How to Increase Dog Shelter Adoptions

Dogs at a shelter
Dogs at a shelter

A collaborative research project conducted in 2023 found that shelter dogs who had brief but regular outings or fostering were more likely to be adopted. 

The research was conducted by Virginia Tech and Arizona State University. 

Data was analysed from animal shelters in the USA on 1,955 dogs that had received interventions and fostering. 

There were 25,946 residing shelter dogs that served as the studies control. 

It was funded by a 1.7-million-dollar grant and the results published in the journal Animals.

Over the grants four-year life span, there was eighty-five shelter partners and members of the public that helped the research team carry out these studies.

The data results indicated that those programs with outings and fostering did not only help the resident dogs have an improved experience in the shelter, but also dramatically increased their likelihood of adoption. 

There are a few reasons why these dogs were more likely to be adopted, one is that there is more public awareness and people in the neighbourhood actually see or meet the fostered dog. 

These dogs also become more receptive and friendly to staff and visitors in the shelters.

In the USA it is estimated that every year 6.3 million companion dogs end up at one of the many shelters. 

Let us hope Australia introduces better dog breeding and ownership laws before we follow in the same, sad direction. 

America’s human population is currently about 342 million, 12.5 times greater than Australia, so the problem of abandoned, unwanted or mistreated dogs and pets is far greater there. 

This research is still valuable for shelters all over the world and highlights the importance of having resources within communities to support those programs. 

The advantage for those wanting to become involved is that there are no additional costs for the participants or the shelter, because the shelter supplies the dog food and walking equipment. 

The only drawbacks for fostering are that the foster carers need to have some knowledge and experience with dogs.

By Pam Brandis