Development of the behavioural assessment for re-homing K9's (B.A.R.K.) protocol

Kate Mary Mornement, Grahame John Coleman, Samia Rachael Toukhsati, Pauleen Charmayne Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Globally, millions of dogs enter the welfare shelter system each year. Before being made available for adoption dogs are typically screened for their suitability as companions by way of a temperament test or behavioural assessment. In Australia, the majority of dogs that fail their behavioural assessment are subsequently euthanased. Previous research has identified a lack of standardisation, in both the content and methodology, and a lack of scientific validation of such screening procedures. This poses a significant welfare concern for shelter dogs; life and death decisions might be made based on invalid assessments of behaviour. The aim in this study was to develop a standardised shelter dog behaviour assessment, called the behavioural assessment for re-homing K9 s (B.A.R.K.) protocol, implement it into an operational animal shelter and evaluate the reliability and predictive validity of the tool. The B.A.R.K. protocol consists of 12 subtests that aim to imitate everyday situations a pet dog is likely to encounter. The behavioural trait with the highest overall, and statistically significant (n=48, P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75 - 83
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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