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