We at Digital Doggy are all about adopting from shelters. When you’re looking for your new four legged friend, head on over to your nearest adoption center and check out the pups! There are so many dogs that are waiting for their forever homes.
And recently, shelters have been struggling with new tests to determine if dogs are ready to be adopted. For most shelters, they conduct a test with a dog to see if they are fit for families and homes. Because some dogs come from the streets or bad homes, there are a few pups that might be dangerous for a new family. And these new tests are meant to answer two vital questions. Will the dog attack a human? How about another dog? The typical test that’s administered at shelters goes a little something like this. They give a pup a bowl of food, and then try to take it away with a fake hand. If the pup is aggressive and bites the hand, that’s a fail on the test.
Read also: “What Is Your Dog Trying To Say: Analyzing Dog Barks”
Sound silly? We think so too. People are saying that the aggression test isn’t a good way to determine how Fido will act once he’s adopted. One of these people is Mary Martin, the new director of the Maricopa County Animal Shelter in Phoenix, Arizona. This particular shelter takes in 34,000 dogs annually, according to The New York Times. At this capacity, it’s nearly impossible to keep all of the dogs, especially with the limited resources that they have. It pains us to say it, but there’s only so much room for dogs, and they have to all be ready to be adopted. Those that fail the shelter test don’t get a chance to find a forever home. But Martin disagrees with the shelter test. She stopped the testing on January 31st.
An adjunct professor at the veterinary medicine school at Tufts by the name of Dr. Gary J. Patroneck says that the tests are “artificial and contrived.”
“During the most stressful time of a dog’s life, you’re exposing it to deliberate attempts to provoke a reaction,” Dr. Patronek said. “And then the dog does something it wouldn’t do in a family situation.” Pets are super stressed in shelters, with the new environment (so many different smells!), loud noises, and other dogs. We’d definitely be stressed out too.
There is no way to determine how many of these tests have been falsely scored, because the reporting information on these dogs simply isn’t accurate. But there are others who still stick by the test, saying that new owners want to have the assurance that their new four legged friend won’t suddenly turn on them. While we totally get it (after all, you defianitely want a friendly pup!) we think that there should be a better test to figure out whether a pup is ready to be adopted.
These tests are being scrutinized more and more now due to some good news! Pet adoption is on the rise, increasing over 20 percent since 2011, and euthanasia rates are down too! And more and more is done to help alleviate the strains on some of these shelters, such as, ferrying pets from overcrowded shelters in the South and Southern California to place in the Northwest, where there’s more room to accommodate them and more loving owners looking for an addition to the family!