The Meet Your Match Canine-ality Adoption Program is designed to increase the likelihood that shelter dogs six months old and beyond bond with their adopters and are accepted as welcome members of the family.
Matching the Canine-ality of your shelter dogs with the types of dog your adopters are looking for helps you place dogs in the homes best suited to their needs. This initial compatibility between dog and adopter lays the foundation for the human/canine bond to develop, increasing the potential for a successful, permanent placement.
The Canine-ality Adoption program has two major components:
Adopters hope to find "the dog I always wanted" and worry about selecting the "wrong" dog. The Canine-ality Assessment takes the mystery out of the selection process by reliably predicting how a dog is likely to behave when the dog arrives in the adopter?s home.
The Canine-ality Assessment evaluates each dog's degree of:
An evaluator uses the assessment scores to select the appropriate color (green, orange, or purple) for the dog. Each color category represents the level of training and attention that is likely required for dogs scoring in that category.
Within the color category, the evaluator then selects the appropriate description from the three Canine-alities in that category. The dog's source of motivation internal, external, or social (i.e. human attention) determines which description the evaluator selects. The evaluator then fills out the color-coded cage card for the dog. Cage cards are pre-printed with the Canine-ality names and descriptions.
Adopters Learn about Their Preferences, Expectations, and Lifestyle
The Dog Adopter Survey identifies adopter preferences that correspond to characteristics measured in the Canine-ality Assessment. Adopters can complete the one-page survey in a few minutes. Its tone is lighthearted and upbeat (think magazine quiz, not college application).
Adopters enjoy completing the survey and finding out what "color" they are:
Green adopters are most successful with dogs who like to be physically and mentally engaged.
Orange adopters are a good fit with middle-of-the-road dogs who are responsive and like regular activity and interaction.
Purple adopters are comfortable with dogs who have a laidback attitude and enjoy an easygoing lifestyle.
A color-coded guest pass in hand, adopters can introduce themselves to dogs whose cage cards identify them as green, orange, or purple. Adopters aren't required to choose a dog with a certain Canine-ality—love at first sight does happen. The Canine-ality Assessment enables adopters to be prepared for their new love's response to their home and to be ready to help the dog adjust.
What Shelters Have Gained from Meet Your Match Canine-ality
Shelters implementing the Meet Your Match Canine-ality program report that the program enhances their work across the board:
Adoptions increase, even when a shelter's previous adoption program has been successful.
Returns drop, even when the return rate is already nominal.
A key aspect of the Meet Your Match Canine-ality Adoption Program is that it helps bridge the gap between animal-care staff who often have the most animal-handling experience and adoption staff who interact most with potential adopters.
Adoption counselors feel more empowered because they have good information about both the dog and the adopter to facilitate a match. Counselors get to have conversations with adopters, not pass/fail interviews.
The shelter can provide a consistently high-quality experience for adopters, providing great customer service regardless of who facilitates the adoption.
Shelters can train customer-service staff and volunteers to perform the Canine-ality Assessments. Advanced animal-handling skills are not required for the assessment.
By the Numbers
Shelters who use the Canine-ality Adoption Program experience significant improvements in the numbers of adoptions and returns:
At Kansas Humane Society (for whom Meet Your Match was originally developed): returns drop by 50% within one month!
Capital Area Humane Society (Hilliard, OH):
Adoptions up by 14.7%
Returns down by 35.7%
Bay Area Humane Society and Animal Shelter (Green Bay, WI): Returns drop to 1 to 2%
Marquette Humane Society (Negaunee, MI): Adoptions up by 37.5%
Humane Society of Willamette Valley (Salem, OR): Adoptions up by 20%
Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland (Westbrook, ME): Adoptions up by 14.2%