Dogs in Animal Shelters: Problems, Suggestions, and Needed Expertise

Document Type


Publication Date



Because of very real practical constraints, conditions in animal shelters are often reminiscent of those in early primate deprivation studies. Dogs are frequently surrendered to shelters because of behavior problems, and aspects of the shelter environment may induce anomalous behavior, increasing the chances that adopted dogs will be returned to the shelters. Comparative psychologists, psychobiologists, and other behavioral scientists possess the knowledge and techniques to help shelters intervene in this cycle. Experience suggests human interaction and the application of basic conditioning procedures can reduce the impact of the shelter environment, and ease the transition into the adoptive home. A program developed to meet these goals is described. Shelters can provide opportunities both for the training of students in animal-related exercises and for limited applied research. Behavioral scientists stand in a unique position to help transform conditions in animal shelters to the benefit of all involved.

Find in your library

Off-Campus WSU Users