Shelter Dogs Blog

Tips and Tricks: City Walks

A long walk through the neighborhood is great enrichment for our shelter dogs. Walks are a great way to provide needed exercise and a flavor of life. It’s also an excellent way to advertise these dogs for adoption.

Here are some tips and tricks for a city walk or run…
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The Chase Game – A Dog’s Perspective

The Chase Game is a great activity to play with your dogs because it incorporates fun into training and exercise. All you need is a lunge whip or tether with a stuffed toy on the end.

The Chase Game is also a rewarding energy outlet for your dog that can help reduce stress in the shelter. By channeling your shelter dogs’ energy into fun and constructive activities, you’re helping them release some of the stressful energy they may be feeling!
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Confront Your Stereotypes

When we think about other cultures or groups of people or a certain way of doing something, without realizing it, we encounter many stereotypes. It would be ideal if we were born in society without stereotypes, however, the far from reality.
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Pebble’s Story

A few months ago the Animal Rescue League of Boston was looking for homes for some Labrador Retrievers that were surrendered to the shelter.  The dogs ranged in age from puppies to seniors, but two chocolate Lab girls especially caught my eye.

They were two years old and their names were Pebbles and Godiva.  The two girls were housed together in the same run and competed with each other to say hello first and give kisses.
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An Inside Look at Food Dispensing Toys for Dogs

Many dogs in the wild spend a lot of  their time looking for food. Evolutionarily speaking, a dog is prepared to devote a great deal of physical and intellectual energy toward finding food. When a dog is in a shelter, we like to recommend using food puzzles to help mentally stimulate dogs, alleviate boredom, and reduce stress.

If you have a dog, you may already be familiar with one of the most common food dispensing toys, Kongs. Kongs can be filled with food (kibble, wet food, peanut butter, bananas, etc.) and even frozen treats to help keep your dog busy, active, and focused.
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Objective Behavioral Observations

The words we use are important. Whether performing a behavior evaluation, training a dog, or reporting our experiences with a dog in the shelter, our words are valuable and have power.

Our experiences with pets and the observations that occur help us to gain more information about their behavior which helps us to choose a good match for a home.  The words we choose to use, directly influence the value of the information we provide.
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Tips and Tricks to Collecting Accurate Intake Information

Relinquishing owners are an important source of information about a dog’s behavioral history.  In fact, a survey conducted by the Center for Shelter Dogs with 1,300 respondents from sheltering organizations found that 60% of them collected information about relinquished dogs from surrendering owners using a formal questionnaire or “intake form.”

However, as we have all experienced, the information provided by surrendering owners is not always accurate, especially if owners worry that every unfavorable behavior may cause the dog to be rejected from admission or lead to euthanasia.
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Brownie’s Story

Brownie is doing fantastic in his new home! He was fearful at first, but he has adapted nicely.

He is still afraid of big dogs and bicycles, but who could blame the little guy? House training and obedience training was tough at first, but he learned quickly, and once he learned, it stuck with him.
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Ah, Those Exuberant Dogs!

You know the dog – he’s the one who will leap excitedly at people, jumping to their waist, their chest, their face, as high as he can get.  With springs for legs, he’s jumping, jumping, jumping!  Sometimes licking, sometimes drooling, sometimes knocking people down.

Sometimes even mouthing them, making contact with their teeth and leaving marks or bruises.  We call this behavior “jumpy/mouthy” and it can be a real problem – frustrating staff, scaring off adopters, even inflicting injury.  Yet, these dogs often have a devoted following amongst the shelter staff, because of their seemingly boundless energy, good spirits, and apparent friendliness.  At the Center for Shelter Dogs, we offer resources for working with jumpy/mouthy dogs which we hope will provide shelter staff tools to manage and reduce this annoying behavior and find the right home for these big personalities.  We chose to develop these resources early on because we knew ourselves how hard it could be to work with and rehome these dogs and we often heard from other shelter personnel the same thing.
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