Department of Animal Protection Welfare and Behaviour, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Brno, Czech Republic
Adoption success is influenced by many factors. The current research underlines specifically the importance of good behaviour to dog adopters.
The aim of this study was to assess behaviour of dogs adopted from shelters as perceived by their adopters.
In order to collect information on behaviour of adopted dogs, a questionnaire was handed in to people adopting a dog from Czech shelters. The results were analyzed using the statistical package Unistat 5.6. Statistical comparisons between frequencies of the categorical variables of interest were performed with the chi-square test within the contingency table procedures.
According to the respondents of our survey, 72% of dogs exhibited behavioural problems in the first week after adoption. The most frequent behaviour problems in adopted dogs were aggression (24%), fearfulness (21%), destructiveness (17%), excessive vocalisation (15%), and separation anxiety (13%). Thirty percent (30%) of adopted dogs exhibited more than one type of problem behaviours. No effect (p>0.05) of sex, age, size, or health status was found. However, a significant (p<0.05) impact of abuse on occurrence of problem behaviours was found. Shelter dogs with documented history of abuse exhibited problem behaviours after adoption more frequently than non-abused dogs.
Given the fact how common the presence of problem behaviour in shelter dogs is and how often it was cited as the primary reason for relinquishment or returning dogs to animal shelters, providing help to adopters to remedy common shelter dog behaviour problems could significantly increase the rate of successfully adopted dogs.