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Behavioural testing of dogs in animal shelters to predict problem behaviour

By J. A. M. van der Borg, W. J. Netto, D. J. U. Planta

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Although new homes can be found for dogs in animal shelters, many returned. This is due partly to a poor 'match' between dog and new owner. A better prediction of problem behaviour could improve the matching procedure. A set of tests was developed to test four problem-related behavioural characteristics, namely aggression, fear, obedience and separation anxiety, as well as a category of miscellaneous problem-related behaviours. A range of stimuli were used, including man, animals and visual and acoustic stimuli from objects. Results from the 81 dogs tested and the opinions of the staff of the animal shelters about these dogs, were compared with the experiences of the new owners. This showed that behavioural testing gave better prediction of problem behaviour than opinions of the staff.

Date 1991
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 32
Issue 2-3
Pages 237-251
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Subdepartment of Ethology, University, Padualaan 14, PO Box 801086, 3508 TB Utrecht, Netherlands.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Abnormal behavior
  2. Aggression
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Animal roles
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Deviant behavior
  7. Dogs
  8. Fear
  9. Mammals
  10. Pets and companion animals
  11. predictions
  12. Vices
  13. Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation