Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only)

Hope2K9 Rescue: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The grant was used to expand our trainer’s knowledge of dog behavior, appropriate play styles and body language.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

After completing the mentorship program, we offered dog social events to our community as a healthy and safe alternative to dog parks. At the events, we share our knowledge of appropriate play and dog body language. Several of our community members own dogs or have newly adopted dogs who are reactive or have behavioral issues; they do not have access to venues in which to properly socialize their dogs, and thus feel the need to surrender them to a shelter. Hope2K9’s mission is to keep dogs in their homes with FREE support.

How many pets did this grant help?

This grant has helped at least 15 dogs so far.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Cypress, a 6-year-old pittie who has been in our rescue for a little over 400 days, truly benefited from our expanded knowledge of dog social behavior and, slowly but surely, learned how to relax and socialize. We are happy to report that she is now adopted, to a family with another dog. We once thought she would need to be in an only-dog home. She is now happily playing with her new brother and living the dream (first photo).

A dog named McKinley was recently rescued. She developed leash reactivity and got herself into many scuffles at dog parks. Her owner quickly took advantage of our pack social events to help McKinley learn how to be around dogs. With the knowledge gained during DPFL, we were able to share some insight into McKinley’s behavior and educate the owner on what was appropriate play and how to advocate for her dog. McKinley was able to let her guard down and enjoy her time with all the other dogs, as well.

Thank you!

The Haley Graves Foundation: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Dogs Playing for Life mentorship program

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

James has successfully worked with four dogs so far. This has resulted in a positive placement of these pups.

How many pets did this grant help?

Four so far

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Luke was the last dog of his litter and lived with his foster for seven months. When adopted, he showed some fear aggression and leash aggression. James successfully worked with the adopters to overcome these obstacles and helped him remain in his forever home.

Humane Society of Truckee Tahoe: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The money was used entirely for the cost of the Dogs Playing for Life mentorship program at Austin Pets Alive!

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

This grant has helped us get more dogs out to play together, which has been amazing for potential adopters to see. We live in a very dog-friendly community, where a lot of dogs are off-leash, so knowing how a dog does in a playgroup is pretty crucial for adopters.

How many pets did this grant help?

At the very least, 100 dogs. Any dog who has gotten to attend playgroup has benefited from this grant!

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

We had a dog named Raymond who seemed to be dog-aggressive. When we did the on-leash introduction, he was lunging and acting threatening. He would fence-fight with the dogs next to him and even try and go after his own reflection, which resulted in a redirection bite on his handler. After going through the Dogs Playing for Life mentorship, we thought we should try Raymond with a muzzle in a small playgroup. At first he was uncomfortable, but with everything I had learned, we continued this until Raymond was comfortable and eventually started to play! He was adopted into a home shortly thereafter that has another dog and they are living happily ever after. Without the confidence and the skills we learned from Dogs Playing for Life, Raymond could still be sitting in a shelter.

Kokomo Humane Society: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

To attend a Dogs Playing for Life mentorship

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

This grant helped us get a larger portion of our dog population out to playgroup or a social session at least every other day. This allows us to place dogs in homes that are more compatible with them, leading to fewer returned pets.

How many pets did this grant help?

50-75

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

The first dog this grant helped is Gator. Gator is a 3-year-old Cane Corso Mastiff mix. He was a returned adoption who was said to have attacked another dog while trying to attack a construction worker through a fence. We worked with Gator extensively on his barrier reactivity, did social sessions with him and a small female dog, and socialized him with as many human males as possible. Gator was eventually adopted out to a military man who had owned several extra-large dogs before. Gator had worked through his barrier reactivity to humans and dogs and loves his little 40-lb. friend, even though she is about 100 lbs. lighter than him!

The next dog is Moonie, a 2-year-old Coonhound mix. Moonie originally came to us as a stray and then was returned to us due to his ability to escape from anything. He started off wearing a muzzle in playgroups because he seemed to love playing with dogs, but also loved biting them. Moonie would easily tip over and try to fight the other dogs. He wore the muzzle to group and worked through this with many corrections from us humans and the dogs. After he’d been with us for around three months, we took off the muzzle and he did fabulous! He was even considered for an assessor dog a couple times. Moonie was adopted out about two weeks after we took the muzzle off and went to a home with a small dog!

Dexter is the third dog this grant has helped. Dexter was adopted out as a puppy and then eight months later was found as a stray a couple of counties over from where he was adopted to. He was extremely scared of people and would snarl and growl any time someone got near him. He went to playgroup through the dedication and determination of our runners and we gained his trust. He was mostly handled by our playgroup staff and volunteers and was used as an assessor dog for several months. Now Dexter is adopted and lives with me, Marissa, the head of behavior and medical. We are working through his fear of strangers, as he will lunge at people if they approach unexpectedly. This grant allowed me to gain knowledge and resources to get him through his issues and on to becoming a well-rounded dog. Since he was adopted, we go to dog parks to help associate strangers with dogs, which he loves very much.

The Haley Graves Foundation: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Dogs Playing for Life mentorship program tuition

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

We have successfully been able to help our dogs (some of them with behavioral issues) move on to successful adoptive homes.

How many pets did this grant help?

6

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Hali is a Lab/pit bull mix who was overly interested in small animals. Playing too rough, she accidentally killed a cat. Hali has been rehabilitated and successfully adopted into a home with cats.

Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The money was used for a staff member to attend the Dogs Playing for Life seminar at Austin Pets Alive.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The experience at DPFL provided the motivation and education to standardize and grow our playgroup operations and make playgroups more frequent. Playgroups are also giving us significantly more information about the dogs in our care and how they may get along with others.

