You Can Help Shelter Dogs by Participating In This Study

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Animal behavior and welfare researcher Karen Griffin wants to help shelter dogs find forever homes. Griffin is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Lincoln School of Life Sciences, where she studies the behavioral flexibility of shelter dogs and their human caretakers. The researcher recently launched a study on canine behavior and shelter dog “rehoming”—and she needs your help, Scientific American reports.

Griffin’s rehoming study, which is accepting participants through May 31, is designed to analyze dog owners and their canine buddies. The goal is to determine which behaviors and temperaments make for successful adoptions. Griffin hopes to use her findings to improve adoption processes and ensure the welfare of dogs in need of homes.

The study is currently looking for pet owners and shelter employees willing to record themselves playing with their four-legged friends. In addition to a brief survey, the study asks pet owners to participate in a series of games and exercises with their pup, ranging from searches for hidden food to more freeform play.

Griffin has designed the study to focus specifically on the relationship between adopted dogs and their adoptive parents, and even adapted her survey from an earlier study on foster parents and children.

“There has been some research looking at the effects of human foster parent and human foster child mood and personality type on the success of the placement, so I decided to extend and adapt methods used in some of these studies to be relevant to the dog-human relationship,” she told mental_floss. “I believe that my research is unique in that it likens the dog-owner relationship to that of any other personal relationship. Within any relationship, conflict is inevitable at some point, so it is the conflict resolving potential of at least one party that will affect the success of the relationship.”

Learn more about Griffin’s study and find out how to participate on the rehoming study website.

[h/t Scientific American]