You are here: Home / Journal Articles / Characteristics and Adoption Success of Shelter Dogs Assessed as Resource Guarders / About

Characteristics and Adoption Success of Shelter Dogs Assessed as Resource Guarders

By Betty McGuire

Category Journal Articles

Some domestic dogs aggressively guard resources. Canine resource guarding impacts public health through dog bites and a ects dog welfare through adoption and euthanasia policies at animal shelters. However, little is known about the demographic characteristics and adoption success of dogs assessed as resource guarders during shelter behavioral evaluations. I reviewed nearly five years of records from a New York (NY) SPCA and categorized 1016 dogs by sex; age; size; reproductive status; and resource guarding. I then examined how these characteristics influenced the returns of dogs by adopters. The prevalence of resource guarding in this shelter dog population was 15%. Resource guarding was more common in adult and senior dogs than in juvenile dogs; and it was more common in small and large dogs than medium-sized dogs. Spayed females were more likely than intact females to guard food; neutered males and intact males did not di er in their likelihood of food guarding. Most dogs identified as resource guarders showed mild to moderate guarding. Severe guarders were more likely to be returned by adopters; although almost all were eventually re-adopted and not returned to the shelter. Data presented here provide the most comprehensive description of resource guarders in a shelter dog population and show the successful re-homing of most.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2019
Publication Title Animals
Volume 9
Issue 11
Pages 12
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ani9110982
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Aggression
  2. Animal roles
  3. Animal shelters
  4. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  5. Dogs
  6. Foods
  7. Mammals
  8. open access
  9. pet adoption
  10. Pets and companion animals
  11. returns
  1. open access