The San Diego Humane Society received a $100,000 grant from the Franklin, Tenn.-based PEDIGREE Foundation for their Welcome Committee program, which helps dogs make a smooth transition into the shelter and their adoptive homes enable.
The non-profit humane society was selected from nearly 500 entries for the grant, which will be used for the program over two years and focuses on dogs that come into the shelter and show anxiety or distress during their first 24-48 hours in care.
The program helps reduce the adjustment period for dogs arriving at the shelter, build relationships with people and reduce anxiety, which helps dogs find new homes faster.
“If we can be extra sensitive to their feelings from the start and respond in a way that teaches them skills to manage fear, anxiety and stress, we will also help them feel at ease much more quickly and foster their resilience.” said Amanda Kowalski. Vice President of Behavior Programs, San Diego Humane Society.
Some of the behaviors of dogs in the program include retreating to the back of the kennel when approached, avoiding handling or leashes, shaking, and excessive barking for the first day or two at the shelter.
The Welcome Committee program includes rewarding dogs for calm and calm behavior, drive-by treat tosses that teach dogs to be comfortable with people approaching their kennels, treat trails to build trust, and interactions without Pressure as well as fearless leashing, eye contact and teaching the handler canine SWAG (sit, wait, accompany, generalize).
The San Diego Humane Society’s behavior and training program plays a key role in the nonprofit’s goal to euthanize healthy and treatable shelter animals across the area with Stay at Zero. In 2013, the organization opened its behavior center, which has given more than 4,000 animals with “complex challenges” a second chance at finding homes. In addition to training shelter pets with behavioral issues, the nonprofit offers more than 40 training courses (many online via Zoom), a behavior helpline, and an online resource center with articles and videos.