The study aimed to determine whether re-homing dogs decreased the expression of unwanted behaviors and thereby increasing adoption success. The study looked at adoptions’ outcome regarding house training, prevalence of behaviors indicative of separation anxiety, and the dogs’ adjustment to their new homes.
Owners of 27 dogs that were adopted directly from their previous family into a new home and owners of 25 dogs adopted from a shelter completed a questionnaire through a telephone interview. Owners were asked to report the dog’s behavior as they recalled it, about a week from adoption and at the time of the interview.
A significant difference between the two groups was apparent only in the house-training parameter during the interview. No significant differences were found between the two groups in the prevalence of behaviors associated with separation anxiety. Re-homed dogs seemed less likely to exhibit behaviors indicative of separation anxiety and at a lower frequency level, but these differences were not significant. A dog’s behavior did not necessarily predict the owner’s perception of the dog’s adjustment to its new home. Receiving information about the dog, being an experienced owner, and counseling with professional help, did not affect the owners’ rating of their dogs’ adjustment as well.
The difference between the two groups in the house-training parameter during the interview was expected, since the re-homed group had lived in homes with people and the shelter group had lived in a shelter prior to adoption. The causation and manifestation of separation anxiety are complex and could be affected by many variables, such as age, gender, the dog’s history, owner’s behavior, environment, owner’s lifestyle, the dog–owner relationship, and advice during adoption. This complexity might account for the lack of differences between the two groups. Perhaps, the best explanation for the results regarding adjustment to the new home variable is that this factor is subjective and is associated with owner expectation and perception of the ideal dog versus the actual behavior of the dog.
Maász, Gábor - Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Ecological Research
Barina, Zoltán - Hungarian Natural History Museum, Department of Botany
Pongrácz, Péter - Eötvös Loránd University, Department of Ethology
Gábriel, Róbert - University of Pécs, Szentágothai Research Centre
Vágvölgyi, Csaba - University of Szeged, Department of Microbiology
Hideg, Éva - University of Pécs, Department of Plant Biology
Solti, Ádám - Eötvös Loránd University, Department of Plan Physiology and Molecular Plant Biology
Erős, Tibor - Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Ecological Research
Székely, Tamás - University of Bath, University of Debrecen
Dobolyi, Árpád - Eötvös Loránd University, Department of Neurobiology and Physiology
Tamás, Andrea - University of Pécs, Department of Anatomy
Kovács, Tibor - Eötvös Loránd University, Department of Genetics
Serfőző, Zoltán - Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Balaton Limnological Institute
Bede-Fazekas, Ákos - Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Ecological Research
Bugyi, Beáta - University of Pécs, Department of Biophysics
Fugazza, Claudia - Eötvös Loránd University, Department of Ethology
Chmura, Damjan - University of Bielsko-Biala, Institute of Environmental Protection and Engineering
Neugart, Susanne - Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops
Contardo-Jara, Valeska - Technical University of Berlin, Institute of Ecology