Did you know that certain factors, including a pup’s physical appearance and breed, can affect whether or not a potential pet parent wishes to adopt a new dog?
However, according to Jodi Andersen, such should not be the case.
Co-founder and Chief Dog Officer of How I Met My Dog, Jodi believes that it should be the Fido that should make the decision of who they want to go home to instead of the other way around.
“One of the things that I really noticed is that we choose dogs, and then we expect them to fit into our lives, when really, the most important thing, like any relationship, (is) there’s two sides. So, was there a way for us to give dogs a voice so that they could, in fact, help the shelters and the rescues find the right adopters for them?”
It was this question that would soon become the turning point that would lead to the establishment of How I Met My Dog.
(Click the “Play” button below to watch the video)
How the ComPETibility Algorithm Works
For so many years, Jodi has heard of cases where the human pet parents and guardians shared that it was their dogs that chose them instead of them choosing their fur baby.
As a professional with more than 30 years of experience in the dog training field, especially on the topic of latchkey dog behavior, Jodi opines that this is actually one of the best courses of action humans can make in their pet parenting journey since people have a sense of energy that we ourselves don’t understand.
“Even if you’re a great breeder, and you have a litter of pups like siblings, we’re all different. Just because we’re born of the same parents, and we eat the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and these puppies were up in the same whelping box, it doesn’t mean that they need the same thing. They’re individuals.”
Because of this, Jodi and her co-founders, through How I Met My Dog, worked together to make it possible to give pups a voice when it comes to their adoption process.
Founded with the goal to help solve the problem of about 4 million dogs entering the shelter system every year, with only around half of the number being acquired into new homes, How I Met My Dog was established to custom-match aspiring adopters with rescue dogs based on their lifestyle and individual behavior rather than the usual factors like dog breed or love at first sight.
They make use of an algorithm called the ComPETibility algorithm to deliver custom advice to each person looking to welcome a new dog into their home. The algorithm takes into consideration each potential adopter’s personality, expectations, and training styles to ensure the long-term success of the new dog-pet parent relationship.
“We set out to ask a very specific set of questions of people who wanted to adopt a dog. That would mean who they are, their lifestyle, their training style, if you will, their personality and their expectations of living with a dog… And we really did a deep dive into what questions can we ask the rescues or the shelters that they will be able to answer about these dogs so that the dog can actually figure out which person is the best match for them.”
Taking into account the fact that shelters and animal rescues already have to deal with too much work in their daily routines, Jodi and her team have made it easier for animal welfare groups to use the algorithm.
In fact, according to Jodi, all the shelter has to do is answer their multiple-choice questions, and the algorithm will be the one to analyze and bring to the surface the things that the dog needs based on their personality expectations and training style,
From there on, the algorithm will come up with a match, which Jodi’s team then sends directly to the adopter so that the adopter can visit the shelter where the dog is and start their adoption process.
You don’t even have to worry about whether your answers are the correct ones or not. As per Jodi,
“There’s no right or wrong answer. Whether you’re an adopter or a dog, there’s no right or wrong answer. The object is to bring to the surface those—we pinpoint why you would be good for one dog instead of another. And we never show you those dogs you’re not a match for, so you don’t feel disappointed.”
The Science Behind ComPETibility
Despite Jodi’s non-scientific-related background, what made the ComPETibility algorithm effective is that Jodi’s team worked alongside experts.
“There is science behind it, and we’re really proud of that because when we started this, we said we’re not doing this to market as a cute ‘Here, we can make a match.’ We made this promise to each other that if we couldn’t do this, we wouldn’t do this. So, we had enough patience to really collaborate with behaviorists like Kelly Bollen, shelter experts like Bonney Brown, veterinarians’ behaviors on psychopharmacologists like Nicholas Dodman. So, we went to Mayor’s Alliance’s Elyise Hallenbeck. And then we went to Anne—and this is important because I always give a shout out to Anne Lindsay and Alice O’Connor of the Massachusetts Animal Coalition because they were really instrumental in guiding us through the process of what a shelter has the ability to do and not to do. So, they really helped us with the blueprint, as did Dr. Dodman and Kelley Bollen…because they’re easier for a shelter to answer, and they take less time, and they will still glean the same information.”
Aside from the basic information needed to match up dogs with adopters, How I Met My Dog also provides custom ComPETibility tips on how potential dog owners can have a better relationship with their pooches. These suggestions have been vetted by professionals and are personalized based on both the adopter’s and the dog’s profiles.
“So if, for instance, you are athletic, but your dog is even more athletic, depending on what your scores are in that particular category, we would then send you information that maybe would say, ‘You and your dog should increase two of your aerobic walks by 10 minutes a day…’ But, if your score comes out that you’re really more sedentary, then what we’re going to do is we’re going to advise that your dog probably needs a dog walker to help you out because we’re not going to ask you to do something you wouldn’t do. And when the dog walker comes home, these are the three things you can do as brainwork for your dog to calm that dog down even more… And that’s why, whether we’re making a match between an adopted and a dog or we’re giving compatibility advice to those people that are already living with dogs, it’s not about people and dogs. It is about you and your dog.”
With such sharp focus on ensuring that dogs match with and go home to their “right” pet parents, it is hoped that How I Met My Dog’s mission of reinventing the way shelter dogs find their forever homes will increase the chances of successful relationships in the long run.
Know more about How I Met My Dog!
Visit their website at www.howimetmydog.com.
Check out more relationship advice at https://competibility.com/.
Take the ComPETibility Quiz:
For shelters and rescues: https://www.howimetmydog.com/resources/shelter-guide
For adopters: https://www.howimetmydog.com/resources/adopter-guide
For dog owners: https://survey.app.howimetmydog.com/
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