Dog Training Increases Adoption Rate
| October 30th, 2009

Dog Training Increases Shelter Adoptions

Dog Training in Animal Shelters

Millions of dogs are housed in shelters during any given year, and diligent, compassionate rescue organizations and volunteers do everything they can to find permanent homes for these dogs. Adoption drives, web campaigns, flyers, word-of-mouth – every possible means of encouraging adoption are put into motion.

From our own experience working with rescue organizations and shelters both here in Southern California and nationwide, we have always observed the rather predictable phenomenon that the dogs who exhibit friendly “pet-like” behavior are the quickest to be adopted. (This is why the Zoom Room routinely donates free obedience training classes to newly rescued dogs.

A new research study has confirmed our observations that trained dogs are more likely to be adopted. Even a moderate amount of basic dog training can increase the chances of adoption.

In the February 2009 issue of Applied Animal Behavior Science, researchers Andrew Urs Lueschera and Robert Tyson Medlock authored the study, “The effects of training and environmental alterations on adoption success of shelter dogs.” They write:

Dogs in the trained group were trained once a day, during which they were desensitized to wearing a head halter, taught to come forward in the cage when approached, to walk on a leash, to sit on command and not jump up on people.

Trained Dogs Adopted More Frequently

The study noted that the trained dogs were adopted about 1.5 times as frequently as the dogs without basic training. Our own recommendation to all animal rescue organizations and shelters would be to place an emphasis on training sheltered dogs to come forward in the cage when approached. This is based not on research, but on our many years of observing the interactions between dogs and prospective owners. We believe that a highly-simplifed and easily-reproduced training program can be put into place to focus on this one behavior in order to increase adoption rates at shelters nationwide. The results of this most recent study certainly confirm our own anecdotal evidence.

If you have recently adopted a dog from a shelter, please accept our gratitude and appreciation! (As well as your new dog’s.) One of our specialties is training rescue dogs – we even offer a class called “Shy Dog” perfect for newly-adopted dogs who haven’t had the greatest life and who are exhibiting undue signs of fear, stress and wariness.


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