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Evaluation of Behavior, Owner Attachment and Other Reasons for Relinquishment of Dogs to Shelters

Study Results: Problematic Behaviors Lead to Break in Human–Animal Bond

Behavioral problems are a significant reason for relinquishment and euthanasia for millions of dogs. Studies have shown that many factors contribute to owners’ relinquishing their dogs to shelters, but there has been no comprehensive evaluation of ways factors combine and which factors have the strongest influence. The student showed that owners who relinquish their dogs were significantly less attached to their dog and rated their dog's behavior lower than owners who kept their dog (continuing owners). Additionally, relinquishing owners were more likely than continuing owners to have added children to the household. Although there was no difference in the frequency of use of punishment-based collars in the relinquishing or continuing groups, the use of punishment-based training collars was associated with owners’ greater dissatisfaction with their dog’s leash walking and overall behavior. These findings implicate problematic behaviors as the cause of the break in the human–animal bond.

Jennifer Y. Kwan, University of California–Davis

Posted by MAFon January 6, 2011.

Categories: Animal health, Dog health, Veterinary students


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