How many pets did this grant help?

We currently have 61 dogs who are currently in our playgroup program in one form or another, and an additional 59 dogs have “graduated” from our playgroup program through adoption, foster, or transport.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Jasper (first photo) came to the shelter suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He would not let anyone touch him. Slowly we got him to eat and hid pain medications in his food. Then he began to feel better and trust us. We were able to perform surgery to remove the bullets and clean the wounds. Through all this, he still did not trust us. However, we found that playgroups helped ease his feelings of “stranger danger.” In the large yard with other dogs, he didn’t have to worry about the humans — none of the other dogs did. He learned to coexist with us. Jarvis is still at the shelter looking for the right home. (Jasper’s Petfinder profile has not been posted yet.)

Humane Educational Society: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The grant money was used to sponsor tuition for a Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Level II.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The grant helped our organization by allowing a staff member to attend the DPFL Mentorship Level II. With the information and training techniques learned there, we have been able to increase the number of dogs who attend playgroups each day. We have also started some basic command training and are laying the foundation to develop a formal Behavior Department and training program. We plan to do some behavior-modification training with certain dogs who are not showing well at the shelter, which will allow them to be adoptable.

How many pets did this grant help?

1,000 per year

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Quinn is a 7-month-old pup who came to the shelter about a month ago. She was terrified in her kennel, but she showed her fear by growling, snapping, lunging, and biting in the kennel. We were finally able to get her out and on a leash using some of the techniques learned at the DPFL Mentorship Level II. Once she got out to the play yard, her demeanor changed from fear-aggressive dog to playful puppy. We began taking her out to playgroups, and now she is a Playgroup Rock Star! We also started walking her on-leash and saw how quickly she learned commands. She was always intent on what the trainer was doing and so eager to please. She quickly learned sit, down, and place. She has also started to master duration in all of these things. Even though Quinn still needs some work to get her ready for adoption, we now have the tools, training, and confidence to work with her and find her a forever home!

Ventura County Animal Services: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The funding allowed me to attend the Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship II.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

At the mentorship, I learned new techniques that are helping our shelter dogs. I learned kennel routine and fancy footwork, which have been implemented. Our dogs are learning to not bolt through open doors and how to walk well on-leash. I also learned new techniques and gained more knowledge on running playgroups. I have attended both DPFL mentorships and have learned so much from both. DPFL is a great organization; thank you for the opportunity to learn from them again!

How many pets did this grant help?

Thousands, the kennel routine and fancy footwork are now integrated into our training for staff and volunteers.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Chachia (first photo) was relinquished to the shelter as an owner-surrender. Chachia did not have any leash manners; she would come running out of the kennel and not many volunteers were able to walk her. She was enrolled in Mutt Manners, which is a volunteer group that works with dogs in pack walks. Chachia was pulling very hard on leash at the start of the pack walk, but after using fancy footwork, she started to learn that it is easier to look at the handler, not pull on-leash, and enjoy the walk. Chachia is still at the shelter and still participates in pack walks. She still needs work, but without fancy footwork, she would be limited in who could walk her and we would have been challenged to find a way to train her. Meet Chachia here.

Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Center: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Dog’s Playing for Life Mentorship II

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

Through this grant, our enrichment supervisor was able to tailor her skills in playgroups as well as learn new skills to help work with dogs with behavior concerns. She was able to pass along those skills to select volunteers, as well as the volunteer coordinator, so they could be utilized on the dogs and continue to be taught to new volunteers.

How many pets did this grant help?

500+

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Gaia was a long-term resident with us. Originally arriving in April of 2018 as a stray, she was adopted and returned twice because of concerns about her with other dogs. After the DPFL Mentorship II, our enrichment supervisor was able to integrate Gaia into playgroups more and teach her basic clicker training. She was eventually able to pair her with a foster who had other dogs in her home, and after a few weeks with her, she was officially adopted!

Prairie Paws Animal Shelter: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The Petfinder Foundation Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Program Grant was used to cover tuition cost for Tim Yeaglin, our director of operations, to attend a Dogs Playing for Life mentorship session in Florida. With the tools he has learned, he is enhancing our shelter dogs’ quality of life by allowing them to engage in natural social behaviors.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The training Tim received allows us to provide true freedom to our shelter dogs. By letting dogs interact with one another, their overall experience at a shelter can be changed from detrimental to positive. We estimate we can bring at least 800 dogs throughout this year physical and mental stimulation and at least that many each year after. The dogs burn off energy, learn social skills and are more relaxed when meeting potential adopters. As an extra bonus, the groups bring joy to the volunteers and staff members who are helping Tim run the playgroups. It’s a great way to fight off compassion fatigue. Joy is infectious. The advanced obedience training that Tim was taught has helped grow our volunteer programming by training the volunteers in more dog obedience training. The training allows the dogs with more advanced behavior issues to be addressed and be safely placed in loving homes.

How many pets did this grant help?

800

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Just recently we posted a short video of Paul (pictured) and Iron Man having a great time in playgroup. His adopter saw the video and came to visit Paul. This resulted in Paul getting adopted after seven months of awaiting his heroes. The video can be seen here (he’s the one with the stubby tail).

We originally adopted out Paul as puppy and, to our dismay, upon his return we discovered he was never properly socialized with humans or other dogs. Because we had few resources to concentrate primarily on him, the doggy playgroups he was a part of on a regular basis helped him learned how to be social appropriately to not only other dogs but to humans as well. Most importantly, Tim learned at his mentorship how to properly introduce Paul to strangers and to use the command “park it,” which allowed Paul to go out in public and be social. His story can be seen here (Tim Yeaglin, who was awarded the mentorship, is the human in the video).