Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only)

Animal Rescue Foundation: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) 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 (Invitation Only) 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 (Invitation Only) 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 (Invitation Only) 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 (Invitation Only) 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

Los Angeles Animal Services: 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 the tuition cost for Thomas Kalinowski to attend a Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Program.

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

This grant helped Animal Services with the costs associated with sending a kennel supervisor to attend a Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Program and begin a playgroup program within Animal Services. Thomas has been conducting playgroups at the East Valley Animal Services Center several times a week when he has the staff and volunteers to assist. This grant has allowed more than 100 dogs to get our of their kennels and be exercised and socialized. https://youtu.be/FEWyl_ecSvA

How many pets did this grant help?

over 100

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

Marsha, a Siberian husky, came to the East Valley Animal Services Center on Sept. 15, 2018, as a stray dog. She was initially very mouthy and, when she was with a group of dogs, she would become overwhelmed, tuck her tail and try to escape. Eventually the escape behavior turned to chase with other dogs in the playgroup as she gained confidence and she would at times become the chaser. Marsha was adopted and the information gathered on Marsha during playgroups was shared with her new family.

People for Pets: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant (Invitation Only) Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The money was used to send one of our regular volunteers to the Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship program in Longmont, Colorado.

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

She came back with a lot of new knowledge that has really improved our confidence and ability to have dogs socialize and meet one another in a much safer fashion than what was previously done here. We have happier dogs during their stay, as most are now able to interact with others for play and socialization! The shelter dogs would normally have been alone when let out, which was done for safety, but was not necessary in most cases. It also allows us to observe dogs with one another and be better able to inform potential adopters on how the dog plays and what types of dogs it will interact better with.

How many pets did this grant help?

Endless. We typically have 15-20 dogs in the shelter, but this training will continue to help all the dogs that come through the shelter.

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

Jazzy was a Lab mix who came to our shelter from a domestic-abuse situation, where she was apparently very protective of her female owner. This created some issues with Jazzy’s trust of humans and other dogs, as she came off as aggressive based on the anxiety she displayed behind her kennel door and also her demeanor when outside. After implementing the training skills we had learned through Dogs Playing for Life, we decided it was time for Jazzy to interact with another dog and she completely opened up. She played and ran and was much less tense around the handlers at the shelter. We think this definitely helped in the lead-up to her adoption, as we had a happier dog, and the adopter felt good about letting Jazzy meet her own dog. The meeting ultimately went wonderfully and Jazzy now has her forever home!

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

What was the money or product used for?

Dogs Playing for Life mentorship training

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

Since we have implemented playgroups in our shelter, this program has helped decrease stress and anxiety levels in our dogs. It has provided valuable insight into how dogs interact with one another, allowing staff to find better adoption placements. This helps us better inform people as to the dog’s natural play style so that adopters can be aware of it and don’t mistake play for aggression. Playgroups also allow us to better assess each animal’s dog/dog behavior.

How many pets did this grant help?

35 since August 1, 2018 — the start of the program

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

This program has significantly helped one of our long-term residents, Kirby. Kirby came to us as a transfer from a rural shelter. He was adopted out and returned a while later due to his reactivity towards vehicles. Kirby has been in training during his stay with us and we are pleased with his progress and the role playgroups have played in it. The ability to socialize and interact with other dogs has given him an outlet to decrease stress and satisfy his social needs. Kirby gets along with most dogs and enjoys active play sessions. We have utilized playgroups after training sessions to help him retain what he has just learned. We have noticed that this is particularly helpful in Kirby’s case. Staff have noticed that regular play sessions with different playmates has reduced Kirby’s stress and increased his focus during training sessions. Meet him: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/41100493

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

What was the money or product used for?

Mentorship for Aimee Sadler’s Dogs Playing for Life training program.

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

Our lead person for DPFL had been bit pretty seriously in the face. This frightened some of my other volunteers and they would not assist him with playgroups. Since he went to the mentorship, we had added two more volunteers to the playgroups. We are striving to promote the playgroups in our volunteer orientation and going out to gyms and other businesses to see if we can gain some more volunteers to assist with DPFL.

How many pets did this grant help?

90 dogs since July 2018

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

Cali came to us on a bite quarantine in the beginning of March 2018. The owners did not want her back. We evaluated her and placed her up for adoption. At first, she was not comfortable with other dogs. We have had her in playgroups with large dogs and now we have found that her true passion is to hang out with all the little dogs, young and old. She is very kind and gentle with them, with no reactivity at all. She is a great dog. Meet her: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/41289509

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

What was the money or product used for?

The money was used to pay the tuition for a Dogs Playing for Life mentorship in Longmont, Colorado.

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

This grant helped by allowing me the opportunity to attend the mentorship and learn the protocols of the DPFL program, thus giving me the knowledge and tools to implement safe and effective playgroups for the dogs at our shelter.

How many pets did this grant help?

Since starting the playgroups in July, we have had approximately 150 different dogs come out for our playgroups. Each week, more dogs are added to the list of those approved for playgroups, so the number continues to grow.

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

Zane was a dog who especially benefited from this grant. For a while, he was labeled as a dog who could not be out with other dogs. He was at our shelter for several months hoping to find a forever home. Once we introduced him to playgroups, however, we found that he was one of the most playful, social, and dog-friendly dogs ever. In fact, he became a Playgroup Rock Star and helper dog. Because we learned more about his true personality through playgroups, Zane was able to go on a transport to Wisconsin and was adopted within a week of being there.