|For Shelters &
|Notes on Language|
|Labels & Language|
|For Dog Owners|
Creating successful adoptions begins before the adopters walk through your doors!
Want to increase the volume and the quality of “pit bull” dog adoptions? Then you’ll need to get things started off on the right foot. Before adopters even step through your doors, commit to sending clear, positive messages to your community about the “pit bull” dogs in your care.
Does your organization currently have restrictions, procedures, or polices in place that only apply to “pit bull” dogs? If so, you’re sending a message to the public that “pit bull” dogs are different than the other dogs in your shelter.
When the public is told that “pit bull” dogs are different, their fears and misconceptions are reinforced. This contributes to longer stays and fewer adoptions for the “pit bull” dogs in your care. As animal welfare professionals, it’s vital that we view every dog as an individual and communicate this message to the public by removing policies influenced by stereotypes or fear.
Instead of relying on blanket restrictions based on breed labels, get to know your dogs and their individual personalities through observations, their histories, and evaluations. Try to determine what they need to succeed in their new homes.
Some dogs will need more structured adoptions, while others will need no restrictions at all. The key is to make these determinations for each individual dog.
To make the best matches, observe the dogs in your care. Some dogs will need adopters with previous dog experience, while others will do great as a first time pet.
Rather than saddling “pit bull” dogs with restrictions that may not apply to them, get to know the dogs in your care. Observe and evaluate them interacting with other animals.
Set dogs up for success in their new homes by providing the tools that new families need to properly manage them around their children and/or other pets.
This extra layer of screening sends the message that “pit bull” dogs are different from other shelter dogs and it stigmatizes families interested in adopting them. Don’t put the public on the defensive by requiring background checks or other policies that presume suspicion.
With a customer service model in mind, be respectful of potential adopters and aim for an open dialogue. When there concerns about a particular adopter, it should be handled as a unique incident.
Treating potential adopters and available dogs as individuals allows for the greatest possibility of success because it takes the needs and preferences of each dog and each family into account.
The following excerpt is from an article in Best Friends Magazine:
"There is no discrimination at LHS, regardless of breed, age, or size. All of our dogs go through the same assessment system," she says.
Sarah explains that the staff and volunteers are well aware of breed discrimination, and they hope to educate the public that dogs should not be judged by their breed, but rather by their individual personality.
Now that you’re treating your adopters and your dogs as individuals by getting to know their unique needs, how do you make a successful match?