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Information Resources on the Care and Welfare of Dogs: Animal Welfare Information Center
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Shelter Dogs

Coppola, C.L., T. Grandin, and R.M. Enns (2006). Human interaction and cortisol: can human contact reduce stress for shelter dogs? Physiology and Behavior 87(3): 537-541. ISSN: 0031-9384.
NAL Call Number: QP1.P4
Abstract: Animal shelters are an extremely stressful environment for a dog, most specifically due to social isolation and novel surroundings. The stress response of dogs housed in this environment may be alleviated through human interaction shortly after arrival. During their second day in a public animal shelter, adult stray dogs were either engaged in a human contact session or not. The session involved taking the dog into an outdoor enclosure, playing with the dog, grooming, petting and reviewing basic obedience commands. Each dog interacted with a human for approximately 45 min. Salivary cortisol levels were examined from each dog on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 9th day of housing. Animals that engaged in a human contact session had lower cortisol levels on day 3 than animals that did not. Breed type, sex and age did not have an effect on cortisol levels on any day measured. A human interaction session can be beneficial to both animal welfare and adoption procedures. The current study not only utilized the human contact session as a treatment to reduce stress but also as a resource for individual temperament/personality information that could be later used to facilitate compatible adoptions. Human interaction may be an effective means of reducing the cortisol response of dogs in the aversive shelter environment.
Descriptors: human-pet bonding, hydrocortisone metabolism, psychological stress, stress, dogs, saliva.

de Palma, C., E. Viggiano, E. Barillari, R. Palme, A.B. Dufour, C. Fantini, and E. Natoli (2005). Evaluating the temperament in shelter dogs. Behaviour 142(9/10): 1307-1328. ISSN: 0005-7959.
NAL Call Number: 410 B393
Abstract: Seventy-four healthy mixed-breed dogs were studied collecting behavioural data by means of 'focal animal sampling' and 'all occurrences' methods; the ethogram utilised consisted of more than 100 behavioural patterns. All dogs were taken outside the shelter for a walk to analyse their reaction to a novel environment. In addition, three faecal samples were collected from each dog on three consecutive days during daily routine, to measure the levels of cortisol metabolites (CM) to evaluate adrenocortical activity. A Principal Component Analysis (PCA) identified five primary factors: 'subordination/aggressiveness', 'intraspecific dominance-activity', 'anxiety-sociability towards dogs', 'playfulness' and 'sociability towards humans'. Dogs that showed a confident -independent temperament in a familiar context (within the shelter), showed fear in novel situations (outside the shelter). Despite the absence of a proper control we hypothesise that the stress levels were low both behaviourally and physiologically: neither stereotypies nor inactivity and lack of interest in the surrounding environment was observed, and the median CM concentration was moderately low. Lower concentrations of faecal CM were recorded in dogs with a temperament 'sociable to human beings' which were also associated with a longer stay in the shelter..
Descriptors: animal behavior, novel environment, ethogram, temperament, aggression, anxiety, playfulness, feces, hydrocortisone, shelters.

Ledger, R.A. and J.M. Stephen (2004). Reducing dog return rates at rescue shelters: Applying science for animal welfare. Animal Welfare 13(Suppl.): S247. ISSN: 0962-7286.
NAL Call Number: HV4701.A557
Descriptors: animal care, behavior, temperament test, RSPCA, animal welfare, owner dog compatibility, rescue shelter, return rate.
Notes: Meeting Information: Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) Symposium on Science in the Service of Animal Welfare, Edinburgh, UK; April 2-4, 2003.

Marston, L.C., P.C. Bennett, and G.J. Coleman (2005). Adopting shelter dogs: owner experiences of the first month post-adoption. Anthrozoos 18(4): 358-378. ISSN: 0892-7936.
NAL Call Number: SF411.A57
Abstract: A number of studies have examined factors associated with the relinquishment of pet dogs to animal welfare shelters. In Australia, however, there has been little investigation of new owners' experiences when they subsequently adopt one of these dogs. To address this, telephone interviews were conducted with 62 persons who had recently adopted a shelter dog in Melbourne, Australia. Data relating to adopter demographics, factors influencing the selection of a dog and problems experienced post-adoption were collected. Shelter dogs were primarily acquired to replace a deceased pet or as companions to humans or other dogs. Selection was influenced by the dog's size, general appearance and behavior, with adopters preferring dogs who behaved in a calm and friendly manner. Common problems reported during the initial post -adoptive period were hyperactivity/boisterousness, compatibility issues with an existing pet and pulling on the lead. Escaping was strongly associated with separation-related problems. Three-quarters of the sample walked their dogs daily for 30 minutes or more, with larger dogs exercised for longer. Most dogs were exercised off-lead for some period, particularly larger dogs. This study indicates that improving assessment and matching procedures, and providing in -house and post-adoptive training could increase rehoming success rates..
Descriptors: adoption, animal behavior, animal welfare, hyperactivity, interviews, ownership, dogs.

