Foster Parent Training: Does Behavior Consultation and Behavior Training Program Improve Foster Retainment?

August 31, 2019

Audience: Executive Leadership, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers, Veterinary Team

Organization: Illinois State University
Investigator(s): Sarah Lozano-Ziebart, Dr. Valeri Farmer-Dougan
Grant Amount: $5,500.00
Project Type: Summer Scholar
Project Status: Research Complete

Project Summary

This Summer Scholar study aimed to determine: the motivations for fostering, preparedness and satisfaction of foster caregivers, and the efficacy of the resources available to them via Pet Central Helps. When training foster dogs, positive reinforcement and verbal reinforcement were reported as being used most often; however, there was a considerable amount of use of electronic collars, choke chains and prong collars. Education and communication regarding how and why positive reinforcement techniques are more effective in the long run should be a focus. While foster parents reported general confidence in dealing with low level behavioral issues such as jumping, there was far less confidence regarding their ability to handle aggression, resource guarding, barking and separation anxiety. A focus of shelter personnel should be to improve communication with foster parents overall, especially targeting pending adoption and adoption events as well as specialized medical treatments.

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