A recent study in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior focused on shelter dogs in Vienna, Austria. Their goal? To find out what would increase the chances for long-term shelter dogs getting adopted. It turns out they were able to conclude and prove that socialization and basic training were found to significantly improve the chance for adoption; however time constraints often do not allow most shelter staff to engage in additional activities with the animals. The Vienna Shelter tried to come up with a way to help their animals anyway. They created a ‘‘sponsors of care’’ program designed for each shelter dog to be matched with a sponsor who would be responsible for taking the dog on regular walks. The shelter even created a training program with a professional trainer for the sponsors to attend, and offered supervision when difficulties arose.
Over the years since this program began in 2003, the number of sponsors working with dogs has increased, many sponsors ended up adopting their shelter dog, and best of all as a result of this program, the number of long-term stays was reduced from 26% to 12% by 2009! This study proves that taking shelter dogs for walks significantly increases their quality of life as well as their chances for adoption. If you’re in need of dog-walkers to help your dogs get movin’, use Adopt-a-Pet.com’s volunteer database to find passionate tennis-shoe -wearing folks who are more than willing to hoof it and woof it so that your dogs can become more adoptable, too! Click here to find volunteers near you!
- Written by Katya Lidsky, AdoptaPet.com Director of Parterships & Promotions at Adopt-a-Pet.com. Katya has a masters degree from Harvard University specializing in working with at-risk communities. She soon learned that the at-risk group she felt most compelled to help was actually four-legged and furry. She became a certified dog trainer through the Companion Animal Science Institute, and is now pursuing an advanced degree as a behaviorist, focusing on the needs of shelter and rescue dogs.