Marston, L.C., P.C. Bennett, and G.J. Coleman (2005). What happens to shelter dogs? Part 2. Comparing three melbourne welfare shelters for nonhuman animals. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 8(1): 25-45. ISSN: 1088-8705.
NAL Call Number: HV4701.J68
Abstract: Although the characteristics of dogs admitted to animal welfare shelters have been described previously, few studies have compared the statistics of different welfare shelters. The existing studies compare shelters that differ operationally and philosophically on factors such as whether they perform euthanasia or whether the shelter receives both impounded and relinquished animals. This study aims to determine whether differences in admission and outcome data exist between shelters when these issues are constant. The study sampled 3 metropolitan Australian shelters over a 12-month period. All shelters sampled serve both as municipal pounds and welfare shelters, perform euthanasia as required, and operate within the relatively small, culturally homogeneous environment of Melbourne. The study observed significant differences between shelters regarding the admission characteristics of the dogs, length of stay, and outcomes. The identification of these differences may enable us to establish "best-practice" procedures capable of implementation elsewhere. The differences identified in the reasons given for relinquishment between locations also may have policy and educational implications for animal control agencies.
Descriptors: animal husbandry organization and administration, animal welfare organization and administration, australia, dogs, euthanasia, animal, rural population, time factors, urbanization.

Marston, L.C. and P.C. Bennett (2003). Reforging the bond: towards successful canine adoption. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 83(3): 227-245. ISSN: 0168-1591.
NAL Call Number: QL750.A6
Abstract: While most human-canine relationships are very fulfilling others fail, resulting in a large number of animals being abandoned or relinquished to animal shelters each year. This paper reviews our current understanding of the canine relinquishment and adoption process, with the aim of identifying those areas in which research is incomplete or absent. In order to achieve this aim, the process of canine ownership, relinquishment and adoption is broken down into a number of logical stages, which are then evaluated separately. The areas reviewed include the reasons why people acquire dogs, factors involved in their relinquishment, the effects of shelter admission upon canine behaviour, the evaluation of a dog's potential for adoption, characteristics of adopters, factors influencing a prospective adopter's choice and problems which may be experienced post-adoption. The review identifies deficiencies in our current knowledge and indicates valid directions for future research.
Descriptors: behavior, philosophy, ethics, animal shelter, animal welfare, human-canine relationship, pet adoption, shelter relinquishment.

Marston, L.C., P.C. Bennett, and G.J. Coleman (2004). What happens to shelter dogs? An analysis of data for 1 year from three Australian shelters. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 7(1): 27-47. ISSN: 1088-8705.
NAL Call Number: HV4701.J68
Abstract: Annually, welfare shelters admit many dogs, including those whose caregivers surrender them or dogs who are strays. This article analyzes admission data from 3 metropolitan Australian shelters. The study collected data for a 1-year period and analyzed them to identify the characteristics of the typical shelter dog; patterns of relinquishment, sales, reclamation and euthanasia; and duration of stay and reasons underlying euthanasia, relinquishment, and postadoptive return. The study tracked more than 20,000 admissions during this period. To facilitate reclamation, the local Code of Practice requires a mandatory holding period for stray dogs; assessment for suitability for rehoming then occurs. Dogs failing the assessment are euthanized. Surrendered dogs can be assessed immediately. The Code of Practice also recommends that unsold dogs be euthanized 28 days postassessment. Typically, shelter dogs in Melbourne are strays, sexually entire, adult, small, and-usually-male. The majority of admissions are reclaimed or sold. Most reclamations occur within 4 days, and postadoptive return rates are low. That current desexing messages do not appear to have reached the owners of stray dogs to the same extent as they have other dog owners is a major finding, suggesting that a targeted education campaign may be required.
Descriptors: animal care, code of practice, desexing message, euthanasia pattern, postadoptive return, reclamation pattern, relinquishment pattern, sales pattern, welfare shelter.

