Shelter Behavior Evaluations Don’t Help Dogs Or People


August 2019

Shelter behavior evaluations are not reliable ways to get to know who a dog is.

For so many years, we believed they were the way to get to know a dog, but over the years, we’ve learned that there are too many variables involved that render the results unreliable.

In many cases, behavior evaluations are conducted with confirmation bias, as some shelters have different types of evaluations for different dogs.

As Janis Bradley has said:

“All you can ever say is that we’ve demonstrated validity with this population, in this context, with this exact instrument. If you change any of those things–and likely all of those things are going to change in any application in a shelter–any claims you make for validity go completely out the window.”

Recently, we did a Facebook Live interview with Dr. Kelsea Brown, who works for our subsidiary the National Canine Research Council. Dr. Brown recently researched the unreliability of shelter behavior evaluations. She discussed her findings in the livestream.

Bernice and Stacey also talk about better ways to get to know the dog in front of you. 

But Bernice put it best when she said:

“Shut up and listen. See the dog in front of you.”

Watch the livestream below for the full discussion.

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