Tips on How to Adopt the Right Dog

Choosing the perfect dog poses challenges similar to speed-dating.
Sam Cohen with a dog at a shelter. (Credit: Cadence L. Baugh Chang/Indiana U.)

Psychologists who study how people pick their spouses have turned their attention to another important relationship: choosing a canine companion.

They recently found that, when it comes to puppy love, the heart doesn’t always know what it wants.

The researchers based their results, which could help improve the pet adoption process, on data from a working animal shelter.

Picking a Pet From Dog Shelters

“What we show in this study is that what people say they want in a dog isn’t always in line with what they choose,” says Samantha Cohen, who led the study as a PhD student in the psychological and brain sciences department at Indiana University-Bloomington. “By focusing on a subset of desired traits, rather than everything a visitor says, I believe we can make animal adoption more efficient and successful.”

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