Neidhart, L. and R. Boyd (2002). Companion animal adoption study. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 5(3): 175-192. ISSN: 1088-8705.
NAL Call Number: HV4701.J68
Abstract: To better understand the outcomes of companion animal adoptions, Bardsley & Neidhart Inc. conducted a series of 3 surveys over a 1-year period with dog and cat owners who had adopted their pet through either a (a) Luv-A-Pet location, (b) Adopt-a-thon, or (c) traditional shelter. This article suggests opportunities to improve owners' perceptions of their pets and the adoption process through (a) providing more information before adoption about pet health and behaviors, (b) providing counseling to potential adopters to place pets appropriately, and (c) educating adopters to promote companion animal health and retention. Results demonstrate that the pet's relationship to the family unit, such as where the pet sleeps and how much time is spent with the pet, is related to the amount of veterinary care the companion animal receives, and to long-term retention. Satisfaction and retention are attributed to the pet's personality, compatibility, and behavior, rather than demographic differences among adopters or between adoption settings. The age of the companion animal at adoption, the intended recipient, and presence of children in the home also play a role. Health problems were an issue initially for half of all adopted pets, but most were resolved within 12 months. Roughly one fourth of adopters who no longer have their companion animal said their pet died. Characteristics of pets that died support the contention that spaying and neutering profoundly affects a companion animal's life span. Although retention is similar for dogs and cats, mortality is higher among cats in the first year after adoption.
Descriptors: behavior, philosophy and ethics, neutering, spaying, adopt a thon, luv a pet location, petsmart, age differences, animal shelter, companion animal adoption, compatibility, counseling, education, health, mortality, personality, pet retention, veterinary care.

Nemcova, D. and P. Novak (2003). Adoption of dogs in the Czech republic. Acta Veterinaria Brno 72(3): 421-427. ISSN: 0001-7213.
NAL Call Number: SF604.B7
Abstract: The aim of this work was to analyze selected factors playing a role in the adoption of dogs from shelters in the Czech Republic. The study was performed in two shelters from May to December 1999. Using a questionnaire, we obtained data about the adopted dogs (time spent in the shelter, age, sex and breed of the dog, dogs admitted to shelter by incoming category, group housing vs. individual housing), and demographic data about the new owners (age, sex, urban/rural housing type, previous experience with dogs, reason for the wish to own a dog, motivation for selecting a specific dog). We compared data about dogs adopted from shelter A situated in an urban environment with a population of 50 thousand, and from shelter B situated in a rural area, in a village with approximately 2 000 inhabitants. Dogs in shelter A were most frequently brought in by the person who captured the animal (41.3%), and surrendered by the owner (28.0%). Dogs in shelter B in the rural area were most frequently delivered by municipal police (82.0%). Before adoption, the dogs spent 53 days on average in shelter A, and 85 days in shelter B. The highest fractions of dogs adopted from both shelters were puppies 2-4-month-old (26.7 and 38.0%, respectively), closely followed by dogs aged 8 months-to-2 years and 2-5 years. Sex did not play a significant role in dog adoption. Among new owners adopting dogs from shelters A and B, those 26 to 60 years of age prevailed (chi2 5.678, P<0.05; chi2 12.294, P<0.01, respectively) over those aged 18 to 26 years, and also over adopters older than 60 years (chi2 26.329, P<0.01; chi2 13.677, P<0.01, respectively). No differences between adopters from the two shelters were found in reasons for adoption, except for personality of the dog that prevailed in shelter A (chi2 4.285, P<0.05). Previous experience of dog ownership was reported by 96.0% new owners for shelter A, and 98.0% for shelter B. There were no differences found concerning the sex of new owners and presence of children in the family. The findings from this pilot study indicate that adoption is more related to factors associated with the new owners than to factors associated with the dogs. The data may serve shelter personel and veterinarians to help develop strategies aimed at improving chances for adoption of dogs and shortening the time in shelter by providing detailed and qualified information to potential dog adopters.
Descriptors: animal care, behavior, questionnaire, applied and field techniques, animal adoption, animal shelter, demographics, housing, rural population, urban population.

