Shelter dogs will be assessed using a standardized jumpy/mouthy assessment tool the CSD developed specifically for this project in order to identify dogs with jumpy/mouthy behavior. Eligible dogs demonstrating jumpy/mouthy behavior will be tested using the assessment before and after the behavior modification program. A reduction in jumpy/mouthy behavior at the end of the training program will provide evidence that the training program is effective, making these dogs more manageable for the shelter staff and possibly increasing adoption chances for them.
The project is currently in its pilot stage at the Animal Rescue League of Boston.
It’s always exciting when a new project begins, but this project has been particularly exciting. As the study launched, the Animal Rescue League of Boston had several perfect candidates for the study - incredibly handsome dogs, full of energy and excitement who, in one second, transfer into dogs who jump uncontrollably, hard mouth, and illustrate a lot of grabbing of clothing and leashes. It was and still is a real challenge to work with these dogs. For instance, some small details that you may not always pay attention to, may easily over stimulate jumpy/mouthy dogs. In the first session, a neck scarf and jacket ornament was almost ripped off. Learning from this experience, a special “dressing code” was added to all future trainings and assessments. In the next session, one of the dogs was craving our paper notes.
After this, participants in the study had to memorize their roles because “no paper notes” were allowed since then. A large dog’s bed in the room where the study was being conducted also had to be moved into another room because several dogs liked its fluffy polyester filling.
So, it was and very much still is a “learn on the go” process that has been fun and enjoyable for both dogs and humans. We look forward to continuing this study and keeping you posted on its progress and results!