Positive Training - Volunteering with Shelter Dogs

Positive training and patient interactions are an everyday part of life here in the home of the Forest Poodles. We almost take it for granted. However, in my experience, the ones who need it the most are dogs in shelters. Every dog there has one thing in common - they're waiting. They are waiting to leave and this comes with all sorts of additional stresses. Some take a permanent post by the door so that they can enthusiastically greet every human who walks by. Some sit in their rooms and cry, others just stare blankly ahead.

 

Taking the time to interact positively with shelter dogs is akin to giving a starving person a meal. They need it to help them get through the waiting process. Sure, people come and go all day - cleaning, feeding, etc. But in the rush of life, these comings and goings don't always equal valued attention.  

I'm not necessarily talking about trick training either. Some shelter dogs are terrified to walk across the parking lot, let alone sit nicely for a treat. So you work on walking a few paces, together.

Some need general maintenance, but simply haven't had it up to now. Take Pip, for example. He desperately needed a bath, but was afraid of the tub. With patience, gentle words and positive reinforcement, he pulled through enough to stand nicely in the tub while I soaped him up. Then, the reward was a snuggle.



Some dogs love the attention and are raring to go. They don't display a debilitating fear of their surroundings. These are the ones who need the challenge. Daisy and I practiced our 'sit' command during a walk. It worked.



But only for a moment.



In that moment she was interested and happy and lapped up the attention and praise. It helps to always have treats in my pocket too.



Once upon a time the poodles were waiting for a home, just like Pip and Daisy. Now they don't have to wait anymore. They know where they belong. Wouldn't it be nice if every dog could know where they belong? Until that day, I'm lucky enough to spend some time with others who desperately need a break from the waiting. They need to feel loved, even if only for a moment.


Comments

  1. I have made a vow that I will not visit NOAH's website for the next 30 days, because I still have the Catahoula puppy on my mind. I would love to volunteer, but I need to make more time in my schedule. For now, I donate products to rescue and count on people like you to give the love, support, and training. But I know that I want to do more someday.

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    1. I guess I better not tell you about the 2 year old female catahoula i saw yesterday then. 😀 I know you are always donating to good doggie causes. You have a heart of gold!

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  2. Great post. I've seen lots of dogs deteriorate while waiting for a home. Patient, positive attention will go a long way toward helping them get adopted.

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    1. I know you do great things for the pups in your local shelter, Kari. You're right, some vast deterioration can occur in a shelter - keep up your good works!

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  3. You are an amazing person, giving your time and love to shelter dogs. Thank you. This was a wonderful heart-tugging post.

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    1. I'm the lucky one. They enrich my life in a way I never imagined! Thanks for stopping by the blog!

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  4. You broke my hear a bit with your description of the shelter dogs. Huge kudos to you for devoting so much of your time to making a difference.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by the blog Scott. It isn't always easy to leave some of those pups behind when I leave, but I get just as much out of it - if not more!

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  5. Those shelter pups are lucky to have you visiting them. :)

    When we lived on land, we fostered for our local shelter. Whether by socializing dogs at the shelter or fostering them out of it, the confidence and training they gain makes them more adoptable sooner.

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    1. I admire fostering! That would be a challenge at times, but such an important role to play!

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  6. This is something I would like to get involved with someday. Shelters are nearly always overwhelmed and every little bit of extra attention those dogs can get makes a difference. Thank you for giving back!

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