Sales, G., R. Hubrecht, A. Peyvandi, S. Milligan, and B. Shield (1997). Noise in dog kennelling: is barking a welfare problem for dogs? Applied Animal Behaviour Science 52(3-4): 321-329. ISSN: 0168-1591.
NAL Call Number: QL750.A6
Abstract: Noise levels (sound pressure levels, SPLs) were monitored over 24 and 48 h in a number of different types of kennels including shelters, training establishments and research laboratories. Two measures of SPL were used, Lpeak and Leq, over both low (1 Hz-20 kHz) and high (12.5-70 kHz) frequency ranges and using a linear weighting. At most sites the noise levels followed a diurnal pattern; levels were generally low and relatively constant overnight, increased gradually in the early morning and then fluctuated during the working day. Levels decreased in the evening at different times depending on the local regimes. In one facility near railway lines the diurnal pattern was less obvious. During the day Lpeak values regularly exceeded 100 dB and often reached 125 dB; Leq values were between 65 and 100 dB. The high noise levels were caused mainly by barking, but husbandry procedures such as cleaning also contributed to them. The noise levels recorded here may have welfare implications. There is currently a lack of adequate guide lines for noise levels in dog kennels.
Descriptors: noise, kennels, housing, husbandry, animal welfare, dogs.

Salminen, T. (1998). Kissojen ja koirien hoito loytoelaintiloissa. [The care of dogs and cats in animal shelters.]. Suomen Elainlaakarilehti 104(3): 139-142.
NAL Call Number: 41.8 N813
Descriptors: pets, animal welfare, stray animals, housing, cats, dogs.
Language of Text: Finnish.

Sokolow, S.H., C. Rand, S.L. Marks, N.L. Drazenovich, E.J. Kather, and J.E. Foley (2005). Epidemiologic evaluation of diarrhea in dogs in an animal shelter. American Journal of Veterinary Research 66(6): 1018-1024. ISSN: 0002-9645.
NAL Call Number: 41.8 Am3A
Abstract: OBJECTIVES: To determine associations among infectious pathogens and diarrheal disease in dogs in an animal shelter and demonstrate the use of geographic information systems (GISs) for tracking spatial distributions of diarrheal disease within shelters. SAMPLE POPULATION: Feces from 120 dogs. PROCEDURE: Fresh fecal specimens were screened for bacteria and bacterial toxins via bacteriologic culture and ELISA, parvovirus via ELISA, canine coronavirus via nested polymerase chain reaction assay, protozoal cysts and oocysts via a direct fluorescent antibody technique, and parasite ova and larvae via microscopic examination of direct wet mounts and zinc sulfate centrifugation flotation. RESULTS: Salmonella enterica and Brachyspira spp were not common, whereas other pathogens such as canine coronavirus and Helicobacter spp were common among the dogs that were surveyed. Only intestinal parasites and Campylobacterjejuni infection were significant risk factors for diarrhea by univariate odds ratio analysis. Giardia lamblia was significantly underestimated by fecal flotation, compared with a direct fluorescent antibody technique. Spatial analysis of case specimens by use of GIS indicated that diarrhea was widespread throughout the entire shelter, and spatial statistical analysis revealed no evidence of spatial clustering of case specimens. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: This study provided an epidemiologic overview of diarrhea and interacting diarrhea-associated pathogens in a densely housed, highly predisposed shelter population of dogs. Several of the approaches used in this study, such as use of a spatial representation of case specimens and considering multiple etiologies simultaneously, were novel and illustrate an integrated approach to epidemiologic investigations in shelter populations.
Descriptors: diarrhea, housing, California, complementary genetics, enzyme linked immunosorbent assay, feces, animal shelter, dogs, geographic information systems, polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Soto, F.R., F. Ferreira, S.R. Pinheiro, F. Nogari, M.R. Risseto, O. de Souza, and M. Amaku (2005). Adoption of shelter dogs in a Brazilian community: Assessing the caretaker profile. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 8(2): 105-116. ISSN: 1088-8705.
NAL Call Number: HV4701.J68
Abstract: A survey in Ibiuna, Sao Paulo, Brazil, of caregivers (owners) who adopted shelter dogs assessed length of ownership, proportion of male and female dogs adopted, and owners' characteristics. It addressed breeding, neutering, vaccination, and veterinary care. It used no testing to provide a good "match" between dog and future owner. Of adopted dogs, 58% were male. Only 36% of owners were located. Mean ownership length was 14.8 months (95% confidence interval = 12.4 to 17.2 months), estimated through a survival analysis method. Of adopted dogs, 40.9% lived with their owners; 34.9% had died (some had lived on the streets); 15.0% were donated; 4.3% ran away; 3.2% were returned to the city shelter. Of interviewees, 57% reported no difficulties with the adoption; 23.1% cited the animal's illness and death as the main difficulty. For contraception, 87 owners (46.7%) chained dogs to prevent contact with other animals; 56.5% were against neutering. Reasons given were compassion (58.1%), unnecessary procedure (11.4%), cost (9.5%), and behavior change (4.8%). This research motivated a design for Ibiuna shelter dog adoption to improve the proportion of successful adoptions.
Descriptors: animal welfare, human- pet bonding, pet ownership, Brazil, dogs, personality inventory, questionnaires.

