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Limits of Dog Behavior Evaluations in Shelters

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John Griffin is the director of shelter services at the Women’s Humane Society in Bensalem, PA. They are committed to the humane and compassionate treatment of animals and are distinguished as America’s First Animal Shelter.

What are the limits of behavior evaluations in shelters?

They are unbelievably limited. There has been a lot of recent research on just how limited they are so we always have to take things with a grain of salt that we learn in a behavior evaluation. They are limited to who is handling that animal that day, how they handle them and if the animal is having a bad day. Maybe you know the dog next to them is kind of, you know, very rambunctious and that’s not working for them. What if they had to get needles that day so we should do something, but they should never be kind of the be all – end all, because you can’t capture this dog in the shelter two days after they were brought in and tell me what this dog is going to do for every day for the rest of its life. And that’s why we here consult owner surrender information you know they saw the sheet if we need more follow up information we call them. You know hey what do you mean by this what did you mean by that, because they are going to be able to give you a better glimpse of what that animal was like when it wasn’t terrified or adjusting to a new situation, or just kind of being handled by someone who scares them.