog adoption. The overpopulation of pets in shelters requires the implementation of effective strategies to increase the adoption rate. Shelters' staff usually reports lower adoption rate in dogs of black color fur, what is known as Black Dog Syndrome (BDS). However, its existence seems to be based on anecdotal data. In order to assess this, a systematic review of studies evaluating the effect of dogs' fur color on different aspects of human behavior, including adoption, was conducted. The investigations show that the BDS does not appear in a universal and direct fashion, but rather, in a regional and secondary manner. Fur color does not work as a particularly useful predictor for shelter dogs' destination, unlike their age and breed. Encouraging the adoption of adult and crossbred dogs would lead to an increase in the number of this kind of acquisition over others, benefiting a greater number of animals.
... An analysis of the factors which predict the dog's length of stay at shelters, as well as adoption versus euthanasia status, reveals that the dog's age [under 2 years old (Deleeuw, 2010;Lepper, Kass, & Hart, 2002)] is associated with optimal adoption outcomes. Other factors include the dog's breed [Toy, Hound, and purebreds (Deleeuw, 2010;Lepper et al., 2002;Posage, Bartlett, & Thomas, 1998)], size [small (Deleeuw, 2010)], coat color [white, gray, blond, merle, chocolate, tricolored (Lepper et al., 2002;Posage et al., 1998)], and reason for dog's surrender [owner's personal problems (Deleeuw, 2010)]. Negative outcomes are reported for large dogs (Posage et al., 1998), dogs with black or brindle coat coloring (Lepper et al., 2002;Posage et al., 1998), dogs associated with the Pit-bull breed (Gunter, Barber, & Wynne, 2016) and dogs with a status of injury (Lepper et al., 2002). ...
... An analysis of the factors which predict the dog's length of stay at shelters, as well as adoption versus euthanasia status, reveals that the dog's age [under 2 years old (Deleeuw, 2010;Lepper, Kass, & Hart, 2002)] is associated with optimal adoption outcomes. Other factors include the dog's breed [Toy, Hound, and purebreds (Deleeuw, 2010;Lepper et al., 2002;Posage, Bartlett, & Thomas, 1998)], size [small (Deleeuw, 2010)], coat color [white, gray, blond, merle, chocolate, tricolored (Lepper et al., 2002;Posage et al., 1998)], and reason for dog's surrender [owner's personal problems (Deleeuw, 2010)]. Negative outcomes are reported for large dogs (Posage et al., 1998), dogs with black or brindle coat coloring (Lepper et al., 2002;Posage et al., 1998), dogs associated with the Pit-bull breed (Gunter, Barber, & Wynne, 2016) and dogs with a status of injury (Lepper et al., 2002). ...
... Other factors include the dog's breed [Toy, Hound, and purebreds (Deleeuw, 2010;Lepper et al., 2002;Posage, Bartlett, & Thomas, 1998)], size [small (Deleeuw, 2010)], coat color [white, gray, blond, merle, chocolate, tricolored (Lepper et al., 2002;Posage et al., 1998)], and reason for dog's surrender [owner's personal problems (Deleeuw, 2010)]. Negative outcomes are reported for large dogs (Posage et al., 1998), dogs with black or brindle coat coloring (Lepper et al., 2002;Posage et al., 1998), dogs associated with the Pit-bull breed (Gunter, Barber, & Wynne, 2016) and dogs with a status of injury (Lepper et al., 2002). ...
Article
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Animal shelters around the US are commonly overpopulated, and canine-specific behavioral rehabilitation opportunities within shelters are limited. The current project explored the possibility of integrating a canine-training program into the academic undergraduate Psychology curriculum. Students enrolled in the “Canine Learning and Behavior” class at Saint Francis University fostered and trained a total of 10 shelter dogs throughout three academic semesters, and the effectiveness of the program on the behavior of the dogs was evaluated. Findings demonstrated that the behavioral repertoire of all trained dogs improved, as assessed using a 10-item questionnaire tailored to the American Kennel Club “Canine Good Citizen” (AKC-CGC) test. Results also demonstrated that most dogs passed the AKC-CGC test conducted by a certified evaluator, and that all dogs were successfully adopted into their forever homes. The implications, limitations, and future directions of the study are discussed.
... Some morphologic and behavioral characteristics of the dog seem to be important for its adoption (Lepper et al., 2002). Posage (1998) reported that purebred dogs, small dogs, and dogs of particular coat colors are more likely adopted than animals with other physical characteristics. Smaller dogs may be more attractive to people looking for a dog that requires comparatively less outdoor activity. ...
... Moreover it is very important to take into consideration the mass of the dog that influences the dangerousness (Dehasse, 2006): small dogs were significantly more likely to be adopted than larger dogs (Posage, 1998). ...
... All the scores in the 4 steps represent the dog adoptability index (DAI), a value indicative of the level of desirability that each dog possesses for its specific characteristics (Posage et al., 1998). ...
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In Italy, a specific law (281/1991) establishes that shelter dogs cannot be euthanized unless dangerous or affected by severe or untreatable diseases. The result of this 'no-kill' policy is that some dogs are kept in shelters for their whole lives. Aim of the research has been to realize a test for adoptability evaluation of shelter dogs, subjecting them to the most common stimuli of urban environment. For the research twenty-six dogs were involved. The dog adoptability evaluation was performed in 4 different steps. Step 1: Evaluation of some important dog characteristics not changeable by a re-education program, such as: age, size, coat colour and dog morphology. Step 2: Information obtained by shelters operators about dog behaviour in the common kennel routine. Step 3: Dog reaction to a direct approach of an unknown person to the shelter fence. Step 4: Last subtest consists of 13 steps based on possible scenarios that approximate/simulate common situations encountered by dogs at home. All the score in the 4 steps represent the dog adoptability index (DAI), a value indicative of the level of desirability that each dog possesses, because of its specific characteristics. On the basis of the DAI obtained scores we created 3 categories: Category 1 - Dogs immediately adoptable (DAI = 80). Category 2 - Dogs with a critic adoptability (60 = DAI = 79). Category 3 - Dogs adoptable with difficulty (DAI = 59). The examined sample had a minimum score of 50.5 and a maximum score of 92.5. 17 of the 26 dogs examined in the present research were adopted. 70% of the dogs adopted belonged to Category 1, 18% to Category 2 and 12% to Category 3. It is very important to identify the problem dogs and subject them to a behavioral modification program as soon as possible to make them adoptable. Only in this way the kennels will become sites for dog redevelopment and will fulfill an important social function, protecting/increasing animal welfare.
... Besides other factors, the coat color of sheltered dogs has also been reported to influence adoption success (Diesel, Smith, & Pfeiffer, 2007;Lepper, Kass, & Hart, 2002;Posage, Bartlett, & Thomas, 1998;Wells & Hepper, 1992). When choosing to adopt a dog, people may spend very little time interacting with the dog, and their choice of a particular dog is likely to be based primarily and initially on physical features of the dog. ...
... Red, merle, and tricolor dogs were preferred over black and tan dogs (Lepper et al., 2002). In Nashua, New Hampshire, gold, gray, and white coat colors were significant predictors of successful adoption (Posage et al., 1998). In Northern Ireland, the dogs who were adopted most frequently were black and white in color; followed by yellow; then solid black; gold; and lastly, black and tan (Wells & Hepper, 1992). ...
... The coat color of sheltered dogs has been reported to influence adoption success (Diesel et al., 2007;Lepper et al., 2002;Posage et al., 1998;Wells & Hepper, 1992). It follows from the results of our study that black dogs are not only more likely to be abandoned by their keepers, but also less likely to be adopted. ...
Article
Coat color influenced the likelihood of a dog being reclaimed from a shelter as well as the length of stay (LOS) of abandoned dogs at the shelter. The shortest LOS was found in brindle and multicolor dogs (median time until adoption: 17 and 18 days, respectively) followed by white, fawn, red, brown, black and tan, and grey dogs. Black dogs had the greatest LOS (median 32 days). In lost dogs, coat color had no significant effect on the time spent at a shelter, the median time until a dog was reclaimed by his/her caretaker being one day, irrespective of the coat color. However, the results of our study suggest that black, brown, and brindle dogs are more likely to be abandoned by their caretakers, and that fawn, black and tan, grey, and red dogs, if lost, have a better chance of being reclaimed by their caretakers.