Stephen, J.M. and R.A. Ledger (2005). An audit of behavioral indicators of poor welfare in kenneled dogs in the United Kingdom. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 8(2): 79-96. ISSN: 1088-8705.
NAL Call Number: HV4701.J68
Abstract: This survey-based study describes the prevalence and onset of behavioral indicators of poor welfare in dogs kenneled at United Kingdom rescue shelters. It describes key factors contributing to individual variation in behaviors. At 8 rescue shelters, staff trained in the care of nonhuman animals recorded daily whether dogs in their care displayed each of 15 behaviors. The study originally involved 302 dogs; for the first 14 days, it monitored only 148 dogs daily. The study observed dogs for a maximum of 6 weeks from admittance, observing all 15 behaviors at least once during the first 2 weeks (n = 148). The proportion of dogs observed to perform each behavior differed within the sample. The most commonly observed behavior (24.3% of dogs) was excessive barking. The remaining 14 behaviors ranged from listlessness (20.3%) to repetitive tail-chasing (1.3%). Over the 6 weeks, the proportion observed to pace repetitively and wall bounce increased. The proportion who lacked appetite and displayed fear -associated behavior decreased. Breed differences, gender, and age partially explained variability in the onset and prevalence of behavioral indicators of poor welfare in kenneled dogs.
Descriptors: animal husbandry statistics and numerical data, behavior, animal physiology, animal welfare, dogs, england epidemiology, incidence, pedigree, prevalence, questionnaires, social isolation.

Thorn, J.M., J.J. Templeton, K.M. Van Winkle, and R.R. Castillo (2006). Conditioning shelter dogs to sit. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 9(1): 25-39. ISSN: 1088-8705.
NAL Call Number: HV4701.J68
Abstract: Human contact in the shelter may lessen effects of change in environment and smooth transition into a home. Training can increase a dog's interaction with people in a shelter environment. Experiments were conducted to determine how rapidly shelter dogs learn to sit, if the dogs can retain sitting behavior over time, and if sitting transfers to novel locations and people. Two experiments trained shelter dogs (n = 21) to sit when a stranger approached over a 10-trial session. Food and a verbal cue or a clicker reinforced the sit. The experiments measured latency to sit for each trial. Latency to sit decreased significantly over trials. Another experiment included reinforcement given to dogs (n = 20) on a noncontingent basis or for sitting. Five days of the experiment (condition training) were in the same room with the same experimenter. The last 4 days (testing) varied by both experimenter and location (familiar or strange). Results indicate that short training sessions are effective for teaching shelter dogs to sit, that dogs can retain sitting behavior over 2 days, and that training transfers to novel people and situations.
Descriptors: behavior, animal physiology, human-pet bonding, operant conditioning, dog psychology, analysis of variance, animal welfare, positive and negative reinforcement, social behavior.

van Winkle Martinez, K.D. (2003). Conditioning for adoptable behaviors in shelter dogs. Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Science 96(Suppl.): 45. ISSN: 0019-2252.
NAL Call Number: 500 Il6
Descriptors: animal care, behavior, adoptable behavior, condition training, animal shelters, dogs.
Notes: Meeting Information: 95th Annual Meeting of the Illinois State Academy of Science, Normal, Illinois, USA; April 45, 2003.

