Research in the Center for Shelter Dogs

The Center for Shelter Dogs (CSD) logo

The Center for Shelter Dogs (CSD) at Cummings School is a research institute, which conducts research to improve the welfare and successful placement of homeless dogs as well as dogs at risk for homelessness. Central to this mission is the dissemination of research results through the education of shelter professionals, veterinary students, and graduate students.

An initiative of the Shelter Medicine Program, CSD is housed within the Center for Animals and Public Policy (CAPP) at Cummings School. CSD offers shelters evidence-based information and tools designed to better assess, understand and improve the welfare and stress of dogs in shelters. CSD’s research is focused in several areas, including:

  • Discovering ways to measure and reduce stress affecting shelter dogs
  • Developing improved tools for identifying and working with problem behaviors in dogs
  • Exploring reasons for surrender in order to increase retention of dogs in homes
  • Determining effective marketing and placement strategies for dogs
  • Serving as a resource for other shelters, organizations, and individuals by providing research-based information, tools consultations, and outreach opportunities

CSD allows the Shelter Medicine Program to disseminate information about animal welfare, provides shelters with access to behavioral information and resources and affords students the opportunity to contribute by getting involved through classes in Shelter Medicine or by participating in a research project.

Student Opportunities

Shelter Medicine Program students seeking animal behavior and research opportunities can email CSD at

Research & Presentations

Visit the Center for Shelter Dogs website for a compilation of research presentation and publications