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Posts Tagged ‘Meet Your Match’

Dog Adopters: Stop focusing on that picture and focus on the match

March 1, 2014 28 comments

Sad Looking Chocolate LabIn a Suzanne Clothier seminar I attended last year, she shared a video of the first meeting between a man and a dog he wanted to adopt. She asked us to watch the dog’s body language as the man interacted with him.

It was pretty clear throughout the video that the dog was uncomfortable with the man’s interactions with him. The dog wanted more space, the man wanted less. The dog was happy to sit at his feet, the man wanted him to sit right next to him. The dog wasn’t into hugs, the man wanted to snuggle and hug away.

It was evident that the needs of dog and man did not match. They were incompatible. But, as Suzanne shared later, the man was still set on getting the dog. He couldn’t see that they weren’t a match because he had already fallen in love with the dog’s picture. He had already envisioned his life with this dog. It never occurred to him that the dog in the picture might not be a match for him or his lifestyle.

Fortunately, Suzanne and staff were eventually able to convince him not to adopt the dog, but from what she said, not without some serious convincing.

I experienced something similar recently.

Like the situation I mentioned above, the potential adopter (a great candidate!) had fallen in love with the dog she had seen in a picture. In her mind, she had saw them going on walks and visiting friends. She wanted a dog that would cuddle and be silly and play with her.

What she wanted a normal, well-socialized dog.

Man and Dog Lying on FloorUnfortunately, she had fallen in love with a picture of a former puppy mill dog. This was a dog who had never been on a walk on a leash before, who still had to be caught or herded inside the house, a dog that was a huge flight risk and not likely to socialize with strangers very easily. Definitely a mis-match.

It took some convincing, but eventually the adopter was able to see that the life she had envisioned with this dog would not be the life she would get. Changing the image of what she had in her head with a more realistic one allowed her to see that it was not a match. Reluctantly, she made the decision not to adopt that particular dog. A good decision in my opinion. Shortly after this she did find the “right” dog, a dog who was a much better match and I hear that both are very happy together.

I share these stories because I think there is a lesson here for all of us. The lesson is not to stop taking adorable pictures of adoptable dogs. (I am all for taking better pictures of dogs to help get them adopted – the cuter, the better in my book.) It is a reminder that a picture is only the first step. It is a way to get you interested in a dog. It is not, however, a good indication of how the dog will fit into your family or your lifestyle. Understanding the dog’s personality and preferences are just as important as understanding your own.

Yes. Fall in love with that picture, but then spend the time getting to know the dog and find out whether the dog’s personality and preferences really match your own. Is the dog too active for your lifestyle? Or are they not active enough? Does the dog prefer to cuddle with you or not? And, is that okay with you? Does a dog like other dogs or does he prefer to be an only? If adopters and rescuers spent more time asking themselves and their adopters these questions, I think the chances of a good match would increase. After all, isn’t the goal here to save a dog and help a human?

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Can your personality pick your dog breed?

October 22, 2012 31 comments

I love personality tests and questionnaires that give you some insight into yourself. When I volunteered at our local shelter, we introduced the Meet Your Match program to help improve dog retention numbers for adopted dogs and cats. I took the short questionnaire and was surprised to find out that I prefer “Green” dogs. I was also surprised to learn that I was not all that common amongst the group of volunteers I worked with every day. Most of my friends preferred the Orange or Purple dogs. It sure gave me insight into myself and the dogs I preferred. I’m not sure I knew that I liked the really busy and active dogs as much as I did. Now? I totally recognize it. I gravitate towards the busy ones the most.

Maybe that’s why I was so interested in this story when I saw it. “What Your Dog’s Breed Says About You” highlights a new study on the correlation between personality and dog breed preferences. It seems pretty similar to Meet Your Match, but reveals new information that may help with pet adoption in the future.

The researchers wanted to see how personality traits would influence real-world behavior and preferences.What they found out was interesting.

“We go for dogs that are a bit like us, just as we go for a romantic partner who is a bit like us,” study researcher Lance Workman, a psychologist at Bath Spa University in the United Kingdom, told LiveScience.

Here’s a quick highlight of what was shared in the article:

They researchers asked 1000 purebreed dog owners to take an online survey that measured these personality traits:

  • openness
  • conscientiousness
  • extroversion
  • agreeableness
  • neuroticism.

The researchers also split the dog breeds into categories using the seven Kennel Club breed groups:

  • Gun dogs (e.g., Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, English Setter, Brittany Spaniel, Weimaraner, etc.))
  • Hound dogs (e.g., Greyhound, Afghan, Bloodhound, Saluki, Basenji, Borzoi, Dachshund, etc.)
  • Pastoral breeds (e.g., German shepherd, Collis, Anatolian Shepherd, Shetland Sheepdog, Border Collie, etc.)
  • Terriers (e.g., Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Airedale Terrier, Norfolk Terrier, Soft-coated Wheaton Terrier, etc.)
  • Toy breeds (e.g., Chihuahua, Bichon Frise, King Charles Spaniel, Papillon, Havanese, etc.)
  • Utility breeds (includes Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Poodle, Schnauzer, etc.)
  • Working breeds (e.g., Doberman,  Boxer, Newfoundland, Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Dane, Mastiff, etc.)

They found that there were some correlations between personality types and dog breed preferences.

  • Extroverts were more likely to own pastoral or utility breeds
  • Owners of gun dogs and toy dogs were most agreeable.
  • Hound owners tend to be the most emotionally stable people.
  • Toy dog owners were the most open and imaginative.

The researchers presented their results to the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in London. Their hope is that this new information will help people pick the right breed the first time and lessen the chances that a dog ends up in an animal shelter.

What do you think? If you could identify which dog breed, or mix of dog breeds, best fits your personality would you want to know? Would you use it to help you select your next dog?

Dogs: Meet You Match!

May 2, 2009 2 comments
Have you met your match?

Have you met your match?

Online dating has become all the rage. Answer a few questions online and before you know it you’ve found your perfect match (and maybe a new partner for life)!

In the world of dogs, it can be hard to find a dog that is the “perfect” match for you. The dog you adopted may have looked and acted like the dog you wanted while at the shelter, but then you get him home and suddenly you realize he has way more energy than you can handle. Or, maybe he is more of a couch potato than what you wanted.

But, what if you could find a dog that is a good match for you before you leave your local animal shelter? Well, today the Minnesota Valley Humane Society (MVHS) launched a new program designed to help you do just that.

The new adoption program is called “Meet Your Match” and it is designed to help you to pick the dog that is right for you based on your lifestyle and what you are looking for in a canine companion. The program was first developed and tested by Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Dr. Emily Weiss, and implemented by the ASPCA with the underlying goal of increasing the likelihood that shelter dogs are adopted (and stay with their new families) based on lifestyle.

Dogs are assessed using a special assessment process, and then based on their assessment results, they are color-coded as a purple, orange, or green. Their color-code is then displayed on their kennels and on their pictures on the website. You, as the future owner, also complete a quick survey and based on your results, the MVHS staff and volunteers will give you a color-coded Guest Pass and direct you to the dogs that match your color. This helps to ensure the match is the best one for both you and your dog.

Go ahead and take the online survey NOW to see what dog bests suits you, or better yet, head on over to MVHS and take the survey in person. That way you can immediately set about finding a dog that best matches your lifestyle.

Both staff and volunteers are excited about this new program. We hope you will be too!
And, by the way, your color-coding can also be used at any shelter that has implemented the Meet Your Match program to find a dog that best suits you and your lifestyle. I encourage you to check it out!

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