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Clay County Humane Society: Build-A-Bear Youth Humane Education Grant Report

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

We are implementing a new training program for all animals that come through our facility. Our goal is to use these behavioral modifications in basic walking and handling for our volunteers that exercise our residents. We have many youth who volunteer with their parents, who are learning these techniques from our employees. We have hired Vernon Taylor, the Indiana Dog Whisperer, and his partner, Marci Burk, to teach a series of seminars training our employees. We have started a new intake protocol regarding temperament testing. All residents are put through testing that was taught in our first seminar in October. Upon completion, an evaluation is made for what the need is for each animal.

The second step is to understand the needs of each dog and start implementing corrective guidance daily. We have scheduled extra hours for our employees to spend quality time with each animal. When we have volunteers, our employees instruct them on the proper way to handle, walk and instruct the dogs with basic commands. We have seen amazing results. The dogs are creatures of habit. We have started using treadmill exercising to help with our high-energy dogs and as a stress release for our fearful animals.

This has helped our organization greatly to be able to afford professional help in training our staff and volunteers. We have seen amazing success with animals that would barely walk on a lead and now are walking well and responding to basic commands. So often the animals that end up in shelters have behavioral issues that we are working to correct. This will make them better pets for their forever homes upon adoption. We have worked with between 40-50 dogs with these new techniques. Our juvenile volunteers are enjoying this as well, as many have come week after week to continue learning. They have advised us that they are working with the own dogs at home and their parents have been excited about the results.

How many pets did this grant help?


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

This little white dog, Casper (first photo), would not leave his kennel until they started working with him. He now looks forward to his walks and exercise time. Casper now enjoys the playpen and this would have never happened before our employees and volunteers started working with him with very basic behavioral training. Amazing! From his Petfinder profile: “Casper was picked up as a stray on Dec. 27, 2016. He’s about a year-old Lab mix. In need of a bit of reassurance, Casper’s a sweet guy who takes a little time to feel comfortable. Unwilling to walk out of the kennels, once we had him in the meet-and-greet room, of the six people in the room, he chose a 9-year-old girl to cozy up to. Literally, he gently put his feet in her chair and carefully got up in the chair to sit next to her. With a little more time, we’re hopeful his confidence will grow and he’ll open up to more people.” Meet him:

Further Reading