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Animals 2018, 8(6), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8060093

Post-Adoption Problem Behaviours in Adolescent and Adult Dogs Rehomed through a New Zealand Animal Shelter

1
School of Veterinary Science, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
2
RNZSPCA, PO Box 15-309, New Lynn, Auckland 0640, New Zealand
3
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Auckland, 50 Westney Rd, Mangere, Auckland 2022, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 May 2018 / Revised: 5 June 2018 / Accepted: 6 June 2018 / Published: 11 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Sheltering)
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Simple Summary

Problem behaviours in dogs rehomed through animal shelters can jeopardise the long-term success of adoptions if not correctly managed. Data from 61 adolescent and adult dog adoptions that occurred through an animal shelter in Auckland, New Zealand, was analysed to identify the most common problem behaviours affecting adopted dogs and how concerned the new owners were about these problem behaviours. The majority of dogs had at least one reported problem behaviour; the most frequently reported problem behaviours were poor manners, destruction of household items, and excessively high energy. Very few dogs showed territorial aggression when objects or food items were removed, but aggression toward people or other dogs were both reported in nearly a fifth of dogs. The majority (87%) of adopters whose dog had some problem behaviours were not concerned at all or were a little concerned, and only three adopters were very concerned. Based on our interpretation of these findings, post-adoption support programmes targeted toward teaching adopters how to correctly train their dogs may be beneficial to increasing adoption satisfaction.

Abstract

Problem behaviours in dogs rehomed through animal shelters can jeopardise the long-term success of adoptions. In this study, data from 61 adolescent and adult dog adoptions that occurred through an animal shelter in Auckland, New Zealand, from 1 November 2015 to 31 July 2016 were analysed to describe the frequency of problem behaviours and level of adopter concern at different time points post-adoption. Amongst the 57 dogs with behavioural information available, 40 (70%) had at least one reported problem behaviour, and the most frequently reported problem behaviours were poor manners (46%), destruction of household items (30%), and excessively high energy (28%). Very few dogs showed territorial aggression when objects or food items were removed (2% and 4%, respectively). However, aggression toward people or other dogs was frequently reported (19% and 19%, respectively). Of the 54 adopters that provided a response about their level of concern over their dog’s problem behaviours, 24 (44%) were not concerned at all, 23 (43%) were a little concerned, 4 (7%) were moderately concerned, and 3 (6%) were very concerned. Based on our interpretation of these findings, post-adoption support programmes targeted toward teaching adopters how to correctly train their dogs may be beneficial to increasing adoption satisfaction. View Full-Text
Keywords: shelter medicine; adoption; dogs; behaviour; human-animal bond; animal welfare shelter medicine; adoption; dogs; behaviour; human-animal bond; animal welfare
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Gates, M.C.; Zito, S.; Thomas, J.; Dale, A. Post-Adoption Problem Behaviours in Adolescent and Adult Dogs Rehomed through a New Zealand Animal Shelter. Animals 2018, 8, 93.

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