The assumption shelter dogs are more likely to have behavioural problems isnot necessarily backed up by evidence.

A review by the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour challenged the assumption thatshelter dogs have relationship-breaking behavioural incompatibilities byarguing that the negative perception towards them is not based on biologicaldata but on social constructs.

Sam March, Shelter Manager at the Animal Welfare League NSW, the location ofChannel 10’s The Dog House , said misconceptions surrounding shelter dogsare that they are surrendered to a shelter due to behavioural issues or are“broken” and won’t make a suitable family pet.

“Unfortunately, the impact of these misconceptions is that people who arelooking to adopt a dog end up purchasing from a breeder or pet store ratherthan a shelter, resulting in dogs’ length of stay extending in the shelterwhilst waiting to meet their new family.”

The Animal Welfare League NSW sees hundreds of dogs come through its doorseach year who are successfully rehomed either with or without rehabilitationprior to rehoming.

“At Animal Welfare League NSW we ensure our dogs are microchipped, vaccinated,flea and worm treated, desexed and have had a full health check from ourveterinarians. Our dogs are behaviourally assessed to ensure we can find themost suitable home to not only for the dog, but also to match the new family’slifestyle.”

The review conducted a study of relinquished dogs and owned dogs and found anincreased risk of relinquishment if the dogs soiled at home, displayed fear,hyperactivity, or destructive behaviour. However, it stated these behavioursmay not necessarily be dog-problems but rather the product of owner andenvironment factors.

March urged those looking to acquire a pet to look past the misconceptions andconsider adopting a pet as opposed to buying one.

“By adopting you are giving a beautiful dog a second chance at life andreducing the amount of abandoned, surrendered, abused and neglected animalsthat find themselves in shelters all around the world. These dogs want nothingmore than a loving family who will meet all their needs whilst also having awarm bed to sleep on at night.

“Animals come into our care for many reasons with an array of backgroundshowever they are extremely forgiving regardless of what their past mayentail.”

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Tagged: Animal Welfare League NSW, Shelter Dogs

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