Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Bonded pairs in dogs

    Posted 05-15-2022 11:19 AM

    I'm looking for resources on how to officially test if a pair of dogs is bonded. I know how we test, but I want something to back it up.


    Abby Varela
    Austin Animal Center

  • 2.  RE: Bonded pairs in dogs

    Posted 05-20-2022 10:08 AM
    Would love to connect about this topic and happy to provide insight on your current assessment as it relates to my protocol! 

    As we know from current research, there are so many barriers to collecting objective behavior data for onsite shelter pets. Collecting detailed in-home histories (foster, finder, former home) was a significant piece of my assessment process. 

    We then moved to assessing dogs daily in kennel when cohoused, during feeding time, and during playgroups with additional (non-resident) dogs in the same space. 

    If engagement with the novel dogs occurred or when other social behaviors occurred, the tentatively bonded pair would be separated in the playgroups yards for further observation. 

    Would flag any stress-induced behaviors and defer to keeping a pair as "bonded" when stress was observed in either dog due to the separation. 

    Even if officially separating a pair that came in together for adoption counseling purposes, we would continue to cohouse until placed.

    PACC also recently shared a very valuable resource regarding their bonded pair program.

    Thank you for the work that you do!

    Heather Kalman
    Embedded Data Coordinator
    American Pets Alive!, Human Animal Support Service