Keeping dogs at home

Owner ignorance populates shelters with abandoned dogs and cats



Introduction

Several years ago, the Humane Society of the US initiated a “voluntary breeding moratorium” to urge dog breeders to stop producing puppies until all dogs in shelters were adopted to new homes.

“Until there are none, adopt one,” the slogan said.

Thoughtful and caring dog breeders were put on the defensive, pet stores were vilified, and all commercial kennels were lumped together as “puppy mills” no matter how they provided for their animals.

A new study that examined the reasons dogs — about two million each year — are surrendered to animal shelters has shed new light on the problem. The main reasons dogs are surrendered is that owners fail to obedience train or have unrealistic expectations of their pet; the dogs at highest risk of surrender are those acquired at low or no cost, especially those that do not visit a veterinarian regularly.

Gary Patronek VMD, PhD, one of the principle investigators on the study, presented the results at the NAIA Purebred Rescue Symposium last March. The work was published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association on August 1, and is corroborated in another study reported in the August 15 issue of the Journal.

Patronek and his Purdue University colleagues concluded that dog owners who pay more than $100 for a dog, take him to a veterinarian more than once a year, and participate in obedience classes are more likely to provide a long-term home for the animal.

Veterinary care and obedience classes may reinforce the bonding of pet and owner, the researchers wrote “. . . by allowing the owner to experience and appreciate the positive aspects of pet ownership such as companionship, affection, entertainment, and security without overreacting to or being distracted by disruptive or unwanted behavior.”

Their conclusions challenge the assertions of activists that breeders directly and indirectly produce an “overpopulation” of pets and provide testimony for early intervention through education, a solution that breeders, breed clubs, kennel clubs, and the American Kennel Club have promoted for years.


The numbers

The research was done at the Humane Society of St. Joseph, Mishawaka, Indiana. The team compiled separate information for dogs and cats; they interviewed 380 people who surrendered their dogs for adoption and 905 owners who kept their animals. The control group was chosen from a random sample of dog-owning St. Joseph County residents.

Conclusions

Curiously, the discovery that increased veterinary visits can influence a dog's longevity in the home comes at a time when the trend is toward fewer visits, not more. Early rabies and parvovirus vaccination and sterilization can wrap up a puppy's regular visits by the age of four months — before owners get tired of chewing, barking, and other normal but exasperating behaviors.

“Such practices will compress preventive veterinary care for puppies into a shorter period and fewer visits, as has been reported in the United Kingdom, thus decreasing opportunities for client counseling by veterinarians during the period of greatest risk for relinquishment,” the researchers concluded. “Although these results should not discourage prepubertal sterilization of dogs, they highlight the importance of maintaining and perhaps increasing the frequency of contact with clients during the dog's juvenile and early adult years.”

[More on choosing a dog for your family]

Norma Bennett Woolf

This page is a part of the Dog Owner's Guide internet website and is copyright 2014 by Canis Major Publications. You may print or download this material for non-commercial personal or school educational use. All other rights reserved. If you, your organization or business would like to reprint our articles in a newsletter or distribute them free of charge as an educational handout please see our reprint policy.



Related articles Related books
Have you seen the rest of the Dog Owner's Guide articles on Rescue, Canine issues and Manners & training? Don't miss the rest of our articles. Training, health, nutrition and more. . . . Looking for more information about Keeping dogs at home, Rescue, Canine issues and Manners & training? See our list below, visit amazon.com or Dogwise, All Things Dog for those hard-to-find dog books!

Dog Owner's Guide Related Articles

This is article 9 of 18 in the Rescue topic.
    Next Article: EARS to the rescue: EARS joins humane societies to rescue pets displaced by Ohio River flood
    Previous Article: Microchips: Grain-sized microchip can be Fido's ticket home

Related articles:
     Table of contents for "Rescue" only: This topic's table of contents

This is article 15 of 28 in the Canine issues topic.
    Next Article: Matching dogs and people: Susan Sternberg helps shelters evaluate "fantastic dogs"
    Previous Article: Book review: Second Start: Creative Rehoming of Dogs: A innovative look at a perpetual problem

Related articles:
     Table of contents for "Canine issues" only: This topic's table of contents

This is article 40 of 75 in the Manners & training topic.
    Next Article: Puppies really can learn! : Even when they're younger than six months
    Previous Article: High energy dogs!: Some dogs are charter members of the canine energy club...

Related articles:
     Table of contents for "Manners & training" only: This topic's table of contents


Site Topic and article lists:
     Site topic list: Quick list of topics
     Site table of contents: All Dog Owner's Guide articles, listed by topic


Books of Interest

Looking for unusual dog books not easily available anywhere else?

Wondering what dog books are selling at Amazon?
Amazon's general dog's bestseller list
Amazon's breed dog's bestseller list
Amazon's health dog's bestseller list
Amazon's training dog's bestseller list

Dog Owner's Guide, in association with AMAZON.COM, recommends these books for more information on . . .

Keeping dogs at home

Although we don't have any books specifically about this article perhaps the following books will be of interest.


Rescue


Canine issues


Manners & training


Browse our list of recommended books arranged by topic
Search for any book, video or CD at Amazon.com

Contact us