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Increasing Adoption of Sheltered Dogs through the Use of Certified Dog Trainers

Shelter Pet Alliance initiated a program to increase adoptions of sheltered dogs by providing animal shelters in need with professional trainers.

Through our years working with shelters, we have discovered that a large number of dogs adopted out are quickly returned due to behavior problems. Some of these problems were pre-existing and may have contributed to the dog being brought to the shelter by its previous owner. Other problems often develop within the shelter environment. Whether it is jumping up, nipping, pulling on the leash, chewing, excessive barking or just disobedience in general, these behaviors can make it very difficult for families to incorporate a new dog into their lives. A pet should have a positive impact on a family and not be a constant source of worry. By providing shelter dogs with a consistent source of training, we are allowing them a much higher chance of finding a family and staying with them permanently.

In 2006, Shelter Pet Alliance placed a professional dog trainer at the Yonkers Animal Shelter in Yonkers, New York. This program has been extremely successful in helping shelter dogs get adopted and reducing the number of dogs returned to the shelter after an adoption takes place. At Yonkers, our trainer works on behavioral issues with individual dogs and trains volunteers and staff to work effectively with the shelter dogs. Our trainer also works with families who have adopted on an as needed basis to ensure a successful adoption. Due to a generous grant from the ASPCA, we have been able to continue this program at Yonkers and to expand it to include the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter.

We believe that every family, especially those with children could benefit from owning a pet. By having an animal to care for, children are taught responsibility, empathy and respect for all living creatures. Through our training program, we have been able to turn many of the “unadoptable” dogs at the shelters into wonderful family pets. There are millions of homeless dogs in shelters in the United States who need homes. Shelter Pet Alliance would like to give them a chance to leave their isolated life in a cage for a life of happiness, love and companionship. Our goal is to further expand this program.

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"In the end, the real test of our humanity may be the way we treat the non-human others with which we share our planet and our homes..."

-- Barbara Ehrenreich