Why Train a Shelter Dog?
Any kenneling over two weeks is considered long-term kenneling and the negative effects of kennel life can start to over-ride the positive attributes of the dogs. It is then a race against time to keep the dogs behaviorally, emotionally, and mentally healthy as time wears on and the stress, frustration and arousal levels in the kennels take their toll.
1. Improving First Impressions:
With a little bit of training you can take that large portion of the shelter population that are stable tempered but untrained and a bit wild, and give them a vocabulary and the ability to love learning and training so much they will actually offer obedience in the place of obnoxious behavior. These dogs then make a better first impression when taken out of the kennel for viewing.
When surveyed, adopters said they look for two qualities when selecting their next dog: ‘a smart dog’; and a dog ‘who listens’. What these folks mean isn’t that they want a genius dog with excellent hearing, but rather a trainable dog who is also attentive. The Train to Adopt techniques helps shelter dogs appear smart and attentive!
2. Shelter dogs who have received some training are often viewed by the public as ‘special’, instead of victims of abuse and neglect.
The Train to Adopt training provides can help scrub away some dirt and silt and reveal the pearls underneath.
3. Training shelter dogs can encourage potential owner to seek additional reward-based, positive-reinforcement-based techniques.
Train to Adopt can hopefully influence shelter and kennel staff and volunteers, dog walkers, current and future pet owners, the general public, and even dog trainers to seek modern, humane dog-training methods.
Training alone cannot make an unstable dog into a stable dog. Not every dog can or should be saved. Train to Adopt is targeted towards basically sweet-tempered, stable dogs who have just never been trained or worked with.
The training techniques you will find in the following pages are especially useful for dogs in shelters. When training shelter dogs, you want and need the dog to perform for a complete stranger, probably someone whom you’ll never personally meet. When training a shelter dog, you don’t want the dog to bond closer to YOU during training, or what will happen when you show him to a prospective adopter is that he will likely look adoringly at YOU, not them, and they won’t want him.
So how do you get a shelter dog to walk up to a perfect stranger and convince them he’s well behaved? Check out our specific training exercises.