Using Personality Assessments to Match Pets With Owners

A Time magazine article from earlier this year says a growing number of shelters are using pet personality tests - or more specifically Canine-ality and Feline-ality assessments - to better match pets with new owners.
The process starts with potential adopters answering a list of questions regarding their expectations of a pet, ranging from "I want my dog to be playful - Not at All, Somewhat, or Very" to "I am comfortable doing some training with my dog to improve manners such as jumping, stealing food, and pulling on the leash - No, Some, or A Lot of Training."

On the other end, each animal's personality is categorized by shelter workers. The assessment tools include a four-minute hidden camera look at how a dog reacts to finding himself alone near a kitchen counter, bed or couch, with a trash can nearby.
It sounds like a useful way to provide better pet-owner matchups. Pets express many individual behaviors in addition to the behaviors associated with their breed.

A USA Today story on the pet assessments shows a few of the sample questions asked of people interested in adopting a pet.

The ASPCA's matching program is called Meet Your Match (MYM). The program has helped reduce adopted pet returns and euthanasia. MYM uses the Canine-ality and Feline-ality assessments developed by Emily Weiss. You can find more about the program here.

The ASPCA's Meet Your Match program


Image: ASPCA

Posted on March 18, 2008

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