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Central Missouri Humane Society: Grant Report

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

Funds from this grant were used to purchase supplies and equipment for use in our Behavior Modification and Enrichment Program. We try to enrich our animals as much as possible and surround them with a sense of safety and love. We used the funds to purchase a plethora of behavioral training and enrichment supplies, including Mendota slip leads, KONG Wobbler dog toys, ADAPTIL Dog Appeasing Pheromone Diffusers and Spray, calming collars, essential oils for use in scent therapy, treat pouches, suction cup caddies, etc. All of these tools have assisted in creating a safe, low-stress environment that will help our animals stay happy and healthy while in our care.

The additional supplies and equipment we received through this grant allowed us to maintain a low-stress, stable environment where animals are encouraged to succeed. Most behavior issues, even those that seem severe, can be corrected with proper training and positive reinforcement. It is our duty as shelter workers, and as human beings, to give every animal who comes through our door the best chance possible at finding a family and continuing her journey out in the world. Mental stimulation is so important in a shelter environment and helps boost a dog’s mood and keep his mind sharp — and it can be particularly useful for those canines who are bored, frustrated or don’t enjoy being around other animals. Keeping animals enriched and stimulated while in their kennels helps to set them up for success during afternoon training sessions with our Behavior Modification Coordinator. Empowering animals through a variety of training sessions not only teaches basic manners that make dogs more adoptable but also helps build confidence and gives animals the skills necessary to succeed into the future.

Part of our Behavior Modification and Enrichment Program includes dog-appeasing pheromone therapy. Pheromones are taken in through the nasal passage of the dog to produce a calming effect on one part of the brain that is connected to the dog’s behavior and emotion. Pheromone therapy has been very effective and successful in treating phobias and stress experienced by dogs. In addition to using pheromone diffusers and sprays, we also purchased calming collars to place on animals showing signs of stress and anxiety. D.A.P. calming collars are an incredible resource in a shelter setting. By placing a calming collar on each dog coming into our shelter, we have seen a significant reduction of stress and anxiety. These collars have also helped decrease dogs' fear-aggressive tendencies upon entering the shelter.

These resources have helped many animals in our shelter by increasing their confidence and impulse-control and decreasing their overall anxiety. We have also seen a decrease length of stay. Anxious, stressed-out dogs who are jumping up on the glass and spinning in circles in the kennels don’t show well to adopters. Even though most of these dogs won’t show those behaviors outside of the shelter, it most definitely deters some adopters from considering them. The skills our animals have gained at our shelter through this program have carried over into their new homes and increased pet-retention rates. Through positive reinforcement and these increased resources, we have decreased overall stress in the shelter and continued to showcase our animals for each of their wonderful and unique personalities!

How many pets did this grant help?

This grant has helped more than 300 animals in our care!

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

Jake (first photo) is a 4-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier mix who came into our care when his owner was moving and could no longer keep him. Jake is a wonderful boy who loves cuddling and playing with toys. He needs an active home that can provide him with the exercise and attention he needs. Jake is an incredibly sweet boy but has a lot of anxiety both in and out of the shelter. After a few days at the shelter, he began spinning circles in his cage and destroying all the blankets and toys he was given. We placed a calming collar on him and began using a pheromone spray on the items in his cage. Our Behavior Modification Coordinator took him for walks several times a day to do some one-on-one behavioral training.

He was still showing signs of anxiety, so we gave him a plethora of KONG toys and a Treatstik filled with food and training treats. Jake loved them! While he is still an anxious soul, the KONG toys and Treatstik have helped enrich him while he’s in his kennel and given him a sense of comfort and security. He is always carrying around his Treatstik and has stopped jumping up on the glass and spinning in circles. He even curls up on his bed with his KONG and Treatstik and naps during the day.

The resources provided by this grant have helped us provide Jake with some of the tools he needed to harness his anxiety and boost his confidence. Jake is currently available for adoption and can’t wait to find the perfect family for him! Meet Jake:

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