What Makes Dog Owners Unique?

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Executive Summary     Full Report

Project Abstract

This project aimed to help the New Zealand Department of Conservation address the effects that domestic dogs have on coastal birds. The survey, interview, and focus group methods helped us to understand current dog owner behavior, knowledge, and motivations when they exercise their dogs on beaches, and to differentiate types of dog owners. Based on our findings, we recommended a wide variety of intervention methods designed to reach dog owners effectively to encourage safe dog-wildlife interactions and responsible dog management. Our intervention methods include supplemental signage, community events, pledge campaigns, and web-based approaches.

Student Team

  • Madeline Burke
  • Kaleigh Iler
  • Kellen Randall
  • Ana Restrepo


  • Laura Boren, Science Advisor
  • Marine Species and Threats Team
  • New Zealand Department of Conservation


  • Professor Michael Elmes, WPI
  • Professor Carolina Ruiz, WPI