Developing an understanding of canine adoption and how owner experience impacts on success

Clark, Gemma Louise (2015) Developing an understanding of canine adoption and how owner experience impacts on success. MPhil thesis, University of Nottingham.

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In 2010 in the United Kingdom an estimated 89,571 dogs passed through re-homing centres (Stavisky et al. 2012). Around 50% of these were relinquished by owners, with the rest largely being strays. Reasons for relinquishment have been widely reported. After adoption, the percentage of dogs being returned to re-homing centres (re-relinquishment) has been reported between 0% and 26% across a cross section of United Kingdom organisations (King, 2010).

To date, research considering the success of canine adoption has been mostly retrospective and relatively limited in scope. The aim of this study was to investigate owner’s experience of adoption as they are the decision makers who ultimately control the outcome.

This study recruited a prospective cohort of 248 dog owners and considered their aims and expectations of dog ownership at the pre-adoption stage. 112 particpants shared their experience post adoption. A mixed methods approach was used integrating both qualitative and quantitative research. Seven different re-homing organisations were recruited to encompass a range of different re-homing policies.

The study identified that most owners have previous experience of dog adoption, and that companionship is a key motivation for ownership. Most owners choose to source dogs from a rehoming centre for altruistic reasons. Owner expectations of dog ownership were mostly positive. Owners frequently reported problems in the post adoption period however they still reported that they perceived that dogs behaved significantly better than expected when they first went home. Participants showed reluctance to return dogs although they were more likely to consider this option in the event of their dog being aggressive. The overall re-relinquishment rate for all organisations was 12% but ranged from 4% to 20%

This study adds greater depth to our understanding of how owners experience canine adoption. Opportunities for strengthening the human-animal bond are identified to promote successful re-homing.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (MPhil)
Supervisors: Asher, L.
Dean, R.
Stavisky, J.
Keywords: Dog owners, Psychology
Subjects: S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
Item ID: 37423
Depositing User: Airey, Ms Valerie
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2016 13:11
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2016 06:14

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