Wells, D. and P.G. Hepper (2000). The influence of environmental change on the behaviour of sheltered dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 68(2): 151-162. ISSN: 0168-1591.
NAL Call Number: QL750.A6
Descriptors: shelters, animal welfare, temperament, cages, consumer preferences, environment, enrichment, animal behavior, behavior change.

Wells, D.L., L. Graham, and P.G. Hepper (2002). The influence of auditory stimulation on the behaviour of dogs housed in a rescue shelter. Animal Welfare 11(4): 385-393. ISSN: 0962-7286.
NAL Call Number: HV4701.A557
Abstract: This study explored the influence of five types of auditory stimulation (human conversation, classical music, heavy metal music, pop music, and a control) on the behaviour of 50 dogs housed in a rescue shelter. The dogs were exposed to each type of auditory stimulation for 4 h, with an intervening period of one day between conditions. The dogs' position in their kennels (front, back), their activity (moving, standing, sitting, resting, sleeping), and their vocalisation (barking, quiet, other) were recorded over 4 h at 10 min intervals during each condition of auditory stimulation. The dogs' activity and vocalisation were significantly related to auditory stimulation. Dogs spent more time resting and less time standing when classical music was played than when any of the other stimuli were played. Exposure to heavy metal music encouraged dogs to spend significantly more of their time barking than did other types of auditory stimulation. Classical music resulted in dogs spending significantly more of their time quiet than did other types of auditory stimulation. It is suggested that the welfare of sheltered dogs may be enhanced through exposure to appropriate forms of auditory stimulation. Classical music appears particularly beneficial, resulting in activities suggestive of relaxation and behaviours that are considered desirable by potential buyers. This form of music may also appeal to visitors, resulting in enhanced perceptions of the rescue shelter's environment and an increased desire to adopt a dog from such a source.
Descriptors: animal care, behavior, philosophy and ethics, activity, animal welfare, auditory stimulation, captivity, moving, music, rescue shelter, resting, sitting, sleeping, standing, vocalization.

Wells, D.L., L. Graham, and P.G. Hepper (2002). The influence of length of time in a rescue shelter on the behaviour of kennelled dogs. Animal Welfare 11(3): 317-325. ISSN: 0962-7286.
NAL Call Number: HV4701.A557
Abstract: Animal rescue shelters provide temporary housing for thousands of stray and abandoned dogs every year. Many of these animals fail to find new homes and are forced to spend long periods of time in kennels. This study examined the influence of the length of time spent in a rescue shelter ( < 1 month, 2-12 months, 1-5 years, > 5 years) on the behaviour of 97 dogs. The dogs' position in their kennels (front, back), their activity (moving, standing, sitting, resting, sleeping), and their vocalisation (barking, quiet, other) were recorded over a 4 h period at 10 min intervals. The dogs' behaviour was significantly related to the length of time the animals had spent in the rescue shelter. Dogs housed in the shelter for over five years spent more of their time at the back of their kennels, more time resting, and less time barking than dogs housed in the shelter for shorter periods of time. The age of the dog could not account for the significant results found, suggesting that environmental factors were responsible for the change in the dogs' behaviour. The findings suggest that lengthy periods of time spent in a captive environment may encourage dogs to behave in a manner that is generally considered unattractive by potential buyers. This may decrease the chances of such dogs being adopted, resulting in longer periods of time spent in the kennel environment and the possible development of further undesirable behaviours.
Descriptors: animal behavior, environmental factors, kennels, shelters, stray animals, duration, physical activity, vocalization, rest, age differences, animal welfare.

Wells, D.L. and P.G. Hepper (1998). A note on the influence of visual conspecific contact on the behaviour of sheltered dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 60(1): 83-88. ISSN: 0168-1591.
NAL Call Number: QL750.A6
Descriptors: kennel design, housing, single housing, rescue shelter, behavior, visual contact, animal welfare, animal shelters.

