Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only)

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).

Humane Society of Marlboro County: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The funds were used to send our kennel supervisor, Ashley Reed, to the Dogs Playing for Life Level II Mentorship Training in Florida at the National Canine Center. Ashley spent a week in Florida learning from the DPFL team!

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

Ashley returned from training armed with lots of tools and knowledge to help us at the Marlboro County Animal Shelter in not only basic kennel behavior and playgroups, but also protocols to help shut-down dogs (which we get a lot of from our community) and dog-reactive/barrier-reactive dogs. We now have a plan to move forward with these types of dogs which has decreased their length of stay and helped us make their days at the shelter more enriched and less stressful. Our general dog population is taught the kennel basics that Ashley learned, which helps us gain new rescue partners and move dogs out of the shelter more quickly.

How many pets did this grant help?

So far, this grant has been beneficial to 121 dogs!

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

Spade (first three photos) has been at our shelter since December 2018. He was both barrier- and dog-reactive in his kennel. We had tried to put him in playgroups on two occasions with a muzzle, but he chose to ignite a fight with multiple dogs and respond negatively towards the play yard handler when corrected. We had lost hope for a positive outcome for Spade. When Ashley returned from her training with DPFL, she immediately went to work with Spade. In two days, Spade learned his kennel routine — it turned out he was very smart and bored! He sits on his Kuranda bed now and waits quietly while he is leashed and muzzled. Ashley was able to successfully incorporate him into daily playgroups! Spade has transformed from a reactive, overly energetic dog to an easygoing boy who loves rolling on the ground in playgroups with both males and females. In fact, as I type this, he is out in the play yard with 11 other dogs! He is ready for the next step of playgroups without his muzzle.

Bennett arrived to our shelter in December of 2018 as a semi-feral, shut-down dog. When Ashley returned from her training, she focused on teaching Bennett to walk on a leash and be incorporated into playgroups. His confidence blossomed in a week and we were able to find a rescue group for him in New York!

Champ was an overly excited, 10-month-old dog with two broken legs. We had been having to sedate him twice a day in order to let his legs heal, but he all he wanted to do was jump and play. In his frustration, he became mouthy and started grabbing arms and shirts. The first dog Ashley worked with the morning of her return was Champ. She corrected his jumping on-leash, used several techniques she learned in training and worked on both his manners and his frustrations. He learned quickly and was able to finish healing without sedation and move on to a wonderful rescue group quickly!

Kind Keeper, Inc.: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Paid tuition for volunteer to attend Dogs Playing for Life mentorship in November 2018.

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

This grant helped our volunteers learn how to safely manage playgroups with the shelter dogs. Additionally, they learned safe techniques for getting animals into and out of kennels, walking dogs safely, and general canine-behavior observation skills.

How many pets did this grant help?

30

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

We have several dogs who have been in the shelter for more than a year. Cognac is a bully mix who gets along well with people and children and, thanks to learning more about playgroups and canine-behavior observation, we now know that she does get along with other dogs. Although she may be selective, we can tell quickly if it is a good match. Cognac has not been adopted yet and we really don’t understand why, other than the fact that she has an imposing appearance. We continue to take her to events and introduce her to potential adopters. We know that one day the right people will come along and find her! Meet Cognac here.

Angel City Pit Bulls: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

We used the grant to cover the tuition for one of our volunteers to attend the Dogs Playing for Life mentorship 1 at Austin Pets Alive!

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

This grant helped us gain more knowledge and hands-on experience to continue and expand our playgroup program at our organization. The volunteer we sent walked away with more confidence in how to assess and build a yard of dogs, so that more dogs have more chances to play, and dogs in need of building more social skills can be supported through that process. We also learned new training techniques for the kennel environment that will help our volunteers work with our dogs in a more consistent manner. We hope that the combined effect will be happier dogs who know what’s expected of them, resulting in quicker adoptions!

How many pets did this grant help?

Our projected intake is about 200+ pit bull-type dogs for this year; most, if not all, of those dogs will be in playgroups at some point.

