Behavior problems are the primary reason for dog relinquishment and, ultimately, the cause of death for most of the 2 million dogs that are euthanized annually in shelters.1–3 Common behavior problems in adult dogs relinquished to shelters include aggression, inappropriate elimination, destructive behavior, and excessive activity.3,4 Dogs with elimination problems, such as urinating and defecating in the house, are at an increased risk for relinquishment to animal shelters.4–6 In 1 study,3 house-soiling was the most frequently reported behavioral reason for relinquishment of dogs. Considering the risk of relinquishment associated with house-soiling in the pet dog population, veterinarians and shelter staff have a critical role in advising and educating owners on how to successfully house-train their pets. It is hypothesized that similar to many medical problems, behavior problems are best treated with prevention.7 Preventive counseling at or before pet acquisition could help prevent house-soiling, thereby reducing pet relinquishment as well as loss of revenue for veterinary practitioners. The purpose of the study reported here was to determine the effect of preadoption counseling for owners on house-training success among dogs acquired from shelters. Our hypothesis was that preadoption counseling of owners would increase the success of house-training among dogs in their new homes, compared with findings among dogs newly adopted by owners who did not receive counseling.
Franklin County Dog Shelter, 1731 Alum Creek Dr, Columbus, Ohio.
Franklin County Dog Shelter impound totals, 2005, available from the corresponding author on request.
Copies of the telephone survey are available from the corresponding author on request.
Microsoft Office Access 2003, Microsoft Corp, Redmond, Wash.
Stata, version 9.1, StataCorp, College Station, Tex.
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