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Humane Society of Greater Dayton
Nov 10

START Program Sets Dogs Up for Success

 

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We all know and love the animals here at the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. They all manage to steal the hearts of our volunteers and staff! Sadly though, many dogs at our shelter get overlooked when people walk through our shelter, which it turns means they stay at our shelter longer. It leaves us asking, “Why is such a good dog still here?”

Sometimes it can be a dog’s health, size, age, or even appearance that hinders its chance of getting adopted. Additionally, visitors take a quick average of 70 seconds to evaluate whether a dog will be a good fit for their family (Wells & Hepper, 2001). Between kennel presence and first impressions on the leash, that doesn’t give the energetic, untrained dog a great chance of letting their personality shine. In the end, these dogs often become “long-term residents” of the shelter, anxiously waiting for their home while trying not to succumb to shelter stress.

So how can you help? While volunteers that are part of the Canine Crew are essential for maintaining any level of training the dog may have, the Humane Society of Greater Dayton is grateful to work closely with the Dayton Dog Training Club to provide a higher-level program in turn making these overlooked dogs more adoptable. The Saved Trained Adopt Remain Together (S.T.A.R.T.) volunteers donate extra blocks of time to work specifically with dogs that are in need of behavior improvement. In addition to Wednesday evening courses, START volunteers practice with their assigned shelter dogs 2 to 3 times per week to continue progress of a training regime. 

When a dog is brought to a START class for the first time, they are met with treats of all types. The dog gets to pick which treat they fancy, and the trainer will use that for future motivation. The dog then gets to experience play time with several different toys and choose his favorite style of play to bond with the trainer. The assistant trainers of the club observe and evaluate the dog for any potential issues to be worked with, including marking, guarding, and potential dog fear/ aggression. During the trainer part of the course, the dog/ trainer pairs work on name recognition, focus, and various commands including “sit," “lie down," “wait," “come," and “leave it.” Darlene, the leader of the START Program creates a training plan for the dog and trainer to work through up until the dog’s adoption.

The trainers and dogs are assigned to each other based on abilities, personalities, and training styles. However, all trainers are taught to use positive reinforcement with the dogs. This style of training eliminates the use of dominance practices and creates a stress-free environment for the dog to learn by redirecting “bad” or “unwanted” behaviors into “good” or “positive” behaviors. 

The result of this training may be a reduction of stress in the dog’s life at the shelter, as well as a shorter stay. The dog learns to sit politely when pet, refrains from being “mouthy” with potential new families, and is able to focus on a visiting family—therefore increasing their chance of a connection. All in all, this means a shorter stay for the dog, and lesser chance of a returned adoption. While all adoptions are cheerful, it’s a special event when a START dog gets adopted.

Plus, to ensure the dog stays well-behaved after finding their forever home, the Dayton Dog Training Club generously offers two free training sessions to all people who adopt a dog from the START program. It's a win-win for the dogs and for the community!

Oct 23

Don't Be Scared, Keep Pets Safe this Halloween

fall safety tips

Between the costumes, decorations and flood of people in your neighborhood, Halloween can be a very scary time of year for both people and pets. Give your pets a treat by following these tricks to a safe and happy Halloween!

Identify Your Pets

Whether you are or aren’t planning to take your pets out this Halloween, please make sure all of your animals have proper identification. By having a collar, ID tags and microchip on each of your pets, you are potentially saving their life. With so much foot traffic this time of year even a housed pet can get out and without proper identification it will be more difficult for your pet to be returned to you quickly. You can stop by the Humane Society of Greater Dayton during our regular open hours and have your pets microchipped. It costs just $10 and takes just minutes to do. No appointments are required.

Choose Costumes Wisely

Although one of the safest bets for getting your pets in the Halloween spirit is by using a loosely tied bandana, many of us still enjoy dressing up our pets up in costumes. If a costume is in your pet’s future, choose one that is loose fitting and will not make it difficult for your pet to move around. If costumes are too tight or if they have too many bells and whistles, you pet could get tangled up or cause injury to him or herself while trying to get out of the outfit. Some pets really don’t like being dressed up. If your pet is one that doesn’t like costumes, don’t force them to wear something for your own amusement. This will just add stress and will leave you with a very unhappy animal.

