March 27, 2019: Newly Published Review Debates Reliability and Validity of Behavior Evaluations for Shelter Dogs

Mar 27, 2019

The new paper, What is the Evidence for Reliability and Validity of Behavior Evaluations for Shelter Dogs? A prequel to “No Better than Flipping a Coin,” presents the following highlights: 

  • Colloquial usage of scientific terms such as “validated” can be misleading.
  • No shelter canine behavior evaluation meets accepted standards as being validated.
  • Published error rates are too high to justify routine use in shelters.
  • Behavior evaluations are heterogeneous and often not comparable with each other.
  • A lack of face validity may explain the high error rate for behavior evaluations.

The authors thus seek to clarify that “scientifically demonstrating overall validity (i.e., having acceptable reliability, validity, and predictive ability conferring suitability for routine use in shelter settings) has not been achieved for any behavior evaluation or subtest published to date.” Read paper