The Effect of Sign Prompts and Modeling on Encouraging Dog Owners to Pick-up Dog Droppings in Chicago, Illinois

Jason, L. A., Zolik, E. S., & Matese, F. J. (1979). Prompting dog owners to pick up dog droppings. American Journal of Community Psychology, 7, 3, 339-351.
After conducting a literature review, sign prompts and modeling were identified as effective tool for encouraging dog owners to pick up after their dogs. Therefore, these tools were incorporated into a pilot program. There were five phases to the pilot program and each phase lasted one week. First, baseline data were collected by counting the number of fresh dog droppings in a target are. Second, sign prompts which read "Protect Children's Health. Pick Up After Your Dog Droppings" were posted. After one week, these prompts were removed. Third, instruction and modeling was provided to dog owners. This was accomplished by an assistant researcher approaching the dog owner, giving a plastic bag and demonstrating how to use it. The fourth stage included the reintroduction of sign prompts. Finally, data was collected during a three month follow-up period.

Only 5% of dog owners picked up after their pets during baseline observations. Sign prompts alone were not effective in encouraging pick up behavior as only 6% of dog owners obeyed the signs admonitions. However, during the instructions/modeling phase 82% of dog owners picked up after their dogs. Furthermore, 63% continued to do so during a three month follow up phase.
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