... Studies indicate high diversity in people's preferred characteristics when selecting companion dogs [4] However, appearance is among the most consistently cited determinant of the decision to purchase or adopt a dog [2,5]. The dog's behavior and temperament [2,6,7], size, breed, age, coat color, health and whether he or she is purebred, neutered or intact [6,[8][9][10] also appear to be important to dog owners and potential adopters. ...
... Studies indicate high diversity in people's preferred characteristics when selecting companion dogs [4] However, appearance is among the most consistently cited determinant of the decision to purchase or adopt a dog [2,5]. The dog's behavior and temperament [2,6,7], size, breed, age, coat color, health and whether he or she is purebred, neutered or intact [6,[8][9][10] also appear to be important to dog owners and potential adopters. ...
... These included breed, appearance, compatibility with owner lifestyle, behavior, genetic health, physical health, cost, experience/reputation of source, and source of the dog. These factors were based on those reported as having varying levels of importance to current and prospective dog owners investigated in previous studies [2,6,8]. Responses of one and two were combined into unimportant and responses of three and four were combined into important. ...
Article
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People's preferences for where they acquire dogs and the characteristics they focus on may provide insight into their perceptions of socially responsible pet ownership, as acquiring a dog is the first step in dog ownership. An online survey of 1523 U.S. residents was used to aid understanding of public perceptions of dog acquisition. Likert-scale questions allowed respondents to assign a level of agreement, within the given scale, to ten statements related to dog acquisition. A significantly higher percentage of women (39.6%) than men (31.7%) agreed that the only responsible way to acquire a dog is through a shelter/rescue. More women (71.3%) than men (66.4%), as well as those with a higher household income (71%), identified source as important. Best-worst methodology was used to elicit perceptions regarding the most/least ethical ways to acquire a dog. Three subgroups were identified, one of which had an overwhelmingly large preference share (96%) for adoption. The second group had more evenly distributed preference shares amongst the various dog acquisition methods, while the third indicated a preference for "homeless" pets. Additional investigation of the values/beliefs underlying the preferences of these groups is necessary to design appropriately tailored companion animal-focused communication strategies for these different groups.
... Hazard ratios for the three heavier bodyweight categories indicated that these dogs are at increased risk of readmission compared with the reference category (<10 kg). It is interesting to note that weight and size also recur as factors associated with an increased length of stay before adoption, and a reason given for returning an adopted dog [33,[49][50][51]. ...
... Coat colour is recognized as a key characteristic influencing the chance of a dog being adopted/time to adoption [35,49,55,56]. Our findings showed that coat colour is also related to risk of readmission. ...
Article
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Not all dog adoptions are successful. This two-year retrospective study used survival (i.e., time-to-event) analyses to investigate readmissions for dogs adopted from RSPCA Queensland shelters between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2020. A better understanding of temporal patterns and risk factors associated with readmission may help RSPCA Queensland shelters better target and tailor resources to improve retention by adopters. The failure function (the cumulative percentage of adoptions that were readmitted by day of the adoption period) increased rapidly during the first 14 days of the adoption period. Approximately two-thirds of all returns occurred in this period. This readmission rate may have been influenced by the RSPCA Queensland adoption-fee refund policy. The cumulative percentage of adoptions that were readmitted plateaued at just under 15%. Dog size, age, coat colour, breed, and spending time in foster before adoption were factors associated with the risk of readmission. Failure functions for a low and a high-risk adoption example demonstrated the large degree of difference in hazard of readmission between covariate patterns, with estimated percentages of adoptions being returned by 90 days for those examples being 2% and 17%, respectively. Spending time in foster care before adoption appears to be protective against readmission, presumably because it supports a successful transition to the new home environment. Behaviour support and training provided for dogs during foster care may contribute to improve their outcomes. These findings highlight the profile of the higher-risk dogs potentially providing shelters with an opportunity to examine where and how resources could be allocated to maximize outcomes for the overall cohort. Population attributable 90-day failure estimates were calculated for each of bodyweight and age at adoption, coat colour, spending time in foster care before adoption, and breed. This calculation shows the expected reduction in the cumulative percentage of dogs readmitted by day 90 if the hazards of readmission for higher risk categories were reduced to those of a lower risk category. Expected reductions for individual factors ranged from 1.8% to 3.6% with one additional estimate of 6.8%. Risk of readmission could be reduced through increased development of foster capacity and capability, targeted interventions, improved adopter-dog matching processes, and more effective targeting of support for higher risk dogs, such as older or larger dogs. Population impact analyses provide a macro view that could assist shelters in strategically assessing the return on investment for various strategies aiming to improve adoption outcomes and potentially reduce readmissions.
... In our study, 77% of the primates for sale were under 2 kg as adults and 95% were under 5 kg. A preference for small animal pets has also, but not universally, been reported for dogs [65][66][67][68]. Posage et al., [67] posit that a preference for small dogs could be because small dogs are easier to control, an idea supported by surveys of dog owners [69], and which would also be true for pet primates. ...
... A preference for small animal pets has also, but not universally, been reported for dogs [65][66][67][68]. Posage et al., [67] posit that a preference for small dogs could be because small dogs are easier to control, an idea supported by surveys of dog owners [69], and which would also be true for pet primates. Also, small versions of other pets, such as Munchkin cats, miniature pigs, and even miniature cows have become more popular [70][71][72][73]. ...
Article
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Our research goal was to investigate the primate pet trade in the United States. While dogs and cats are the most common type of pet, there are an estimated 15,000 pet primates in the United States and the demand for exotic pets in general has been rising. Most research on pet primates occurs in habitat countries and little is known about these pets in the United States. We collected data from six exotic pet-trade websites twice a month for 12 months. We recorded the type of primate for sale, sex, age, location, and price. We used Chi-Square Goodness-of-Fit tests to compare whether the number of male and female pet primates for sale and the number of different age categories of pet primates for sale differed from equality and Spearman Correlation to examine associations between price and size and price and supply. We recorded 551 pet primates for sale between June 2019-June 2020, with 69.1% platyrrhines, 21.6% strepsirrhines, and 8.9% catarrhines. Marmosets were sold most often (36.7%, N = 202) followed by lemurs (21.6%, N = 119), capuchins (11.3%, N = 62), and squirrel monkeys (10.5%, N = 58). Almost two-thirds of the pet primates for sale were male (Chi-Square = 16.056, df = 1, P = 0. 00006) and 78.7% were under one year old (Chi-Square = 440.264, df = 2, P<0.00001). The median price was $3,800 though price was highly variable, even for the same taxa. There are several potential drivers for the primate pet trade, including media influence, fashion/status, and profitable breeding though these are not mutually exclusive. Primates do not make good pets and even when captive-bred, pet primates impact the conservation of their wild counterparts. Advertisement campaigns focusing on disease transmission and legal consequences and a federal ban on pet primate ownership are two avenues to pursue to end the ownership of pet primates in the United States.
... Additional phenotypes and characteristics such as age group and coat color have also been found to affect shelter dog euthanasia. Several researchers have identified black or dark coated dogs as having an increased risk of euthanasia [6][7][8]. Another study asked potential adopters to rank photographs of shelter dogs from most attractive to least attractive. They found that dogs which were eventually adopted were ranked as the most attractive, and the ones eventually euthanized were ranked as least attractive [9]. ...
... Another interesting finding from this study was the identification of a region by size interaction. Previous studies have shown that larger dogs are more likely to be euthanized [7], and that some regions are more likely to euthanize larger dogs than others [4]. However, no study has described an interaction between size and region. ...
