Last week I went to Renbury Farm Animal Shelter with the other members of Team Dog – Darren and Mel – and we enriched the shelter using many tried and tested methods. These included:
• Clicker training the dogs so that they remain quiet and calm when people are coming in and out of the shelter. This not only provides a stress-free environment for all but also boosts the animals’ chance of being adopted, because they are happier and better behaved as a result.
• Installing treat buckets that can be utilised by visitors to reinforce the good behaviour. In conjunction with the clicker training (clickers will be available for visitors too), these are powerful tools in improving a dog’s time in the shelter, encouraging not only good manners but interaction with people too.
• Providing spray bottles full of interesting scents that can be distributed throughout the kennels. Rotating these smells can give the animals another level of stimulation each time. We also put some lavender plants outside, so when dogs are getting exercise, they have more of an experience. We hope to expand this collection of plants with your help and the staff are already looking at what other plants might be of most interest to dogs.
• Getting some calm and relaxing music organised for the pets and people. When the correct music is used, it can have a dramatic effect on shelter dogs, and sets them up for success in regards to all other areas.
• Demonstrating how easy budget puzzle toys can be to make and how hard they are to break! See how you can make yours here: http://vimeo.com/46773204
This is just the very basics of our enrichment program and we hope to help Renbury in any way we can to keep it moving forward, further benefiting the dogs. We’ve had feedback from them since and they are reporting back some really positive things. There’s been a big difference in the dogs’ behaviour already and the visitors have been excited to not just give a dog a bit of training, but actually have that dog respond so well to them.
The work that Team Dog does is completely voluntary. If you’d like to help fund more projects like this you can do so by pre-ordering one of our fancypants t-shirts. We’re also interested in hearing from wealthy individuals interested in philanthropy, you can email email@example.com to discuss sponsoring future Team Dog programs.