Independent Study 490H: The Effects of Environmental Enrichment during the Holding Period of Shelter Dogs on Rate of Adoption
The objective of this study was to determine the effects of providing dogs with environmental enrichment (EE) during the holding period on stereotypic behavior and if providing EE reduced the time to adoption. A total of 14 large dogs were selected for data analysis as they meet the following study inclusion criteria of being observed for 4 consecutive days. Dogs were assigned to one of three treatment groups: TRT 1: Control no toy (n=6), TRT 2; Empty Kong (n=3), TRT 3; Kong stuffed with kibble and peanut butter (n=5). Treatments were provided at the beginning of each day’s observation period. Dogs resume to normal shelter care after D-1 or once moving to the adoption area. Dog postures and behavior were observed every 3 mins using live scan sample for 2-h (1500 and 1700 h). A baseline observation for each dog was established on D-4 prior to the introduction of treatments. Treatment observations were recorded on D-3, D-2, and D-1. Results show the dogs were mainly inactive. Dogs that were provided with enrichment were less vocal than the control group. Toy interaction was overall low, as were definite instances of stereotypical behavior. Eight dogs moved onto adoption and were typically adopted between 1 to 2 days regardless of treatment. The sample size was too small to make conclusions regarding if the use of an EE device reduced the number of days dogs were available for adoption or instances of stereotypies.