Article
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The objective of this study was to identify phenotypic characteristics predicting the outcome of euthanasia for dogs entering shelters compared to live release. Individual dog records for 2017 were requested from shelters in five states (Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, and Oklahoma) receiving municipal funding and using electronic records. Duplicate dogs were removed and records from 17 shelters were merged into a dataset of 25,047 unique dogs with variables of breed, gender, coat color, size, age, region, and time in shelter. Only data from dogs with the potential to be adopted (n = 19,514) were analyzed. From these data, a simple random sample of 6200 dogs was used for modelling. Variables describing coat length, estimated adult size, and skull type were imputed from the breed description. A Cox proportional hazard model with a random effect of shelter was developed for the outcome of euthanasia using manual forward variable selection and significance for variable retention at alpha = 0.05. A size by geographic region interaction was associated with the hazard of euthanasia (p = 0.0204). Additionally, age group and skull type were both associated with euthanasia compared to live release (p < 0.0001). The results of this study indicate that phenotypic characteristics of dogs are predictive of their hazard for euthanasia in shelters.
... For instance, one study states that small dogs have the shortest LOS, but medium dogs have the longest [12]. Another study found that small dogs were more likely to be adopted than large dogs [9]. However, these studies do not identify a change in risk of adoption as LOS increases. ...
... This study demonstrates that imputed phenotypes such as skull type, predicted adult size, or coat length may be more predictive of outcome than breed or breed group alone. Previous studies have identified breed as a primary factor affecting shelter dog outcome, with some researchers finding that purebred dogs were more likely to be adopted than mixed breed dogs [10], that breed groups such as lap dogs, cocker spaniels, giant companion breeds, and "ratters" were more likely to be adopted compared to large companion breeds [8], and that toy, terrier, hound, and nonsporting breed groups were more adoptable than comparison groups [9]. Because the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed groups are phenotypically variable [34], it is often difficult to standardize phenotypes of such groups accurately and, therefore, it is likely that each shelter employee may identify the breed and purebred status of dogs entering the shelter differently. ...
Article
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The objective of this study was to identify phenotypic characteristics of dogs predictive of adoption after being received into a shelter. Individual dog records for 2017 were requested from shelters in five states that received municipal funding and utilized electronic record keeping methods. Records from 17 shelters were merged into a dataset of 19,514 potentially adoptable dogs. A simple random sample of 4500 dogs was used for modelling. Variables describing coat length, estimated adult size, and skull type were imputed from breed phenotype. A Cox proportional hazard model with a random effect of shelter was developed for the outcome of adoption using manual forward variable selection. Significance for model inclusion was set at alpha = 0.05. Dogs from shelters in the North were more likely to be adopted than dogs from shelters in the South (hazard ratio (HR) = 3.13, 95% C.I. 1.27–7.67), as were dogs from Western shelters versus those from Southern shelters (HR = 3.81, 95% C.I. 1.43–10.14). The effect of estimated adult size, skull type, and age group on adoption were each modified by time in the shelter (p < 0.001). The results of this study indicate that what dogs look like is predictive of their hazard for adoption from shelters, but the effect of some characteristics on hazard for adoption depend on time in the shelter. Further, this study demonstrates that adopters prefer a certain phenotype of shelter dog including those that are puppies, small sized and not brachycephalic, when accounting for time in the sheltering environment.
... Putting aside the question of whether dogs should be bred at all, those seeking dogs typically desire specific characteristics. Appearance is among the most consistently cited determinant of the decision to purchase or adopt a dog (Weiss et al., 2012;Brown et al., 2013), while behavior and temperament (Posage et al., 1998;Weiss et al., 2012;Protopopova & Wynne, 2014;Protopopova et al., 2014), size, breed, age, coat color, health and purebred status are high on people's lists of preferred characteristics (Posage et al., 1998;Lepper et al., 2002, Diesel et al., 2007Svoboda and Hoffman, 2015). Clearly, breeders are uniquely positioned to meet such needs and may be in a better position to do so in the volume needed to match supply than are shelters. ...
... Putting aside the question of whether dogs should be bred at all, those seeking dogs typically desire specific characteristics. Appearance is among the most consistently cited determinant of the decision to purchase or adopt a dog (Weiss et al., 2012;Brown et al., 2013), while behavior and temperament (Posage et al., 1998;Weiss et al., 2012;Protopopova & Wynne, 2014;Protopopova et al., 2014), size, breed, age, coat color, health and purebred status are high on people's lists of preferred characteristics (Posage et al., 1998;Lepper et al., 2002, Diesel et al., 2007Svoboda and Hoffman, 2015). Clearly, breeders are uniquely positioned to meet such needs and may be in a better position to do so in the volume needed to match supply than are shelters. ...
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As the dog’s popularity as a human companion has grown, demand for purebred dogs has likewise escalated. Commercial breeding of dogs, which currently helps to meet such demands has become a point of social contention. The co-evolution of dogs and humans and the unique, familial relationships people have developed with them suggest that they are owed special consideration of their needs and interests that is independent of their utility to humans. Not surprisingly, opposition to commercial breeding enterprises has increased dramatically in the past decade in the US and abroad, spawning a growing number of legislative initiatives aimed at regulating such operations, which are widely believed to harm dogs. Among the most significant ethical problems embedded in commercial dog breeding are the potential for insults to the human-dog bond, failure to duly consider and meet duties of care to dogs, including dogs’ welfare needs and interests, and insufficient regulation of dog care standards. The shortage of published science on the actual conditions experienced by dogs in commercial breeding kennels complicates understanding of the nature and severity of problems as well as solutions. It is argued that despite the concerns associated with commercial dog breeding, abolishing the practice without identifying an ethically preferable alternative that meets demands could result in even worse consequences for dogs. Given this problem, commercial breeding could be ethically defensible under conditions that vastly reduce or eliminate potential for dog suffering, and with strict regulatory oversight of corresponding standards of care for dogs.
... housing space, maintanence costs, and physical strength). The effect of size on the dog's adoption potential is consistent across studies with small dogs being adopted more readily than larger dogs (Posage et al. 1998;Marston et al. 2005;Brown et al. 2013;Siettou et al. 2014;Zak et al. 2015). However, the authors did not consider the adopter's gender. ...
... No effect of coat colour on the choice criteria in adopting a shelter dog was reported by Brown et al. (2013), although the authors admitted it was unexpected. In most studies, the coat colour of shelter dogs has been reported to influence adoption success (Posage et al. 1998;Lepper et al. 2002;Diesel et al. 2007;Goleman et al. 2014;Voslarova et al. 2019), although there is no consistency in the preferred and unfavoured coat colours across the studies. Brown et al. (2013) suggested that the coat colour may have only a local effect that does not generalize to all shelters. ...
Article
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A retrospective analysis of dog adoption records was performed with the aim to determine the differences in preferences of male and female adopters in the Czech Republic. From January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2016, 955 dogs were adopted out of a selected shelter. Significantly ( P = 0.03) more dogs were adopted by women than by men (52.6% vs 47.4%, respectively). No preference ( P = 0.06) for adopting a dog of the same or opposite sex as the adopter’s was found. Women adopted more ( P = 0.02) small dogs and men more ( P = 0.004) large dogs, while the adoption rate of medium dogs did not differ ( P = 0.16) between men and women. Significantly more ( P = 0.05) older dogs were adopted by women than by men. With the exception of brown dogs (adopted more often by women) and black dogs with dark markings (adopted more often by men), dogs with different coat colors were adopted equally by men and women. No difference was found between the ratio of crossbred and purebred dogs adopted by men and women. This study fills gaps in scientific knowledge on adopters’ preferences. Women are more willing to adopt dogs including those that may require special care (older dogs). However, women are less likely to adopt large dogs. The lower number of male adopters may be the reason why large dogs are often reported to be difficult to rehome. To remedy this, shelter operators should explore ways how to address men if they have large dogs available for adoption.
... According to one database, live release (i.e., rehoming vs. euthanasia or natural death) for dogs after admission to shelters across the US is reported to be quite variable [13], but factors contributing to these differences, including return to owner and transfer to rescue, have received limited attention. For example, in 1998, Posage et al. [14] examined owner-completed intake questionnaires from 1468 dogs relinquished at a single open-admission shelter serving an urban population in Ohio. They reported that small size, being purebred, male sex, having lighter coat colors, and absence of health problems were significant predictors of adoption, but in a multivariate model, the factors they identified explained less than 5% of the variance in survival. ...