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

Carter (first and second photos) is one of our current foster dogs who is reactive on leash. While we knew this wasn’t a good indication of his sociability, before having playgroups, we struggled to find a way to introduce him to other dogs (and counsel possible foster or adoptive homes on what could be a good match for him). Using Dogs Playing for Life playgroups, we were able to get Carter in the yard with other dogs and found out that, not only does he love other dogs, but he has some of the best off-leash social skills of our foster dogs! Carter has not been adopted yet, but is currently in a foster home with another dog and loving it! He frequently comes by our facility to “help out” with playgroups. Meet Carter here.

Danbury Animal Welfare Society: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The grant funds were used to cover tuition costs to send Gina Riccio for training at the Dogs Playing for Life mentorship in Austin, Texas.

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

The program helped teach DAWS staff and volunteers better and quicker ways of getting dogs adopted and in turn enabled the shelter to rescue more dogs and save more lives.

How many pets did this grant help?

Approximately 150 dogs

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

We took in an owner-surrender in October. His name is Onyx and he is a 60-lb., 7-year-old male pit bull. He was traumatized after living in a home for his entire seven years of life and was now put in a shelter environment. He was extremely depressed and upset and it took him some time to come around to new people. I slowly introduced him to other dogs and people. He loved playing in a yard with them and enjoying walks, etc. Sometimes I even felt bad for him, because he played so nicely with any dog of any size that it appeared that they were almost beating up him. He thrived after these play dates and took so well to the loose-leash walking, it was amazing. Initially when he came in, it was very hard to hold him on a leash, but with a few sessions of loose-leash training, he did wonderfully and became a pleasure to walk. Shortly thereafter, I was able to take him to any adoption event. Since then, he has gone foster-to-adopt with a lovely couple and been introduced to his doggie in-laws and has been absolutely perfect! I will be finalizing his adoption this week!

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

What was the money or product used for?

For a staff member to travel to Colorado to learn about Dogs Playing for Life.

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

This enabled the staff member who learned about Dogs Playing for Life to educate the other staff on what she had learned and implement more enrichment and playgroups for the dogs in our care.

How many pets did this grant help?

Hundreds and still counting

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

Mocha and Blue were scared when they came into our center. We were concerned with Blue because she was growling and lunging when she first came in. Our seasoned staff had a difficult time examining her for her intake exam. Mocha was shy, but was not as vocal about being scared as Blue was. They were able to play together and be with other dogs and were both recently adopted. They made such wonderful progress and we thank programs like the Dogs Playing for Life mentorship and the Petfinder Foundation for helping us make it possible for these wonderful dogs to find happiness.

Humane Society of Summit County: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Grant funding awarded to the Humane Society of Summit County from the Petfinder Foundation supported a Dogs Playing for Life mentorship session for a member of our staff.

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

Grant support was instrumental in helping HSSC rejuvenate and further develop its canine playgroup program. Since completing the mentorship program, our participating staff member has relayed her new knowledge gained from the session to other Animal Care Associates, helping them to feel more confident and comfortable during playgroups. Since the beginning of February, playgroups at HSSC are now held every day, weather permitting, allowing many more of our rescued dogs to experience this highly effective enrichment and peer-to-peer socialization.

How many pets did this grant help?

100 dogs

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

Ceres, a pit bull terrier mix, was rescued as a victim of animal cruelty by HSSC Humane Officers at the end of 2018. Although she recovered from her ordeal rather quickly, Ceres struggled with the common stressors within our shelter environment. New dogs, constant visitors, and a variety of unfamiliar smells and noises can be overwhelming and stressful for some rescued dogs.

Ceres’s behavior reflected her stress and anxiety. During her first few weeks in our care, she would shred, chew, and tear any blankets, beds, or toys given to her in her kennel, and, on a few occasions, she swallowed the pieces. Fortunately, she experienced no serious health complications, but all of these items were then prohibited from her enclosure for her safety.

In order to alleviate her stress, HSSC’s behavioral team began to include her in playgroup sessions. Each day, Ceres enjoys an intense play session with a few of HSSC’s other rescued dogs with compatible play style. Playgroup participation had a wonderful effect on Ceres. She is calmer in her kennel, and with a bit of time, blankets, beds, and toys have been reintroduced to her kennel. Luckily, Ceres no longer destroys them! Her stress-induced behaviors have been eliminated by her playgroup participation.

Today, Ceres is a star in playgroup! She plays well with most of the other dogs, and it’s wonderful to witness how the program has benefited her overall well-being.

Ceres is currently available for adoption at HSSC. Learn more about her on Petfinder here.