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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)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association