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Title: Rehoming dynamics and health of dogs at a UK dog welfare charity
Author: Diesel, Gillian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2679 0151
Awarding Body: Royal Veterinary College (University of London)
Current Institution: Royal Veterinary College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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Each year in the UK, in addition to the stray dogs passed onto animal welfare organisations and dog kennels from the dog warden service, many others are handed over by members of the public for rehoming. Dogs Trust rehomed over 12,000 dogs during 2006. The stresses of staying in kennels and the change in environment can have a negative impact on the health of these dogs and this compromises their welfare and affects the success of rehoming. There have been very few studies examining the processes influencing success of rehoming in the UK. The current studies were conducted to describe indirect effects such as the previous owners, the dogs and their home environments, the health of the dogs in kennels and the effect factors directly affecting the success of rehoming these dogs. A descriptive study showed the most common reasons for dogs to be relinquished were behavioural problems and the owner feeling that the dog needs more attention than they can give it. Additionally, it was shown that behavioural issues were more common amongst those dogs relinquished for the second time whilst owner-related factors were more common for those dogs relinquished for the first time. Another descriptive study focussing on the, health of the dogs whilst in kennels showed that many dogs were ill when they arrived at the kennels making it difficult to prevent the introduction of diseases. It was also found that if the dogs were ill soon after adoption they were more likely to be rehomed unsuccessfully and returned to kennels. Risk factors that increased the likelihood of a dog being rehomed unsuccessfully were identified using a prospective cohort study. The results suggest that behavioural problems are an important factor especially if the dog had shown aggressipn towards people. However, there were also indications that by the owners obtaining advice, this risk couid be significantly reduced. Attending training classes significantly decreased the chance that the adoption would be unsuccessful. The data a1so suggested that families with younger adults and young children, and owners who found that the effort and work involved in looking after their dog to be more than they expected were more likely to return the dog. This study highlighted the importance of behavioural problems and therefore the agreement between members of staff at the rehoming kennels during the behavioural assessment of dogs was assessed using an additional study. These studies were able to highlight particular factors which could be changed or where new policies could be implemented in order to prevent some relinquishments or improve the reterition of dogs post-adoption.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available