... The first was that dogs returned from adoption (n = 816) were almost all subsequently re-adopted (n = 695, 85.2%, median LOS four days) or placed in interim foster care or transferred to a rescue group (n = 76, 9.3%). Adoption returns are considered quite pejoratively in the shelter community (the so-called "failed adoption" [14,34,35]), but, in this study, at least based on live release outcomes, there was no evidence that dogs were adversely affected by the experience of being temporarily rehomed. Indeed, the experience may have been more akin to a foster situation, in that the dogs were removed to a home environment and there was an opportunity to gather updated information about the dog's real behavior and needs. ...
Article
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Better understanding of factors contributing to live release (rehoming) may help shelters improve outcomes. In this cross-sectional, exploratory, non-interventional study, data for all intakes (n = 21,409) for dogs eligible for rehoming from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2016 are analyzed to identify such factors. Live release was >88%. A total of 1510 (7.1%) dogs interacted with the foster care system, 98.9% of whom had live release. Foster care increased the odds of live release by about five-fold for all dogs (odds ratio (OR) 5.30 (95% confidence interval (CI): 3.13; 8.97), p < 0.001) and by >20-fold for adult dogs (OR 22.2 (95% CI: 5.48; 90.2), p < 0.001) compared to first-time owner-surrendered dogs. Dogs returned from foster care had a 70% reduction in health concerns, as judged by intake staff, compared with dogs sent to foster. In addition to saving 2882 lives, the rescue network utilized by this shelter was estimated as having reduced in-shelter care needs by 13,409 animal care-days over two years. Dogs returned from adoption also had increased odds of live release (OR 4.74 (95% CI: 3.02; 7.44), p < 0.0001). Nearly a third (29.6%) of dogs originally brought in by owners for euthanasia were determined to be potentially savable, and a fifth of the original group (21.1%) were ultimately placed. Less than 4% of dogs presented with behavioral concerns at intake. It remains to be determined whether other large, open intake shelters performing animal control can replicate these results.
... Reasons for returning an adopted dog to the shelter Once adopted, dogs face the risk of being returned to the animal shelter. An average return rate of adopted dogs across the US, UK, and Italy is approximately 15% (Posage et al 1998;Marston et al 2004;Mondelli et al 2004;Diesel et al 2008) while Australia's adopters return their dogs about half as often (Marston et al 2004). Approximately 35 to 50% of these dogs are returned within 2 weeks to 1 month after adoption (Shore 2005;Diesel et al 2008;Gunter et al in press). ...
... It is possible that this difference in perception of behaviour as problematic or not is due to cultural differences of the human populations rather than different study methodologies. Another example of a potential cultural effect is evident in the percentage of adopted dogs returned to the shelters; Australian adopters return dogs half as often as adopters in the US, UK, and Italy (Posage et al 1998;Marston et al 2004;Mondelli et al 2004;Diesel et al 2008). Furthermore, most studies are conducted in only one region and never replicated, making generalisations impossible. ...
Article
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Each year, nearly 4 million dogs will enter one of over 13,000 animal shelters operating in the United States. We review programmes implemented at shelters aimed at increasing the likelihood of adoption. The morphology of shelter dogs plays a large role in in-kennel adopter selection, but their behaviour is also influential in out-of-kennel adopter interactions. Previous studies suggest that dogs have the ability to readily learn new behaviours at the shelter, and programmes designed to improve behaviour of the dogs can increase adoption rates. Whilst human interaction has been well-established to improve behavioural and physiological outcomes of dogs living in shelters, analysis of the effects of sensory, environmental, and social-conspecific enrichment has not resulted in clear conclusions. We also review the literature on the relinquishment of owned dogs and return rates of previously adopted dogs. Whilst owner-and dog-related risks to relinquishment are discussed, we show that there is a notable lack of research into programmes that address issues that may prevent the initial surrender of dogs to shelters, or that could prevent re-relinquishment. It is likely that factors, unrelated to the dog, play a larger role than previously believed. Suggestions for further research include multi-site studies, investigations into the efficacy of in-shelter enrichment programmes, predictive validity of behavioural assessments, understanding of adopter behaviour at the shelter, and programmes within the community focused on keeping dogs in their homes.
... Dogs' features are known to affect people feelings and behaviour towards them and even towards their handlers . For instance, several studies have shown that small and medium size dogs are adopted more frequently than those of larger size, probably because they are deemed easier to manage (Posage et al., 1998;Patronek et al., 1995). Moreover, DeLeeuw (2010) has shown that the prevision of adoption from dog shelters is lower for large and dark dogs, conveying the impression of being dangerous, threatening and uncontrollable; whereas small white dogs are mentioned as being peaceful and harmless (Posage et al., 1998;Duffy et al., 2008;DeLeeuw, 2010). ...
... For instance, several studies have shown that small and medium size dogs are adopted more frequently than those of larger size, probably because they are deemed easier to manage (Posage et al., 1998;Patronek et al., 1995). Moreover, DeLeeuw (2010) has shown that the prevision of adoption from dog shelters is lower for large and dark dogs, conveying the impression of being dangerous, threatening and uncontrollable; whereas small white dogs are mentioned as being peaceful and harmless (Posage et al., 1998;Duffy et al., 2008;DeLeeuw, 2010). ...
Article
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The aim of this study was to evaluate if dog’s size affects owners’ behavior and attitude during dog walking. Owners completed a questionnaire on personal information about dogs, and owners’ behavior and attitude towards the intraspecific socialisation of their own dog. Two hundred and forty adult dogs of different breeds, balanced for sex, got involved in this study. Dogs were assigned to one of three groups depending on the size of animal: first group, small dogs = less than 10 kg, second group and medium dogs = between 10 and 20 kg, third group, large dogs = over 20 kg. Chi- square test was used to identify whether owners of dogs belonging to different size groups (small, medium and large) had a different attitude or behavior towards their own dogs. The owners of the three groups of dogs, while walking their own dog, behaved differently when meeting a small unfamiliar dog (p=0.022) or a large unfamiliar dog (p=0.049). In owners’ opinion, small dogs represented the size group who was more fearful of both smaller (p=0.062) and larger dogs (p<0.001). Owners of small dogs were those who less frequently allowed their dogs to play unleashed with other dogs (p=0.002) and more frequently believed that their dogs did not need to socialise with other dogs (p=0.002). In summary, when meeting another dog, dog owners behaved very differently one from the other according to the size of the owned dog. According to these results, behaviorists should emphasize the importance of intraspecific socialisa- tion to people who own or are going to acquire a small dog.
... However, human attitudes toward animals can be affected by sociocultural aspects or individual differences (Diverio and Tami, 2014;Dotson and Hyatt, 2008;Kubinyi et al., 2009). Moreover, the behavior and other attributes of the animal, like its cognitive skills and appearance, can affect human perceptions and attachment (Posage et al., 1998;Serpell, 1996;2004;Weiss et al., 2012). ...
... Regarding the unimportance of type and coat color, our findings diverge from the study by Posage et al. (1998) and Weiss et al. (2012), who demonstrated the importance of these physical characteristics as choice criteria for adopting a shelter dog. A possible explanation for this discrepancy is that a priori thoughts (i.e., image of ideal dog) clash with post factum intentions: when an adopter chooses a dog, it may seem that a visually attractive dog draws his attention more than an ordinary looking dog, for reasons other than the dog's visual appearance. ...
