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Evaluation of association between retention in the home and attendance at puppy socialization classes

Dr. Margaret M. Duxbury DVM1,2, Julie A. Jackson3,4, Dr. Scott W. Line DVM, PhD, DACVB5,6, and Dr. Robert K. Anderson DVM, MPH, DACVPM, DACVB7
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  • 1 Center to Study Human Animal Relationships and Environments, College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.
  • | 2 Present address is College of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Teaching Hospital, University of Minnesota, St Paul, MN 55108.
  • | 3 Animal Humane Society, 845 Meadow Ln N, Golden Valley, MN 55422.
  • | 4 Present address is 2100 Creek Top Way, Richmond, VA 23236.
  • | 5 Animal Humane Society, 845 Meadow Ln N, Golden Valley, MN 55422.
  • | 6 Present address is Merial Ltd, 3239 Satellite Blvd, Duluth, GA 30096.
  • | 7 Center to Study Human Animal Relationships and Environments, College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate associations between retention of dogs in their adoptive homes and attendance at puppy socialization classes and other factors.

Design—Epidemiologic survey.

Animals—248 adult dogs that were adopted as puppies from a humane society.

Procedure—Owners completed questionnaires regarding demographics, retention of the dogs in the homes, and the dogs' early learning events.

Results—Higher retention in the homes was reported for dogs that participated in humane society puppy socialization classes, were female, wore headcollars as puppies, were handled frequently as puppies, were more responsive to commands, slept on or near the owner's bed, or lived in homes without young children.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest several practices that veterinarians may recommend to enhance the likelihood that puppies will remain in their first homes, such as enrolling 7- to 12-week-old puppies in early learning and socialization classes. The lower rate of retention of dogs in homes with children emphasizes the importance of helping owners develop realistic expectations, knowledge, and effective tools to manage interactions between their children and dogs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003; 223:61–66)

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate associations between retention of dogs in their adoptive homes and attendance at puppy socialization classes and other factors.

Design—Epidemiologic survey.

Animals—248 adult dogs that were adopted as puppies from a humane society.

Procedure—Owners completed questionnaires regarding demographics, retention of the dogs in the homes, and the dogs' early learning events.

Results—Higher retention in the homes was reported for dogs that participated in humane society puppy socialization classes, were female, wore headcollars as puppies, were handled frequently as puppies, were more responsive to commands, slept on or near the owner's bed, or lived in homes without young children.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest several practices that veterinarians may recommend to enhance the likelihood that puppies will remain in their first homes, such as enrolling 7- to 12-week-old puppies in early learning and socialization classes. The lower rate of retention of dogs in homes with children emphasizes the importance of helping owners develop realistic expectations, knowledge, and effective tools to manage interactions between their children and dogs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003; 223:61–66)