Determining if Human Exposure has a Positive Effect on the Behavior of Shelter Dogs

The experiment conducted was to test whether exposing shelter dogs to human interaction will have a positive effect on their behavior, and result in them becoming more adoptable. This information can be used to positively influence the behavior and the overall life of shelter dogs and to strengthen the relationship between dogs and their owners. To perform this experiment, a temperament behavioral assessment was given before human interaction was implemented to see where the dogs originally fell on the behavior scale. A human exposure procedure was then implemented on each dog for two weeks, focusing on common psychological and behavioral issues. After the exposure was complete, the researchers conducted the same temperament assessment on each of the dogs in order to determine the improvement or deterioration in the dog’s behavior. The data was then analyzed descriptively by finding the total scores from each subcategory of the pre-exposure assessment and comparing this total to the total of the post-exposure assessment. The total scores showed increases in the averages of each category, specifically in the kennel approach and the touch/handling categories. In addition, scatter plots showed a general increasing trend for each group of dogs, and box plots of assessment scores showed visibly higher scores from the pre-exposure assessment to the post-exposure.

Research Conducted By:

Alixandria Trombley
Lakeview High School

Megan Davey
Lakeshore High School