Wells, D.L. and P.G. Hepper (2000). Prevalence of behaviour problems reported by owners of dogs purchased from an animal rescue shelter. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 69(1): 55-65. ISSN: 0168-1591.
NAL Call Number: QL750.A6
Abstract: This study examined the prevalence of behaviour problems exhibited by dogs within 4 weeks of acquisition from a rescue shelter in Northern Ireland. 1547 people who had purchased a dog from a rescue shelter in Northern Ireland were sent a postal questionnaire designed to collect information on the behaviours exhibited by their dog within the first month of acquisition. 556 people responded to the survey, representing a response rate of 37%. The majority of respondents (68.3%) reported that their dog exhibited a behaviour problem, the most common being fearfulness. Most of those respondents (89.7%) who returned their dog to the shelter did so because the animal exhibited behaviour that they considered undesirable. Male dogs showed more unacceptable behaviours than females, specifically inter-male aggression, sexual problems and straying tendencies. More stray dogs displayed undesirable behaviour than unwanteds, specifically straying tendencies. Puppies were less likely to exhibit unacceptable behaviours than juveniles or adults, particularly fearfulness, sexual problems and straying tendencies. More juvenile dogs showed excessive activity and excessive barking than puppies or adults. More adult dogs displayed aggression towards other dogs than juveniles or puppies. Findings indicate that dogs purchased from rescue shelters do exhibit behaviour problems that may lead to their return. The number of dogs admitted or returned to rescue shelters with behaviour problems may be reduced by raising public awareness regarding the value of behaviour therapy and introducing behaviour therapy schemes to rescue shelters.
Descriptors: aggression, fearfulness, puppies, animal behavior, behavior problems, fearfulness, sex differences, age differences, aggressive behavior, stray animals, animal welfare, behavior modification, vocalization, hyperactivity, abnormal behavior, northern Ireland, destructiveness.

Wells, D.L. and P.G. Hepper (2001). The behavior of visitors towards dogs housed in an animal rescue shelter. Anthrozoos 14(1): 12-18. ISSN: 0892-7936.
NAL Call Number: SF411.A57
Abstract: The behavior of visitors towards dogs housed in rescue shelters has been subject to little research. This study explored the behavior of 76 visitors to a rescue shelter in Northern Ireland as they toured the dogs' kennels. The number of dogs that visitors stopped to look at, the nature of all interactions that visitors initiated with the dogs and the outcome of the visitors' tour of the shelter, were examined. The influence of the visitors' sex and the size of the group touring the kennels, on the visitors' behavior was also explored. On average, the visitors stopped to look at 29% of the total number of dogs available for purchase. Dogs housed in cages closest to the shelter entrance were more likely to attract attention from the visitors than those housed further away. When they stopped to look at a dog, visitors spent an average of 70 seconds in front of the animal's cage. Thirty-one of the visitors initiated an interaction with a dog, which lasted for an average of 20 seconds. Three visitors purchased a dog at the end of their tour of the shelter. Individuals who purchased a dog spent significantly more time standing in front of their future pet's cage, and engaged in more interactions with this animal, than dogs that they did not purchase. The size of the group touring the shelter was significantly related to the visitors' behavior. Individuals touring the shelter alone stopped in front of more dogs' cages, spent more time in front of the dogs' enclosures, initiated more interactions, and purchased more dogs, than those visiting in pairs or groups. The visitors' sex was unrelated to their behavior. The findings suggest that visitors to rescue shelters only show an interest in a small proportion of dogs available for purchase. Elucidating exactly what factors influence visitors' perceptions of, and behavior towards, sheltered dogs may further our understanding as to why so many animals are overlooked for purchase every year..
Descriptors: animal housing, human behavior, kennels, shelters, visitors, dogs.

Wells, D.L. (2004). A review of environmental enrichment for kennelled dogs, Canis familiaris. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 85(3-4): 307-317. ISSN: 0168-1591.
NAL Call Number: QL750.A6
Abstract: Domestic dogs can be housed in a variety of confined conditions, including kennels, shelters and laboratories. Concern over the well-being of dogs housed in human care has prompted much research in recent years into the enrichment of environments for kennelled dogs. This paper highlights the findings and recommendations arising from this work. Two types of general enrichment method are discussed, namely animate (i.e. enrichment through the provision of social contacts with conspecifics and humans) and inanimate (i.e. enrichment through the provision of toys, cage furniture, auditory and olfactory stimulation). The benefits and, where relevant, possible disadvantages, to these various types of enrichment method are highlighted throughout.
Descriptors: animal care, behavior, animal welfare, animate enrichment, auditory stimulation, cage furniture, dog kennel, environmental enrichment, housing conditions, human contact, inanimate enrichment, olfactory stimulation, rescue shelter, social contact, toys.



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