Article
The prevailing feeling of Italians towards animals is positive and based on respect. Dogs are often perceived as family members and, providing social support, can improve human health. However, the mutually beneficial relationship between human and dog can break, as demonstrated by animals being abandoned to shelters. Rupture of the bond between owner and dog may be due to a lack of correspondence between the owner's conception of an “ideal” dog and reality. The aim of this study was to investigate demographic, morphological and behavioural characteristics important to the Italian public in their “ideal dog”, using a questionnaire previously administered to the Australian public. Data were collected from 770 volunteers (74.3% female) aged 18-64 years. Physical characteristics were not important in defining the “ideal dog” but the percentage of Italians reporting to prefer a de-sexed dog (35%) was much lower compared to the Australian public (64%). In particular, most Italian men preferred a male entire dog (68%, P < 0.001). Italian women were more willing to spend time with their dog than Italian males. Most people indicated that the cost of maintaining a dog was unimportant, but the majority of dog owners reportedly spent less than 21 € per week (70%, P < 0.001). Consistent with the Australian data, the “ideal dog” for Italians should be safe with children, housetrained, healthy, friendly with humans and other animals, long-lived and obedient. Principal Component Analysis condensed ideal behavioural traits into five components, explaining 47.9% of the total variance: calm, sociable and healthy, well trained and adaptable, energetic, easy to manage. Analysis of variance revealed that men preferred an energetic dog (P < 0.001) and participants living with children a sociable and healthy dog. Older adults (P < 0.001), dog owners (P < 0.001), and participants living alone (P < 0.05) perceived training to be important in the “ideal dog”. Dog owners also preferred a dog that is easy to manage (P < 0.05). In conclusion, gender, previous experiences, prejudices on neutering, and attitude toward the animals may affect expectations of respondents regarding the “ideal dog”. The gaps between ideal and real dogs highlighted in this study should be further investigated. These might be reduced by promoting an adequate education of potential dog owners about dogs’ physiology and ethology, and of the positive effects of training activities on dogs’ behaviour.
... Neither did we find breed to be an adoption criterion that led to greater or less eventual owner satisfaction. This is in distinction from the results of a study by Posage et al. [49] who found that certain breeds, including toys and terriers, were more successfully adopted. ...
Article
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Personal likes, experience, and deep-rooted interests to satisfy emotional needs such as companionship, affection, empathy, and security are some of the underlying human motivations for acquiring a pet companion. In this study, we asked how long the owner took to decide whether to adopt a dog, who their dog was adopted from, their primary motivation for adoption, a ranking of characteristics considered during the adoption process, and how satisfied they were with the eventual outcome. Participants (n = 933) to this Center for Canine Behavior Studies survey completed an online questionnaire with responses representing 1537 dog/owner pairs. A majority of participants reported satisfaction with at least one of their adopted dogs. Odds of eventual satisfaction are higher for participants who spent less than a week considering an adoption or were seeking a pet to provide companionship and affection. Participants that prioritized personality as an adoption criteria were more likely to be satisfied with their adopted dogs. A mast majority (91%) of participants reported they would consider adopting another dog in the future. Selection criteria rankings that participants indicated they would employ for future adoptions tended to shift away from physical to behavior characteristics when compared to selection criteria priorities of prior adoptions.
... While the origin of BDS appears to be based on anecdotal evidence, over the past decade there has been an increase in studies testing this theory directly, with mixed results. Posage et al. (1998) analyzed data from a single US animal shelter and found that black-coated dogs were more likely to be euthanatized than gold, gray, and white-coated ones. In the Czech Republic, dogs with black coats had the greatest length of stay in a shelter and were the most frequently abandoned by owners (Voslarova et al., 2019). ...
Article
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.
... Our search in the animal shelter literature reveals that most research in this area do not adopt prescriptive models and focus mostly on empirical studies that investigate the impact of various qualitative factors on adoptions and euthanizations. For example, Posage, Bartlett and Thomas (1998) find that small size, certain breeds, and coat colors are associated with a successful adoption. Others study the impact of factors such as age, coat, breed, purebred status on euthanization ( Lepper, Kass & Hart, 2002 ;Patronek, Glickman & Moyer, 1995 ), or length of stay ( Brown & Morgan, 2015 ). ...
Article
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately 23% of the animals that enter shelters each year are euthanized. Many animal shelters strive to reduce euthanization and the stray animal population through capacity expansion, adoption increasing programs, and mergers. In this paper, we define, compare and perform sensitivity analysis of performance metrics for animal shelter involving loss queues. We ultimately provide recommendations for animal shelters on the most efficient investments, and analyze the effects of mergers and capacity expansion on various performance metrics. We represent animal shelters by utilizing loss queues with and without reneging and perform sensitivity analysis by calculating the asymptotic expansion of the performance metrics for various cases. We find that the euthanization in traditional shelters is not monotonically decreasing with increases in the demand for animals. A counterintuitive result shows that increasing the capacity in a traditional shelter (or merging two traditional shelters together) does not necessarily decrease the number of animals euthanized. Our results related to the performance metrics Erlang loss queues can be utilized for any type of queuing system with involuntary departures.
... Turcsán, Miklósi, Kubinyi, and Pellis (2017) suggested that purebred dogs are considered calmer and more trainable, likely also reducing relinquishment compared to mixed breeds and crossbreeds. Within the rehoming center environment, purebred dogs are likely to be rehomed more quickly than crossbreed and mixed-breed dogs (Diesel, Smith, & Pfeiffer, 2007;Posage, Bartlett, & Thomas, 1998). This may mean that more effort is needed to increase the appeal of mixed-breed dogs. ...
Article
Rescue centers remain a common means of rehoming a dog. There is a paucity of research into the composition of rescue center populations and its potential reflection of increased popularity of brachycephalic breeds. The study investigated changes in rescue center demographics from 2015 to 2018, compared to the wider dog population. Dogs on 16 rehoming centers’ websites were recorded weekly from June 2015 for 8 weeks and replicated from June 2018. Data were collected on 1793 dogs across the centers. Over 50% of which were classified as purebred in both years. Over 80% of the dogs were categorized into 24 breeds or breed crosses. Dogs categorized as brachycephalic increased from 24 (2.76%) in 2015 to 48 (5.19%) in 2018. Subadult dogs (3–4 years) were most prevalent in both years. While sex, breed type, and age of the rehoming center population has remained relatively stable, breeds are changing. Whilst low, brachycephalic numbers doubled in 3 years, mirroring their rising popularity within the UK, impacting on rehoming centres and prospective new owners with additional costs of brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome surgery.
... Large dog size was chosen 14 (26.9%) times, which contradicts previous research findings that small dogs are more often preferred by potential adopters (Siettou, et al., 2014), have a shorter length of stay at animal shelters (Brown, Davidson, & Zuefle, 2013), and are correlated with more successful adoptions (Posage, Bartlett, & Thomas, 1998). However, it is important to explore this finding in more depth considering that housing restrictions may place barriers in allowing people to own the large size dogs they prefer. ...
Article
This pilot study was conducted to expand the understanding of the attitudes informing pet acquisition preferences and the barriers to pet ownership in Austin, TX, specifically by developing and testing a survey instrument to assess sources of pet acquisition. By understanding more about pet acquisition history, pet preference, and social influences, this study can inform the strategies employed by shelters in the Austin area to increase rates of adoption.
... Co ciekawe, nawet jeśli jakiś gatunek, na przykład pies, oceniany jest wysoko w obu wymiarach, to oceny nasze tworzą pewną wewnątrzgatunkową hierarchię -jedne psy lubimy i cenimy bardziej, inne mniej. Okazało się na przykład, że w schroniskach psy o niższym statusie (mieszańce) są prawie dwukrotnie częściej poddawane eutanazji niż psy rasowe -częściej oceniane przez ludzi jako lepsze 74 . ...
... However, among dogs there exists a broad diversity of phenotypic variation that affects how dogs are perceived in terms of temperament and behavior. Breed biases and stereotypes are pervasive [29] with breed status affecting adoption [30,31] and breed-specific legislation directed at particular breeds. ...
