Team of psychologists at Indiana University have dedicated research in analyzing choices of canine companions. The team concludes that humans face indecisiveness while picking up a canine. The team drew conclusions based upon data collected from the animal shelter. The research will further help improve the pet adoption process.
Samantha Cohen, one of the lead authors of the study stated that people tend to express preference choices while picking a canine, however, their ultimate selection is contrary to their earlier desires. “By focusing on a subset of desired traits, rather than everything a visitor says, I believe we can make animal adoption more efficient and successful,” Cohen commented. She could draw accurate results from her previous experience of working as an adoption counselor at the animal shelter.
The psychologists categorized dogs based on 13 traits, these include size, color, age, sex, energy level, purebred status, nervousness, previous training, intelligence, protectiveness, excitability friendliness, and playfulness. In addition, the experts surveyed preferences of 1,299 visitors to the adoption center and ultimately also the preferences of 145 people who finally settled for the adoption.
Cohen commented, that as a counselor she had to match people’s preferences to the choice of dogs, but the end result always suggested that people ultimately chose another dog contrary to Cohen’s suggestion and to people’s previous preferences, while only some of the desired traits were fulfilled.
The experts found a similar trait when it came to the trend of speed dating. According to Peter Todd, co-author of the research, people’s romantic preferences did not sync with the partners they ultimately chose.
People at the adoption center stated many preferences for the pets, friendliness being the most popular, however, in their final choice only few of their previous preferences were fulfilled, such as color, or purebred status, etc. A parallel was found in the dating culture. Experts suggest that looks always mattered in both situations.
“As multiple psychologists have shown in speed-dating experiments, physical attractiveness is very important,” Cohen commented. “Most people think they’ve got a handsome or good-looking dog.”
As an end result, Cohen suggests that pet adoption shelters need to be aware of certain peculiar traits, which are more common among pet owners. An intervention was also suggested by the experts, claiming that it helped to provide a calmer environment for stressed dogs. Moreover, she also cautioned about online adoption, claiming that it offered people with a second-hand description of the dogs.