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Impacts of Encouraging Dog Walking on Returns of Newly Adopted Dogs to a Shelter

By Lisa Gunter, Alexandra Protopopova, Steven P. Hooker, Cheryl Der Ananian, Clive DL Wynne

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This study involved examining the ability of a postadoption intervention to reduce returns of newly adopted dogs to shelters by encouraging physical activity between adopters and their dogs. Guardians in the intervention group received emails with dog behavior and human activity advice as well as invitations to join weekly dog walks. Both the intervention and control groups completed surveys regarding outdoor activity with their dogs, their dog-walking habits, and perceptions of their dogs’ behaviors. Adopter–dog pairs in the intervention group were not significantly more active than those in the control group, nor did they show a reduced incidence of returning their dogs. Guardians in both groups who reported higher obligation and self-efficacy in their dog walking were more active regardless of experimental condition; however, obligation, dog-walking self-efficacy, and perceptions about their dogs’ on-leash behaviors did not predict rates of return to the shelter. These findings add to the understanding of shelter dog re-relinquishment and the effective utilization of resources postadoption, and they indicate further research is needed to address the complexities of this newly forming human–dog relationship.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2017
Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 20
Issue 4
Pages 357-371
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2017.1341318
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Lisa Gunter; Alexandra Protopopova; Steven P. Hooker; Cheryl Der Ananian; Clive DL Wynne (2018), "Impacts of Encouraging Dog Walking on Returns of Newly Adopted Dogs to a Shelter,"

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  1. Animal roles
  2. Animal shelters
  3. Dogs
  4. Mammals
  5. Pets and companion animals
  6. Return
  7. Walking