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

Dr Arnja Dale (view profile)

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.

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