Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant

Dog Town Rescue: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Tuition to attend the Dogs Playing For Life Mentorship Program

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

Allowing more confidence in running our playgroups, and relaying the valuable information I learned to some of our volunteers, allowing the dogs to have a better experience.

How many pets did this grant help?

Any dogs coming into our care (roughly 350/year)

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

We run playgroups daily, so it’s hard to pinpoint one dog specifically. We did have one named Donkey who I think we allowed more freedom to communicate as a dog in playgroups, and it helped him blossom and become more social in general. He was adopted.

Wimberley Adoption Group and Rescue: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Mentorship with Dogs Playing for Life at Austin Pets Alive! in Austin, TX.

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

I have been able to teach the other volunteers about grouping dog play styles, using tools for safety and molding behavior and the value of letting dogs interact with each other on a regular basis. We have seen dogs who were scared and reactive become well-balanced and happy, anxious each day to get in with others and play. Our larger-dog adoptions have increased and returns have diminished.

How many pets did this grant help?

So far…. 15-20

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

One of the biggest successes so far was a dog named Blue Boy. He came in resource-guarding and somewhat fear-aggressive towards other dogs. Over time, with one-to-one contact with proper types of dogs and eventually large playgroups, he gained confidence with dogs and people. Blue Boy is now securely in a new forever home!

Willamette Humane Society: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

It was used to have contract playgroup trainer Jessi Henry attend the mentorship in Austin, Texas. She has attended three seminars with Aimee Sadler at Dogs Playing for Life, starting when Aimee came to WHS for the first time in 2008. Jessi has been doing playgroups ever since. She was an employee for over 10 years and now she is a contract trainer and only does playgroups for the shelter and the public. She is also a Pro Responder for the ASPCA’s anti-cruelty behavior team and a task that is included in that is helping with playgroups with those populations of dogs as well.

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

Jessi says: I have been to three seminars from Aimee and DPFL and have been running playgroups since she came the first time in 2008. Attending this mentorship not only taught me some things I did not know, it also gave me more confidence in the way I was running playgroups and knowing that I am actually running them very close to the way DPFL and Austin Pets Alive! run them. The seminars taught me a lot throughout the years, but actually having someone watch and give me feedback for four days was extremely helpful to me.

How many pets did this grant help?

It has helped hundreds so far and will continue to help hundreds.

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

Hoagie (pictured with some of his playgroup friends) has been a long-term resident. He came to playgroups in the beginning but then started to decline and seemed to not enjoy them anymore. He also seemed to be getting kennel stressed (common in long-term shelter residents). He has been being worked with through our Behavior and Training Team on basic skills and impulse control.

When I got back from the mentorship, I thought about Hoagie a lot and everything I’d learned. They had similar dogs in their shelter and playgroups were helping those dogs in a significant way. I gave it another shot and set up a yard for Hoagie to ease back into playgroups.

We did start out using precautions such as a muzzle and drag lines. This lasted for a very short time and then I was able to remove this equipment. While Hoagie’s “friend” pool is smaller, he has been able to get out multiple times a week and work off some of his energy. He has even lost some of his extra weight and is looking great, mentally and physically.

Hoagie is still currently up for adoption and waiting for his perfect forever home, but in the meantime he has been having a great time with his pals, both two-legged and four). I am so glad that I had the extra confidence from going to the DPFL mentorship to give it another go with Hoagie. It warms my heart to see him acting like a dog! Meet Hoagie here.

Iroquois County Animal Rescue: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

It was used for my five-day mentorship program in Austin, Texas, at Austin Pets Alive!

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

It helped me to gain confidence in running dog playgroups. I was able to take that knowledge back to my shelter and teach the program to several of our volunteers so that we could implement additional playgroups.

How many pets did this grant help?

On average, 100-120 dogs per year.

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

Buddy, an American pit bull terrier, was adopted after spending over a year in our shelter awaiting adoption. Through his participation in playgroups, we learned that he was great with other dogs. He now lives with another dog in his adoptive home.

Rebel Rescue, Inc.: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Part of the grant money paid my tuition to attend a Dog’s Playing for Life Mentorship Program. The money also paid for supplies so that we could build a few agility-type play items for the yard.

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

Having play yard equipment is keeping the rescue dogs more engaged and curious. We see this bring out more happiness and have seen dogs who had been timid come out of their shells to play more. This has made them calmer and more interested in play.