Article
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Humans do not respond to the pain of all humans equally; physical appearance and associated group identity affect how people respond to the pain of others. Here we ask if a similar differential response occurs when humans evaluate different individuals of another species. Beliefs about pain in pet dogs (Canis familiaris) provide a powerful test, since dogs vary so much in size, shape, and color, and are often associated with behavioral stereotypes. Using an on-line survey, we asked both the general public and veterinarians to rate pain sensitivity in 28 different dog breeds, identified only by their pictures. We found that both the general public and veterinarians rated smaller dogs (i.e. based on height and weight) as being more sensitive to pain; the general public respondents rated breeds associated with breed specific legislation as having lower pain sensitivity. While there is currently no known physiological basis for such breed-level differences, over 90% of respondents from both groups indicated belief in differences in pain sensitivity among dog breeds. We discuss how these results inform theories of human social discrimination and suggest that the perception of breed-level differences in pain sensitivity may affect the recognition and management of painful conditions in dogs.
... Using body mass as the measure of body size, I found that large dogs were more likely to be returned than small and medium dogs. Similar results have been obtained by Marston et al. [12], Diesel et al. [14], and Posage et al. [25]; suggested explanations for the observed pattern include the greater costs, space needs, and exercise requirements of large dogs, as well as the increased challenges of managing any behavioral issues. Interestingly, in the present study, the body size by resource guarding status interaction was not significant in the analysis of factors affecting likelihood of return, indicating that returns of food aggressive dogs to the Tompkins shelter did not vary by size of dog (e.g., adopters were not more likely to return large food aggressive dogs than small food aggressive dogs). ...
Article
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Some domestic dogs aggressively guard resources. Canine resource guarding impacts public health through dog bites and affects dog welfare through adoption and euthanasia policies at animal shelters. However, little is known about the demographic characteristics and adoption success of dogs assessed as resource guarders during shelter behavioral evaluations. I reviewed nearly five years of records from a New York (NY) SPCA and categorized 1016 dogs by sex; age; size; reproductive status; and resource guarding. I then examined how these characteristics influenced the returns of dogs by adopters. The prevalence of resource guarding in this shelter dog population was 15%. Resource guarding was more common in adult and senior dogs than in juvenile dogs; and it was more common in small and large dogs than medium-sized dogs. Spayed females were more likely than intact females to guard food; neutered males and intact males did not differ in their likelihood of food guarding. Most dogs identified as resource guarders showed mild to moderate guarding. Severe guarders were more likely to be returned by adopters; although almost all were eventually re-adopted and not returned to the shelter. Data presented here provide the most comprehensive description of resource guarders in a shelter dog population and show the successful re-homing of most.
... Factors affecting owners' dog-breed perceptions and choices at the time of acquisition are shaped by dog-related, owner-related, and social factors. At the time of acquisition, physical appearance, temperament (Nemcova & Novak, 2003), and utilization/function (Posage, Bartlett, & Thomas, 1998;Protopopova et al., 2012) are the most important dog-related criteria involved in the decision-making process as there is wide variability in morphology (Weiss, Miller, Mohan-Gibbons, & Vela, 2012) and temperament among dog breeds. Apart from the dog-related factors, social influences, such as popular media, have an impact on peoples' dog-breed choices. ...
Article
The aim of this study was to identify factors affecting dog owners’ breed choices at the time of acquisition and whether they were associated with socio-demographics and dog-related variables (size, temperament, function). Answers (n = 581) to a questionnaire formed the data for this study. In order to determine which factors affected breed choice, a principal component analysis (PCA) was conducted. This revealed that owners were influenced by adaptation ability, social influence, working expectation, and breed characteristics at the time of dog acquisition, all of which explained 54.8% of the total variance. In order to determine the relationships between these influences, demographics, and dog-related factors, both univariate and multiple regression analyses were conducted. It was found that gender, education level, housing type, number of children, having another pet, and owners’ self-classification of professionalism were significantly associated with the factors affecting owners’ choices. Furthermore, dog-related factors were found to be a better predictor than the demographics of the owner in determining the factors affecting breed choices.
... The factors influencing adoption rates and the length of stay of dogs in the shelters were dealt with by a number of foreign authors [2,[7][8][9][10][11][12]; the same is true for cats [13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20]. The tendency to compare the factors influencing adoption and the length of stay in the shelter for both species has been recorded [21][22][23], however, the results of a statistical analysis of interspecific comparisons within the same region and the observed residence time of animals in shelters have not been published yet. ...
Article
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Animal protection, which also comprises the subject of abandoned and stray animals, has become a pressing and widely discussed topic. The aim of this study was to compare dogs and cats from two shelters in a selected region of the Czech Republic, based on factors that affect the length of stay. The following factors were analyzed: outcome, sex, age, and purebred status. A total of 419 cats and 2580 dogs housed in the monitored shelters from 2013 to 2016 were included in the analysis. The results show that dogs (n = 1343; 52.1%) are returned to their owners significantly more often (p < 0.001) than cats (n = 10; 2.4%). Dogs stayed in the shelter significantly (p < 0.001) less time than cats regardless of the outcome (the median length of stay of dogs were 3 days, while that of cats was 51 days). Also the length of stay in the shelter until adoption is shorter in dogs than in cats (dogs: median 27 days; cats: median 53 days). Median length of stay tended to increase with the increasing age in both species. Monitored age categories of dogs and cats differed significantly (p < 0.05) in their median length of stay (LOS) until adoption. We found that purebred status does not affect the length of stay in the shelter until adoption, either in dogs or in cats. Overall, our results suggest that dogs are preferred over cats in the Czech Republic. Shelter operators should take into account this aspect affecting animal adoption. By targeted efforts and education of public, it is possible to mitigate the negative effects of favoring a certain category of animals over others.
... Weiss, Miller, Mohan-Gibbons, & Vela, 2012). Light-in-color, purebred, small, and young dogs are more likely to be adopted and/or stay in shelters for shorter periods of time prior to adoption (DeLeeuw, 2010;Lepper, Kass, & Hart, 2002;Posage, Bartlett, & Thomas, 1998). Stray (as opposed to owner-relinquished) animals are also often preferred, due to perceptions that ownerrelinquished animals may be more prone to behavior problems (DeLeeuw, 2010, but see Wells & Hepper, 1992). ...
Article
Humans often say they prefer certain attributes and trait levels and yet choose options inconsistent with those preferences, a phenomenon known as the stated–revealed preference gap. In this article, we compare preferences and choices in the decision to adopt a dog, a social-choice problem that is largely one-sided. We used existing and newly gathered field data about the dog adoption process to study how people make their choices of companion animals and how those choices can be improved. We found that in the real-world choice of dogs within an animal shelter, individuals generally showed a large amount of overlap between their stated preferences and their ratings of the traits of their chosen dog. However, there was little relationship between an adopter’s perceptions of their chosen dog’s behavioral traits and third-party in-shelter behavior evaluations of the same dogs, suggesting that it is difficult to predict which dogs will satisfy an adopter’s preferences. We also tested which commonly collected factors impact how quickly dogs are adopted from animal shelters. Overall, this work provides insight into the process of combining experimentally collected data and big data to elucidate choice behavior. Full-text publicly available to read without a subscription via Springer at: https://bit.ly/2QSNdQ4
... Indeed, if anything should be surprising, it is that most adoptions succeed so well, given the number of variables in play and the limited amount of time available to devote to any individual adoption. Typical return rates published from studies in the United States and United Kingdom seem to fluctuate around 14% (Bollen and Horowitz, 2008;Diesel et al., 2008b;Posage et al., 1998) although one Australian study of more than 4,400 dogs reported returns of only 7.22% (Marston et al., 2004) and a study from the United Kingdom indicated 36 returns/556 completed surveys (Wells and Hepper, 2000). It should also be noted, when considering these statistics, that the duration of time after adoption for which a surrendered dog would be considered returned could vary substantially. ...