Avoid the Candy

As much as your pets give you those puppy dog eyes or nudge you begging for treats, resist the urge to share your Halloween candy with them. Both chocolate and xylitol, a sweetener found in many candies, can be especially dangerous for your pets to eat. In addition, the sticks of lollipops or the wrappers of the candy can be choking hazards for your pet. If your pet ingests any of your candy, please call your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Be Aware of Decorations

Holiday decorations such as carved pumpkins, electrical cords, plants or decorative corn should be kept away from your pets. Not only could a swinging tail or a curious cat knock over candles or lit Jack-O-Lanterns, but they could also chew on cords or eat plants that could be harmful to them. If you have decorations like these at your house, make sure to keep them out of reach of your pets, or secure them so that pets won’t get harmed. Instead of open flames, try using battery-powered candles or other decorations that can be more pet-friendly.

Keep Them Separated

Whether you are having an indoor bash or just greeting trick-or-treaters at your door, a rush of people at your home can be stressful to your pets. Keep your pet’s anxiety level to a minimum by placing your pet in a separate room or away from where all of the foot traffic occurs. If the noises continue to bother them, consider turning on some relaxing music so it can tune out some of the other chatter that comes along with the Halloween festivities. 

Sep 22

Fall is Here! Keep Your Pets Safe

Dog in Autumn Leaves

It is hard to believe, but autumn is upon us. Each season, there are a variety of things that could place your pets in danger and we are working to show you tips and tricks to keep them happy and healthy. Here are just a few things you can do to keep your pets safe this season.

Be Mindful with Rodentcides

As rodents venture indoors to escape from the cooler temperatures of fall and winter, there is an increase of rodenticides used within homes. These rodenticides can be extremely toxic if not fatal if your pets ingest them. If you must use these items in your home, please use them responsibly and with extreme caution. Try to place them in areas that are not easily accessed by your pets.

Watch for Mushrooms

Both Spring and Fall are considered prime time for mushrooms to grow and although 99 percent of mushrooms will do nothing really to harm your pets, there is still that 1 percent that can be extremely toxic. It may be difficult to decipher which mushrooms are good and which are harmful to your pets so the best advice I can give is for your pet to avoid them all. If you spot your pet eating wild mushrooms, contact your vet immediately. You may want to also snip a sample of the mushroom and take it with you in a bag so the vet knows exactly what your pet ate.

Don’t Spill Your Coolant

This time of year, many of us choose to change our vehicle engine’s coolant. Coolants that are ethylene glycol-based can be extremely toxic to our four-legged friends. If you accidently spill any of your coolant, please clean it up immediately. You may want to also consider switching to a propylene glycol-based coolant. Although this is type is not completely nontoxic, it is far less harmful to your pets than the ethylene glycol-based coolant.

Beware of Snakes

This time of year, snakes who are preparing to hibernate can be a little grouchier than normal. This can mean bad news for your curious pet. You may want to learn more about the types of venomous snakes in your area and assess where these snakes may be located near your home. This way, you can make an effort to avoid harmful areas and keep your pets safe from any dangerous snake bites.

As temperatures cool down, you should be mindful of your pet’s needs. Take additional time to care for your pets. Make sure they have plenty of food to help them produce more body heat to fight the cooler temperatures and also make sure they have access to clean, fresh, unfrozen water. With these tips and tricks your pet will have a great fall season. Enjoy the crispness in the air and take a little time to let them play in a leaf pile or two.

Mar 24

Why Rabbits Make Amazing Pets

HSGD-3144432As we get closer to Easter it is tempting to splurge on a cute and cuddly bunny as a gift for your children. We encourage all potential adopters to understand that rabbits require a commitment and can live for around 10 years when cared for properly. Don’t adopt a rabbit on a whim. Adopt a rabbit because you love rabbits and are willing to put in the commitment and love needed to give them a great forever home. If you can’t commit to a long-term pet, we recommend maybe giving your child a chocolate rabbit or a stuffed rabbit toy for Easter as an alternative. 

Many people don’t realize that the Humane Society of Greater Dayton works with all types of animals. In fact, we have a rabitat at our shelter with some amazing bunnies and rabbits up for adoption. Rabbits can make amazing pets and can be trained similar to cats. If you have never considered adopting a rabbit before, check out these great reasons why a rabbit could make a great pet for your family!

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Feb 6

How Your Cat Shows You Love

cat on backThey’re furry, they’re cuddly and most importantly they’re cute! Although they express love differently than humans, our cats show love to us in many different ways.  How do your cats say I love you? Here are a few behaviors common in cats who are showing love and affection to their family.

Purring

A cat’s purr can mean a variety of things from happiness to genuine concern. Cats use purrs as another form of communication with humans. In fact, many experts believe that a cat’s purr is a form of submission letting both people and other animals know they offer no sort of threat. Either way, we like to think of purring as a little smile from our pets letting us know they are here. 

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