“Thousands of dogs are relinquished to Australian animal shelters each year. Prior to being made available for adoption, dogs undergo a behavioural assessment to determine their suitability as companions. Dogs that pass the assessment are made available for adoption, whereas those that fail are usually euthanased. This is potentially problematic for several reasons; not only do current protocols used to assess adoption suitability lack standardisation in their content and methodology, very few have been presented in the peer reviewed literature.”
This is an extract from a paper presented at last year’s National Desexing Network summit to end pet overpopulation.
How would your own dog react in an unfamiliar and extremely stressful situation to a multitude of strange objects, noise and activities, other dogs and people? Would your dog grab and shake a dolly or stuffed toy? If so your dog would most likely be on the long list to be destroyed.
This paper reports that two thirds (77%) of assessment staff who responded to the survey reported that they had received training in the assessment of shelter dogs whereas one third (33%) reported that they had not received training. BUT the most common form of training was ‘on the job’ training (59%) followed by ‘attended a seminar/completed a course’ (33%).
So in a nutshell, there is no standard and properly researched and reported method for a behavioural assessment and the majority of those that carry out the assessment have not had any proper formal training.
Yet the life of each animal they assess rests in their hands….This is just not good enough.