A few days ago, it was reported that a pit bull dog “recently adopted from a shelter” had escaped the owners home and mauled a sleeping baby in a stroller. Unfortunately, news like this is too common. It has spurred the continued discussion about evaluating shelter dogs, temperament testing, and what (if any) culpability does a shelter or rescue group have when a dog they’ve adopted out causes harm?

NUTLEY, NW— An 11-month-old girl is lucky to be alive after a dog bolted out of its owner’s home and viciously mauled the baby in her stroller, police said. The nightmare scenario played out March 25 when the girl’s mother was taking her infant for a walk. Police said the dog, reportedly a pit bull that was recently rescued from a shelter, escaped from a home on Walnut Street and attacked the stroller. A neighbor rushed to pull the dog away from the baby but it wasn’t until police arrived that the dog was separated from the girl and locked in the back seat of a police cruiser, police said. The baby girl was rushed to an area hospital, where she had to remain for three days to receive 70 stitches and undergo plastic surgery, Nutley police spokesman Det. Sgt. Anthony Montanari said Thursday.

Of course this is an extreme example of a shelter dog causing severe harm to a human, but we feel cases like this could be better prevented by temperament testing dogs prior to adoption.

Our dog selection services can help you choose a dog based on finding the best fit:

  • What is your lifestyle?
  • What are the traits that are important to you?
  • What activities do you hope to enjoy with your dog?
  • Are their children or other pets in the family?We also test shelter dogs who are being transferred to other rescues, in the Chicagoland area.

Some of the items we test shelter dogs for:

  • Sociability
    • Affinity for people
    • Attitude towards strangers
    • Attitude towards other dogs
    • (Note, we cannot typically test for reaction towards cats in shelter settings)
  • Trainability
    • Motivation and drive
    • Interest in interacting
    • Speed of learning
    • Ability to problem-solve
  • Sensitivities
    • Environment
    • Handling, physical touch, and grooming
  • Aggression
    • Possessiveness
  • Reaction to correction or verbal scolding
  •  Fear
  • Recovery period after being startled
  • Working aptitude for jobs
  • Placement in a foster-based rescue

For more information on temperament testing and evaluation of rescue dogs in the Chicagoland area for your rescue group or shelter, contact us at: DynamicDogsChicago@yahoo.com