How many pets did this grant help?

We have 52 dogs right now and the play items help them all.

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

Pepper (first photo) has been passed over for adoption because of his super-charged energy and his tendency to play in a dominant way. Now that he is using toys and obstacles, he is being challenged more and appears to be having a MUCH better time! He is now playing in groups and not making the other dogs mad. Meet Pepper here.

In the second photo you will see Cowboy and Jude. These two love digging in rocks and burying each other. It is hilarious! Both are dogs who didn’t like other dogs and were getting passed over for adoption. With structured introductions and play, they built confidence and eventually became friends and loved to play with the others.

If you look in the background of the third photo, you can see the A-frame and the hoop jump we built. In the fourth photo, you can see the catwalk in the background.

Today, Jude and Cowboy are adopted. Pepper is still waiting for his family to find him. He is still full of energy, so we have to wait for a family that plays together. We tell him the right family will come for him one day.

Animal Rescue Foundation: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Attendance by one of our behavioral-team volunteers at the Dogs Playing for Life training.

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

Our behavior team (which has been almost non-existent) has grown with the addition of wonderful volunteers, two of whom now have attended the Dogs Playing for Life training. Our behavior team has since enacted playgroups to help socialize our dogs and give them more time to play and be dogs, which in turn has increased their adoptability.

How many pets did this grant help?

We typically house 30-50 dogs at any given time at our shelter. The knowledge and training gained from Dogs Playing for Life will help countless dogs that we rescue, as we can help socialize them and make their stay here positive and hopefully get them forever homes faster as a result.

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

Spiderman is a really sweet pup, but a huge ball of energy, which was making it difficult to group him with other dogs. Our behavior team continues to work with him, taking him for long walks and giving him time with other dogs in playgroups. Since that time, Spiderman’s behavior has improved and more of the sweet, goofy side that makes him so lovable has come out. He’s still quite a lot to handle, so he will need a strong owner. But he’s been able to play and hang out with other dogs and we’re hoping his forever home is just around the corner. Thank you to Dogs Playing for Life and the Petfinder Foundation for helping our behavior team and the pups in our care. It’s truly been a great help, and we hope to be able to send others and continue to grow the behavior team. Meet Spiderman: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/39269335

Grand County Animal Shelter: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The grant money was used for me to participate in a Dogs Playing for Life mentorship at the Longmont Humane Society.

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

This grant helped me learn how to utilize playgroups. We have the area, but we have never implemented this program. I am looking forward to showing my volunteers and staff how the program works. We have only one dog at the shelter at this time, so we are not able to do any group play yet.

How many pets did this grant help?

Hopefully all the dogs that come to our shelter

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

This will help all of our dogs at the shelter so they can interact while here. Keeping them busy and their minds stimulated will tire them out. The staff and our volunteers will get to learn more of each dog’s personality as we see them interact with other dogs. And we will have a better understanding of where to place him/her — a quiet home, an active home, etc.

Marion County Dog Shelter: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

It paid for my DPFL mentorship training at Austin Pets Alive! from Sept. 11-15, 2018.

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

I learned some new techniques and gained more confidence in my abilities. I feel more comfortable running multiple playgroups and working with dogs who have more-challenging behavior issues. I was able to come home and get started working with some of our more-challenging dogs and I was able to help several of them gain better dog-to-dog skills. I have been able to have more confidence in my ability to train our volunteers to help me run my playgroups and to be able to explain to them what behaviors I am seeing in the yard and why I might be making the decisions to move or to not move dogs in or out of the play yard. I have gotten some great feedback from my volunteers.

How many pets did this grant help?

So far 4-6, but I am still working with dogs currently as well.

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

We had Ace, a 3-year-old bulldog mix, who had selective dog-to-dog skills, but with what I learned at my mentorship, I was able to get him to the point to where he was playing with five other dogs unmuzzled. Ace was adopted and is doing well. We also had Diego, a 4-year-old bulldog mix, who was also selective and a status-seeking male. I was able to work with him to the point where I could take his muzzle off as well, and he could play with a smaller group of dogs, just no intact males. I had trained them both on Gentle Leaders and their adopters purchased those devices when they were adopted. I’ve included pictures of both Diego (fawn) and Ace (black and white). I feel so lucky to have been given this opportunity to learn and grow. I am studying now to take my test to become a CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed).

