Special Issue "Barriers to and Drivers of Responsible Dog Ownership"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Companion Animals".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Naomi Harvey
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dogs Trust, 17 Wakley St, London EC1V 7RQ, UK
Interests: animal behavior; animal welfare; animal health; companion animals; dogs; elephants; rabbits; cats
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Jenna Kiddie
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dogs Trust, 17 Wakley St, London EC1V 7RQ, UK
Interests: animal ethics; applied animal behavior; animal welfare; cats; dogs; international and sustainable development in animal management; shelter behaviour; societal representation of animals
Dr. Robert Christley
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dogs Trust, 17 Wakley St, London EC1V 7RQ, UK
Interests: epidemiology; social research; animal health; human behaviour change

Special Issue Information

The domestic dog is one of the most popular companion animal species worldwide, generating significant scientific interest in a broad range of topics, such as genetics, cognition, welfare, and the human–animal bond. An ever-increasing evidence base has highlighted several areas of concern, including those relating to the impact of responsible dog ownership (e.g., including, but not limited to: meeting the legal requirements of dog ownership, ensuring the dog is sourced ethically, attending to their physical and mental needs according to the Five Domains of animal welfare, preventing harm to others by their dog), or lack thereof, on the physical and behavioural health of dogs. However, despite this, extensive research reports generated by leading animal welfare organisations suggest that substantial welfare concerns still exist, with important dog welfare needs often not being fully met or being threatened by such factors as irresponsible breeding and high demand for puppies, and unethical training and husbandry. In order to facilitate improvements in dog welfare, and safer dog–human interactions, there is a need to promote human behaviour change in how we live with and interact with the dogs in our care.

Effective strategies to promote human behaviour change for improved dog welfare require a solid evidence base. Key knowledge gaps in this field include barriers and drivers for: acquiring dogs from responsible sources; the provision of opportunities to express normal behaviour (such as opportunities for social interactions and olfactory exploration); recognising and addressing early signs of problematic or welfare-related behaviour changes; ensuring appropriate socialisation, habituation and other relevant preventative behavioural husbandry practices, particularly in relation to vet visits and cooperative care handling.

Original manuscripts that address the barriers to and drivers of any of these areas of responsible dog ownership are welcomed for this Special Issue. We would particularly encourage those that explore the development of impactful intervention plans that are likely to be adopted across relevant stakeholder groups, as well as strategies that raise the level of public empathy towards dogs.

Dr. Naomi Harvey
Dr. Jenna Kiddie
Dr. Robert Christley
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • domestic dog
  • acquisition
  • behaviour
  • human–animal interactions
  • human behaviour change
  • responsible dog ownership
  • animal welfare

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Reducing Dog Relinquishment to Rescue Centres Due to Behaviour Problems: Identifying Cases to Target with an Advice Intervention at the Point of Relinquishment Request
Animals 2021, 11(10), 2766; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11102766 - 22 Sep 2021
Viewed by 520
Abstract
Behaviour problems are a leading reason for dogs being relinquished to rescue centres across the world every year. The aim of this study was to investigate whether free behavioural advice would be accepted at the point of an owner requesting to relinquish their [...] Read more.
Behaviour problems are a leading reason for dogs being relinquished to rescue centres across the world every year. The aim of this study was to investigate whether free behavioural advice would be accepted at the point of an owner requesting to relinquish their dog for behavioural reasons. The call records of 1131 relinquishment requests were reviewed and analysed to establish if the offer of free behaviour advice was accepted. The results showed that advice was accepted in 24.4% of relinquishment requests and behavioural problem was a significant predictor of whether advice was accepted (p < 0.001). The odds of advice being accepted were 5.755 times (95% CI: 2.835–11.681; p < 0.001) greater for a relinquishment request due to problems with general management behaviours compared to aggression between dogs in the home, representing 4.2% and 20.2% of overall relinquishment requests. These data suggest that owners are prepared to accept behaviour advice at the point of relinquishment request, so advice interventions could have potential to impact the levels of dog relinquishment to rescue centres. The impact of an intervention offering behaviour advice may be limited by overall levels of advice acceptance by owners and therefore complimentary proactive solutions to reduce behavioural relinquishments should also be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Barriers to and Drivers of Responsible Dog Ownership)
Article
Don’t Bring Me a Dog…I’ll Just Keep It”: Understanding Unplanned Dog Acquisitions Amongst a Sample of Dog Owners Attending Canine Health and Welfare Community Events in the United Kingdom
Animals 2021, 11(3), 605; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030605 - 25 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1319
Abstract
Understanding the factors that result in people becoming dog owners is key to developing messaging around responsible acquisition and providing appropriate support for prospective owners to ensure a strong dog–owner bond and optimise dog welfare. This qualitative study investigated factors that influence pet [...] Read more.
Understanding the factors that result in people becoming dog owners is key to developing messaging around responsible acquisition and providing appropriate support for prospective owners to ensure a strong dog–owner bond and optimise dog welfare. This qualitative study investigated factors that influence pet dog acquisition. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 142 sets of dog owners/caretakers at 23 Dogs Trust community events. Interviews focused on the motivations and influences that impacted how people acquired their dogs. Transcribed interviews and notes were thematically analysed. Two acquisition types were reported, that each accounted for half of our interviewees’ experiences: planned and unplanned. Whilst planned acquisitions involved an intentional search for a dog, unplanned acquisitions occurred following an unexpected and unsought opportunity to acquire one. Unplanned acquisitions frequently involved a participant’s family or friends, people happening upon a dog in need, or dogs received as gifts. Motivations for deciding to take the dog included emotional attachments and a desire to help a vulnerable animal. Many reported making the decision to acquire the dog without hesitation and without conducting any pre-acquisition research. These findings present valuable insights for designers of interventions promoting responsible acquisition and ownership, because there is minimal opportunity to deliver messaging with these unplanned acquisitions. Additionally, these findings may guide future research to develop more complete understandings of the acquisition process. Further studies are required to understand the prevalence of unplanned acquisitions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Barriers to and Drivers of Responsible Dog Ownership)
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