Article
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Conversations with stakeholders, as well as remarks in the literature, suggest that there may be confusion about what can be concluded when a canine behavior evaluation has been described as being “validated,” “reliable,” or “predictive.” To assess the evidence, we searched PubMed and ScienceDirect using the terms “canine,” “behavior evaluation,” “temperament test,” and “shelter” to identify articles that assessed the validity or reliability of evaluations based on battery of tests used or intended for screening shelter dogs for behavior labeled aggressive and/or for adoption suitability. Despite 25+ years of publications, including solid studies performed under good to ideal conditions by skilled investigators, findings indicate there is no evidence that any canine behavior evaluation or individual subtest has come close to meeting accepted standards justifying claims that it is validated for routine use in shelters. Furthermore, the mean reported false-positive error rate in study populations was 35.1%, whereas in more typical shelter populations, it was estimated at 63.8%. We propose that the discrepancy between the actual state of the science and what people assume has been accomplished is primarily due to the following: [1] confusion from mixing colloquial with scientific uses of words such as “validated,” “predictive,” “reliable,” and “agreement”; [2] the limitations of correlation and regression as statistical methods for demonstrating agreement or predictive ability; [3] failure to account for the difference between predictive validity of an instrument in populations of dogs in a research exercise versus predictive ability and error rate for individual dogs in real-world settings; [4] conflating statistical significance with clinical significance; and, as a result of 1-4 aforementioned, [5] conferring overall validation status, despite the results of studies being much more circumscribed. Given their published error rates, one explanation may be that behavior evaluations lack basic face validity and/or a clear focus as to what is being measured and its relevance to postadoption outcomes. This argues against use of any behavior evaluation to make important decisions for shelter dogs, especially if the behavior(s) of concern were only observed during provocative testing. These findings indicate an opportunity to acknowledge what has been learned and bring together all stakeholders to consider the real needs of shelter dogs and what the future might look like.
... This is what this study attempted to do with the 30 sheltered dogs coming from the shelter of Roccasicura: creating a positive environment for both dogs and staff, in order to allow dogs to become more suitable as pets, thus giving them a better chance to be adopted. In fact, although some physical characteristics would favor the adoption from shelters (Lepper, Kass, & Hart, 2002;Posage, Thomas, & Barlett, 1998;, to the best of our knowledge, it seems that adoptions based on physical and breed parameters alone does not guarantee the adoption will be successful. On the contrary, positive behavioral skills could be helpful in increasing the dogs' appeal for adoption (Protopopova & Wynne, 2014). ...
Article
The overpopulation of shelters and the increase of homeless dogs have become serious problems in many countries. One contributor to the number of both sheltered and homeless dogs is the abandonment and relinquishment of pet dogs by their owners for different reasons – in many cases depending on dogs’ undesirable or problematic behaviors. Luckily, the behavioral characteristics of a dog are, to some extent, modifiable parameters. The aim of this study was to train the dogs housed in a garden shelter in Italy to become suitable as pets by becoming familiar to different tools and situations that they could encounter in a domestic setting through a customized educational path based on social and environmental enrichment. Shelters can hardly afford the expenses for administering training to dogs. The problem could be overcome by engaging the best graduating students attending referenced training schools, whose mission is to train professionals with high theoretical and practical skills. Shelters’ administrators should choose referenced schools only, that teach positive training methods respectful of animals and that support the human–animal bond.
... This could be due to the darker color of the Cane Corso than the Jack Russell Terrier or White Shepherd. Some studies report that darker dogs are adopted from shelters slower than paler colored dogs: (Lepper, Kass, & Hart, 2002;Posage, Bartlett, & Thomas, 1998;Wells & Hepper, 1992); though this effect is not found at all shelters (Protopopova, Gilmour, Weiss, Shen, & Wynne, 2012). The Cane Corso might also be considered a more aggressive-looking breed than the other two tested here. ...
Article
The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is characterized by greatly reduced parenting investment compared with the wild type wolf (C. l. lupus) from which it is descended. Unlike wolf pups, which are reared by both parents into their second year of life, dog pups are abandoned by their mother at weaning around eight weeks of age. This relatively small parental involvement may contribute to the high pup mortality observed in dogs not living as pets. We hypothesized that people would find dog pups most attractive around weaning age when conspecific parental care is significantly reduced and pup mortality rate is high. Younger and older pups would benefit less from human intervention because in the former case the mother is providing care, and in the latter their survival is already compromised. To test this hypothesis, 51 participants rated the attractiveness of 39 black and white headshot photographs presented on a computer screen of dog pups from three breeds (Jack Russell Terrier, Cane Corso, and White Shepherd), from birth to 7 months old. In line with our hypothesis, attractiveness of Cane Corsos peaked at 6.3 weeks of age; Jack Russell Terriers’ attractiveness peaked at 7.7 weeks; and White Shepherds were most attractive at 8.3 weeks. There were also differences in attractiveness between the breeds, with Cane Corsos rated less attractive than the other two breeds. If this attractiveness motivates humans to care for the dog pups and thereby improves pup survival, this could confer significant advantages to dogs, and may contribute to our understanding of the process of domestication.
... This finding is confirmed by Brown et al. (2013), who found that medium-sized dogs had the longest length of stay in shelters, while extremely small dogs and puppies stayed in shelters the shortest time of all. Posage et al. (1998) also showed that the small size of dogs was a significant indicator of successful adoption. Similarly, in a study conducted in the UK, Siettou et al. (2014) found that potential adopters preferred smaller dogs to larger ones. ...
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Certain factors associated with the characteristics of sheltered dogs can be important in the adoption process. This study focused on the sex, age, and size of abandoned dogs in Czech shelters. Abandoned male dogs remained significantly longer in shelters (median 27 days) compared to abandoned females (median 21 days). With respect to potential adopters, bitches were the preferred sex in Czech shelters. Young abandoned dogs up to the age of one year had the shortest length of stay (median 19 days), whereas older dogs had the longest length of stay, i.e. dogs in the age range of 7-9 years (median 53.5 days) as well as dogs older than 9 years (median 54 days). Abandoned dogs over 65 cm at the withers, i.e. giant dogs, and abandoned dogs up to 35 cm at the withers, i.e. small dogs, had the shortest length of stay in Czech shelters, with medians of 16 days and 21 days, respectively. Medium-sized dogs, i.e. dogs measuring between 35-50 cm at the withers, and large dogs, i.e. dogs measuring between 51-65 cm at the withers had the longest length of stay in shelters. A better understanding of factors that negatively affect the adoption process in abandoned sheltered dogs can significantly shorten the length of stay of such dogs in Czech shelters and help to improve the adoption process itself as well as the welfare of sheltered dogs. © 2015, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences. All rights reserved.
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The aim of the present study is to detect the quality of adult interactions with pets during the COVID-19 pandemic. We investigated the perceptions and attitudes of adults towards pets and the effects of the pandemic on the formation of perceptions and attitudes as well as on the concerns of adults regarding the transmission of COVID- 19 through pets. In addition, we investigated the relationships of adults' attitudes towards animals with their responses to the effects of the pandemic on their relationships with animals and the differences in these effects by sex, age group and animal ownership and companionship. We investigated the perceptions and the attidutes of adults based on an adapted relevant scale for parents of students to address adults in the general population. 787 adults from Greece participated in the present research. Results showed that the positive attitudes of adults towards pets were maintained during the COVID- 19 period. Similarly, the negative attitudes of adults towards pets were maintained during the pandemic period, with participants blaming animals for transmitting the virus to humans. Through this empirical study, important issues emerge related to the benefits of adult interaction with pets, which are discussed in view of their future use in a variety of educational and clinical contexts.
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The nature of our relationships with nonhuman animals is complex and varies greatly across different types and species of animals. The goal of the current research is to investigate the differences that exist in our perceptions of animals based on their type, specifically by focusing on the phenomenon of compartmentalization. Two studies investigated the compartmentalization of farm animals relative to other types of animals (e.g., pets, wild animals). In Study 1, a greater tendency to compartmentalize farm animals correlated negatively with the attribution of a higher status to these animals, with more differentiated perceptions between the standing of farm animals and pets, and with a lower inclusion of animals in the self. In Study 2, different justifying beliefs taping into human superiority, the endorsement of carnism, and feeling threatened by vegetarianism mediated the negative relation between compartmentalization of farm animals and the negative emotional outcomes felt when eating meat. Together, these findings confirm the relevance of applying the notion of compartmentalization to the specific realm of human–animal relations.
