Owner Attachment and Problem Behaviors Related to Relinquishment and Training Techniques of Dogs

Jennifer Y. Kwan, Melissa Bain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Problematic behaviors are a significant reason for relinquishment, and relinquished dogs are more likely to have problem behaviors. This study utilized standardized surveys of owners (companion animal guardians) relinquishing their dogs to shelters and dog owners visiting vaccination clinics. "Relinquishing" and "continuing" owners were asked questions in the following categories: demographic information, training methods and tools, frequencies in which their dogs engaged in problematic behaviors, and attachment to their dogs. "Relinquishers" were also asked to provide their reasons for relinquishment. The results of 129 surveys (80 relinquishing and 49 continuing) showed that relinquishers scored lower on companion animal attachment than continuing owners. Pit bull-type dogs were represented more in the relinquishing group. Relinquished dogs were no less likely to have attended training classes than continuing dogs. In both groups, owners who used punishment-based collars reported less satisfaction with their dogs' overall and leash-walking behaviors. Pit bull-type dogs were reported to be no less well behaved compared with all other breeds combined. Sixty-five percent of relinquishers reported some behavioral reason for relinquishment. Forty-eight percent of relinquishers indicated that at least 1 problem behavior was a strong influence on their decision to relinquish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-183
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • attachment
  • behavior
  • dog
  • shelter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Owner Attachment and Problem Behaviors Related to Relinquishment and Training Techniques of Dogs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this