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"Don't bring me a dog...I'll just keep it": understanding unplanned dog acquisitions amongst a sample of dog owners attending canine health and welfare community events in the United Kingdom

By K. E. Holland, R. Mead, R. A. Casey, M. M. Upjohn, R. M. Christley

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

Understanding the factors that result in people becoming dog owners is key to developing messaging around responsible acquisition and providing appropriate support for prospective owners to ensure a strong dog-owner bond and optimise dog welfare. This qualitative study investigated factors that influence pet dog acquisition. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 142 sets of dog owners/caretakers at 23 Dogs Trust community events. Interviews focused on the motivations and influences that impacted how people acquired their dogs. Transcribed interviews and notes were thematically analysed. Two acquisition types were reported, that each accounted for half of our interviewees' experiences: planned and unplanned. Whilst planned acquisitions involved an intentional search for a dog, unplanned acquisitions occurred following an unexpected and unsought opportunity to acquire one. Unplanned acquisitions frequently involved a participant's family or friends, people happening upon a dog in need, or dogs received as gifts. Motivations for deciding to take the dog included emotional attachments and a desire to help a vulnerable animal. Many reported making the decision to acquire the dog without hesitation and without conducting any pre-acquisition research. These findings present valuable insights for designers of interventions promoting responsible acquisition and ownership, because there is minimal opportunity to deliver messaging with these unplanned acquisitions. Additionally, these findings may guide future research to develop more complete understandings of the acquisition process. Further studies are required to understand the prevalence of unplanned acquisitions.

Date 2021
Publication Title Animals
Volume 11
Issue 3
Pages 15
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ani11030605
URL https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/11/3/605
Language English
Author Address Dogs Trust, 17 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7RQ, UK.katrina.holland@dogstrust.org.uk rebecca.mead@dogstrust.org.uk rachel.casey@dogstrust.org.uk melissa.upjohn@dogstrust.org.uk robert.christley@dogstrust.org.uk
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Analytics
  2. Animals
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Anthrozoology
  5. Attitudes
  6. British Isles
  7. Canidae
  8. Canine
  9. Carnivores
  10. Commonwealth
  11. Countries
  12. Decision making
  13. Developed countries
  14. Dogs
  15. Emotions
  16. Europe
  17. interviews
  18. Mammals
  19. OECD countries
  20. open access
  21. Ownership
  22. pet care
  23. Pet ownership
  24. Pets and companion animals
  25. Psychiatry and psychology
  26. Research
  27. Social psychology and social anthropology
  28. United Kingdom
  29. vertebrates
  30. Veterinary sciences
  31. Zoology
Badges
  1. open access