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The Shelter Quality protocol (SQP) is a concise and easily implemented tool for assessing dog welfare and to identify critical aspects of the shelter environment. A first version of the protocol has been modified to improve its performance. The aim of this study was to evaluate the reliability of the measures included in the second version of the protocol (SQP2) by testing the interobserver agreement between two independent assessors. We evaluated the sensitivity of animal-based measures in detecting the shelter dogs' welfare outputs during two different seasons. Ten Italian shelters were assessed contemporaneously by two assessors to determine the reliability of SQP2 measures. Interobserver agreement was evaluated using the Cohen's kappa for qualitative variables and Pearson’ correlation for quantitative variables. The SQP2 was also applied twice (January and August) by the same observer in five Italian shelters to evaluate the sensitivity of the protocol to seasonal condition changes. The quantitative variables, “Number of animals shivering/huddling” and “Number of animals panting” were analyzed by Wilcoxon test. Credible intervals (95%) were calculated using a beta distribution for qualitative variables: “Body condition”, “Skin condition”, “Dog cleanliness”, “Signs of diarrhea”, “Coughing”, and “Lameness”. The level of agreement between the two observers on the qualitative variables such as body condition, lameness, skin condition, was quite high, ranging from substantial (0.61–0.80) to almost perfect (0.81–0.99). Interobserver agreement was also significant with Pearson correlation coefficients ranging from 0.51 to 0.92 (e.g., curious = 0.74; sociable = 0.83; barking level = 0.61). “Number of animals panting” and “Signs of diarrhea” showed a significant difference between the assessments (P<0.05). The observations of animals with lameness, coughing, and inadequate body condition increased in the winter season, whereas the observations of animals with skin lesions increased during the summer, but not significantly. The behaviors of shivering/huddling were observed too infrequently to be meaningfully analyzed. Consistent interobserver agreement exists in assessing dogs' welfare using the SQP2 confirming the reliability of the measures included in the protocol. The SQP2 shows potential in detecting changes in dogs' welfare outputs due to different climatic conditions. Further investigations are required to confirm the sensitivity of selected measures to different seasons.
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Millions of companion animals are relinquished to shelters each year. For each dog entering, their characteristics and the characteristics of the shelter holding him/her influence their time to adoption. Using a Cox proportional hazards frailty model, these issues were explored using data from 31 shelters within the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter system. Results indicated that surrender reason, age, original source, coat color, breed, human population density of the shelter location, and year the nonhuman animal entered the shelter significantly influenced time to adoption. This study identified characteristics of dogs that make them less likely to be adopted quickly. Given limited resources, these results may help inform shelters on how to best allocate resources, particularly in interventions to improve adoption rates in shelters.
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This study investigated the visitor experience at one urban animal shelter. While several previous studies have examined the reasons particular nonhuman animals are chosen by adopters, few have investigated the possible reasons one would visit a shelter and leave without adopting. Over a two-month period, 158 visitors were surveyed after they were finished touring the shelter. One quarter of those exiting the shelter had adopted a pet (companion animal) compared to 11% who had been planning to adopt that day but did not. Almost 20% of survey respondents were just visiting with no plans for pet adoption either that day or in the near future. Being affectionate and friendly were important characteristics sought by potential adopters, although non-adopters reported more frequently than adopters that the animal’s reaction to them was important. Shelters should work toward increasing chances for pets to connect and interact with visitors and focus on educating and retaining the interest of those who are not quite ready for a new pet.
Chapter
The primary goal of an adopter support program is to help prevent relinquishment and other types of adoption failure by proactively reaching out to adopters periodically to offer and provide professional assistance with common problems experienced by new pet owners. Adopter support programs have four main components: contacting adopters; assisting adopters; gathering and analyzing adopter feedback; and using the information gained to improve the organization's programs and services. Measuring an organization's adoption success allows evaluation of the effectiveness of the adoption program more accurately than simply looking at the number of adoptions, or even live release rates. Information learned from some of the adopter support survey questions used by MHS is presented in this chapter. The steps to surveying adopters electronically are creating a periodic list of e-mails for adopters, setting up an e-mail box for responses, creating standard initial and reminder messages, and sending the messages.
Chapter
This chapter addresses movement of animals out of shelters into the community. Efforts to move animals out of shelters include transfer relationships with other shelters and rescue groups, state-of-the-art medical programs, effective adoption and transfer programs, and promotion of pet identification that enhances return of lost pets to their owners. The chapter reviews statistics relating to shelter adoptions, return of lost animals to owners, and transfer programs. The management of the flow of animals within shelters also influences the success of adoption and return-to-owner programs by affecting the health of the animals and their time within the shelter. The chapter discusses the flow-through of animals within shelters on population management. Shelters seek to increase their adoptions in relation to their intake and in relation to pet acquisitions overall in their communities. Ideally, they strive to capture an increasing proportion of the market share of newly acquired pets in their communities.
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This study involved examining the ability of a postadoption intervention to reduce returns of newly adopted dogs to shelters by encouraging physical activity between adopters and their dogs. Guardians in the intervention group received emails with dog behavior and human activity advice as well as invitations to join weekly dog walks. Both the intervention and control groups completed surveys regarding outdoor activity with their dogs, their dog-walking habits, and perceptions of their dogs’ behaviors. Adopter–dog pairs in the intervention group were not significantly more active than those in the control group, nor did they show a reduced incidence of returning their dogs. Guardians in both groups who reported higher obligation and self-efficacy in their dog walking were more active regardless of experimental condition; however, obligation, dog-walking self-efficacy, and perceptions about their dogs’ on-leash behaviors did not predict rates of return to the shelter. These findings add to the understanding of shelter dog re-relinquishment and the effective utilization of resources postadoption, and they indicate further research is needed to address the complexities of this newly forming human–dog relationship.
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Companion animal overpopulation is a growing problem in the United States. In addition to strays, an average of 324,500 nonhuman animals are relinquished to shelters yearly by their caregivers due to family disruption (divorce, death), foreclosure, economic problems, or minor behavioral issues. As a result, estimates of animals in shelters range from 3 million to 8 million, and due to overcrowding, euthanasia is common. This analysis seeks to determine the appropriate pricing mechanisms to clear animal shelters of dogs in the manner most desirable—that is, through adoption. Based on a survey of Michigan residents, it is clear there are a number of correlations between the traits of dogs and the individuals who care for them. Hedonic pricing models indicate that animal shelters need to proactively vary their pricing systems to discount particular traits, specifically for mixed-breed, older, and black dogs. Premiums can be charged for puppies, purebred dogs, and those who have received specific services such as microchipping.
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Introduction - The research examines the average knowledge about "dog shelters problem" in order to advance tools to be spread and to awaken the public opinion. Materials and methods - An anonymous questionnaire composed by 48 questions (closed and multiple-choice) was administered to a representative sample of the community. Items regarded the perception of dogs' quality of life in shelters. Results - Data reveal that adoption of shelter's dog is performed only by the 13.39% of the sample, even if it is considered possible by the 69.05% who never did it. It results particularly important to stimulate the adoption of adult and old animals, favorite choice only for the 3.00% of respondents. The 73.30% considers free veterinary services as a good benefit for adoption, more effective than food and even money donation. However many people are not able to express an opinion about many of the proposed questions, as about quality of life of sheltered dogs. Finally it results a spare knowledge about veterinary urban health. Discussion - An included intervention, that spreads more information about the real situation of dog shelters and that converts sheltered dogs in a resource through an educational program, could change the shelter in a transitional accommodation where the dog stays just the time necessary for being adopted.
Article
Adoption success of dogs who serve as companion animals was analyzed via surveys with vignettes. The researchers administered surveys with vignettes to animal shelter employees, veterinarians, and other animal-care professionals in Eastern North Carolina. Logistic and linear regression analyses were used to identify variables that were perceived to influence adoption success. Dog size, personality, behavior, and level of obedience training were found to be significant perceived influencers of adoption success. Prospective caregiver characteristics such as gender and level of activity were shown to be perceived as significant. Guidance on the practical use of the logistic regression model is provided, and limitations of the study are described.