Photographs are frequently used to promote adoption of dogs on rescue shelter websites. While physical traits are well illustrated via photographs, conveying a dog's behavioral traits is more problematic. Traits such as sociability, obedience, and friendliness are likely to be better displayed via video footage. This study explored the effects of video versus photographs on the perception of dog behavioral traits. Four dogs from a Gloucestershire Rescue Shelter (2 desirable breeds, 2 from a stigmatized breed) were individually photographed, and a 30-s video of each was recorded. Two questionnaires were produced containing either a video or photograph of each dog. Each questionnaire presented all 4 dogs but via different media. Participants rated their agreement with 12 statements relating to their perceptions of the dog seen. Dogs viewed via video were considered to be more trainable, intelligent, friendly, and gentle and less dominant, aggressive, and unsociable. This finding was observed in desired and stigmatized breeds. Perceived behavioral traits can impact the likelihood of adoption. These findings suggest that greater use of video footage by rehoming shelters could help promote dog adoptions.
Pyzer, C., Clarke, L., & Montrose, V. T. (2017). Effects of Video Footage versus Photographs on Perception of Dog Behavioral Traits. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 20(1), 42-51. https://doi.org/10.1080/10888705.2016.1229186