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Post Adoption Support Project

Project Lead: Dr Emma Buckland

Project Aims
The post adoption project aims to extend and review the post adoption support we give to adopters, with the ultimate aim to reduce return to kennels. It is split into two strands: 

  • Post adoption support calls (PAS)  
    • The Contact Centre call owners at 2 days and (optionally) at 2 weeks and 4 months. Via automated algorithms built by the research team, the responses to questions flag up any issues requiring support and adopters are offered call-backs from behaviour and/or veterinary teams. 
    • We use the data provided in these calls to evaluate adopter experience and the occurrence of reported behaviour and health issues in dogs in their new homes. 
  • Post adoption online research survey (Post Adoption Welfare Study) 
    • These optional surveys aim to collect more in-depth information compared to the support calls, in themes such as experience and expectations of rehoming for adopters, and the behaviour, training, health and lifestyle of dogs in their new homes. 
    • Adopters can complete surveys at various time points: 3 weeks, 2.5 months, 6 months, 12 months and yearly thereafter.

Overall, both of these sub-projects have the following aims and objectives: 

  • Improve and evaluate post-adoption support. The objective is to reduce Return to Kennel rates, specifically for dog behaviour reasons. 
  • Collect owner reported information on recently adopted dogs to identify risk factors for Return to Kennel rates and to evaluate work done in rehoming centres (e.g. the effectiveness of behaviour modification programmes or matching potential adopters to suitable dogs). The objective is to improve the 'success' of  adoptions.

Post Adoption Welfare Study launches September 2020

The Post Adoption Welfare Study (PAWS) was launched in September 2020 - an exciting new research initiative to discover more about how well adopted dogs settle into their new homes.

Adopting a dog is an exciting and rewarding adventure and we know our adopters want to provide the best care they can. But we also understand that - at times – introducing a new dog into your home can be stressful for both the dog and the family as they adjust to living together in harmony.  Dogs Trust has a commitment to provide lifelong behaviour advice for our dogs. Through this study, we want to better understand the ups and downs of adopted dog ownership, and we want to learn more about the behaviour and welfare of dogs beyond the rehoming centre gates. The data gathered in this study will in turn will help us in our endeavour to find the best match of our dogs to their new homes and to provide the best support to adopters in those early months and throughout their lives. 

In this study, we invite new adopters to complete online surveys about their adopted dog at regular intervals over the first year, and then yearly (UK only).

We aim to publish our findings to help support rehoming practices in the UK and around the world, please keep an eye on this page for more news.

The Post Adoption Welfare Study - Welcome PDF 294 KB

The Post Adoption Welfare Study - FAQs PDF 300 KB


Abstract to describe new strategies and an evaluation of canine post adoption support.

Post Adoption Project: New strategies and evaluation of canine post-adoption support PDF 102 KB