Qualified “in shelter” dogs’ evaluation and training to promote successful dog-human relationships
Marilena Sticco, Roberto Trentini, Pia Lucidi
DOI: 10.4236/ojas.2011.13018   PDF    HTML     5,330 Downloads   11,295 Views   Citations


The phenomenon of dogs’ relinquishment in Italy has become a social evil, although many laws exist to regulate animal protection and lately, the act of abandonment has become criminalised (law n.189/2004, enforced by law n.201/2010). Adoption from shelters seems to be the only way to have a controlled, microchipped population of dogs, as well as limiting confinement and euthanasia. After being asked to simplify the previous Ethotest © version [13] by many shelter operators and veterinarians, the authors aimed at analyzing the effectiveness of an improved model to test dogs’ behavioral aptitude matching the expectations of a hypothetical adopter. The new version improves the test feasibility by the elimination of a previous computer-based program, and by the introduction of new items such as hierarchical behavior towards food. In this study dogs housed in the sanitary shelter of L’Aquila (Abruzzo, Italy), of different age and sex, either sterilized or not, and belonging to different breeds or crossbreeds, were tested. All the dogs adopted from the shelter were monitored for one year after the adoption by both phone interviews and home visit. The study aimed at analyzing if the shelter dogs showed a good and consistent behavior after adoption in the new environment. The results demonstrated that apart from a predictable relinquishment and an unfortunate case of abuse, none of the dogs adopted showed any unwanted behaviors such as house soiling, jumping up, separation-related and aggressive behaviors; this made their stay in the family a desirable, exciting experience independently of the dog sex, age, and the family composition. The authors stress the necessity of every shelter, together with the veterinary cares, for a professional expert at dogs’ behavior who can efficaciously prevent behavioral problems, eventually train the dogs and afford the pairing with humans in a competent, qualified manner.

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Sticco, M. , Trentini, R. and Lucidi, P. (2011) Qualified “in shelter” dogs’ evaluation and training to promote successful dog-human relationships. Open Journal of Animal Sciences, 1, 135-144. doi: 10.4236/ojas.2011.13018.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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