How Does Your Organization Influence The Public’s Actions?
“No one wants to adopt our “pit bull” dogs.” In our work with shelters around the country, it’s not uncommon to hear some version of this statement. When we hear this, we like to jump in to offer what we know works to boost adoptions – better policies, welcoming adoption counseling, kennel enrichment, positive marketing. You name it; we […]
The Majority Project: New Tools To Stop “Pit Bull” Dog Owner Discrimination
When Animal Farm Foundation put out a call for photo submissions from everyday “pit bull” dog owners we never imagined that a little over a year later we’d have a (still growing) collection of hundreds and hundreds of photos. The Majority Project is the result of those photos, submitted from families around the country who […]
Letting Dogs Play and Experience the World Together Is One of the Best Ways to Increase Adoptions
You may have noticed that we spend a significant amount of our time and resources teaching shelters about kennel enrichment and playgroups. We thought we’d take some time to explain how kennel enrichment and playgroups fit in with our mission to secure equal treatment and opportunity for “pit bull” dogs.
Unique and Uniform: The #1 Myth that Fuels Canine Discrimination
Whenever breed restrictions or bans are proposed, those arguing for discriminatory policies rely on this false idea: that “pit bull” dogs are uniquely different from all other dogs and that they are uniform in their behavior. In other words, they mistakenly believe that “pit bull” dogs are specially and consistently different from all other dogs, but are all similar to […]
“Too Many Pit Bulls”: A Case of Psychic Numbing
We have too many pit bulls. All we have are pit bulls. We have a pit bull problem. Nobody wants to adopt our pit bulls. Across the country, in interviews with the local news, these sound bites are repeated over and over. Usually intended to be a call for help, a positive plug for the […]
Naming Shelter Dogs: The Framing Effect
Xena, Brutus, Trigger, Monster, Ruger, Tank, Harley, Chopper, Flex, Maximus, Whiskey, Storm, Tyson, Gunner, Bullet, Boss… Before you name your shelter dogs*, consider this: You can influence your adopters perceptions of “pit bull” dogs, starting with the names that you give them. That’s because their names frame them. It’s the context for how adopters will interpret the dogs in front of them. What’s the deal with framing? Framing is the way that […]
Changing the Conversation: A Message for Advocates
If you work or volunteer with dogs, you probably know by now that the overwhelming majority of “pit bull” dog owners are regular, everyday folks. But are we, the experts in the animal welfare field, communicating this to the public? Or are we reinforcing the very same stereotypes and fears that we’re working to change? Dog fighting, thugs, gang […]