Dane County Humane Society: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The funding from the Petfinder Foundation was used to cover the admission costs for one DCHS employee to attend the Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Program.

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

Attending the Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Program inspired our staff to create a consistent play schedule for dogs in our care. Now playgroups are solidified as a program within DCHS’s Canine Behavior Team (CBT). Playgroups have allowed many shelter dogs who appear to be fearful in their kennels to come out of their shells and act like different dogs once they’re in the play yards. We’ve seen dogs blossom during their stay with us, and dogs with long lengths-of-stay have the opportunity to relieve stress from daily shelter life and act like “regular” dogs again. This has been extremely helpful for ensuring that our dogs remain dog social during their time at the shelter, and that they continue having positive interactions and experiences with other dogs once they are adopted.

Playgroups have also been beneficial for DCHS’s adoption and behavior teams. Seeing dogs interact with each other helps us identify what lifestyle may be best for each individual dog, and what pet personalities each dog will have the most positive interactions with. This had led to more successful adoptions and has reduced the amount of returns due to the dog being a “bad match” for the family.

How many pets did this grant help?

30

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

Calvin arrived at Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) as a stray found in the city of Fitchburg back in July. He was very thin, had areas of scarring on his front paws, and wasn’t neutered. Once Calvin was neutered and medically cleared, he was enrolled in the Canine Behavior Modification Program and had his first playgroup experience. Calvin was severely under-socialized and defensively aggressive towards other dogs his size. The Canine Behavior Team (CBT) decided to introduce Calvin to one of our smallest, but friendliest and wiggliest, dogs.

Once Calvin got out to the yard, he became a different dog. He was play bowing and jumping up and down with excitement. Within two weeks, Calvin became one of our best playgroup participants! He longed for playgroup each day he was at the shelter, and genuinely enjoyed playing with every dog who entered the yard.

While Calvin’s playing abilities and socialization improved, he was still waiting for the right person to come through the shelter to bring him to his forever home. In September, a spot opened up at a partner rescue organization, Happily Ever After, and CBT decided he was the best candidate to go since he had already had such a long length-of-stay at DCHS. Soon after Calvin was transferred to Happily Ever After, he was adopted into a loving home. Playgroups helped Calvin blossom while at DCHS and set him up for success for when he finally went home with his future family.

Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The money from this grant was applied to the cost of tuition for a staff member from the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA to attend a mentorship program through Dogs Playing for Life at the Longmont Humane Society in Longmont, CO.

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

The grant helped our organization and the pets in our care by teaching valuable enrichment and training techniques at a well-respected organization. Customizing that knowledge for our facility’s needs by training our staff and volunteers helps to provide better, more consistent enrichment and training for the dogs in our care. By providing enrichment through well-managed playgroups and giving the dogs in our care basic training, we are able to meet their social and mental needs, which makes their time at our shelter until they are adopted more enjoyable and less stressful for them. Additionally, through playgroups and training, we are able to learn more about each dog’s personality, which helps our adoptions staff communicate to potential adopters a dog’s needs in order to match dogs with a suitable, long lasting home.

How many pets did this grant help?

Approximately 40-50 dogs per week are eligible to participate in playgroups.

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

Tweedle and Reno are two dogs who have greatly benefited from the enrichment provided by playgroups. Tweedle (first and second photos) is 3.5-year-old bully-breed mix who was transferred to AAWL from a rural shelter in southwest Arizona. He had been returned twice through no fault of his own. This high-energy, goofy boy is a rock star in playgroups and it’s always the highlight of his day to frolic with his friends. Tweedle knows sit, lie down, and shake, and is learning door manners. Without playgroups and training, Tweedle would probably suffer from breaking down due to kennel stress. Meet him: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/43017227

Reno (third photo and with Tweedle in the fourth photo) is a 2-year-old border collie mix who was transferred to AAWL after coming out of a hoarding situation in Nevada. Reno had had nearly no socialization with people and would panic and chew through leashes. After we gave him time to settle into the shelter environment, Reno learned to walk on a leash and quickly became a favorite dog to bring to playgroups. Being in playgroups has helped shelter staff identify a people-friendly dog to kennel with Reno, which has helped continue his socialization. Meet him: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/42991465