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Animal Welfare League of Arlington: Orvis Dog Enrichment Grant Report

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

Behavior training to help make a dog adoptable.

It helped the dog with potty-training, crate-training, playing with other dogs, and with resource-guarding.

How many pets did this grant help?


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

Elmo came to AWLA as a young puppy as a stray suffering from severe sarcoptic mange. He needed to be placed in isolation for several weeks to receive treatment. Once his medical treatment was complete, poor Elmo didn’t know how to have proper manners or how to behave. Because we received the Orvis grant from the Petfinder Foundation, we were able to send him to a top-notch boarding and training facility. Here is the first update from the trainer: “Elmo is loving life and having fun! He is working on potty-training, crate-training and resource-guarding. I think his prognosis is good and he can be made available for adoption soon. I have been feeding him from a slow-feed bowl (I actually use a muffin tin) to get him to slow down and calm down while eating. He will sit and wait for the bowl to be put down. He will also take his face away from the bowl when I call him or when I toss a treat in the other direction. He doesn’t show any signs of aggression when we reach into the crate to deliver or remove the bowl. I have also been petting him while he eats and he doesn’t show any resentment. I haven’t tried reaching my hand into the food while he is eating because I didn’t want to push him too far too fast.

“He has the standard hound/beagle dislike of being crated or separated from humans, so if I give him a chew treat like a bully stick and put him in the crate, he does not eat the treat and is totally focused on being let out of the crate. He doesn’t show any resentment about humans taking the treat away or other dogs approaching the crate while he has the treat. The only resource-guarding I have seen so far is with other dogs when he is chewing on a stick outside or eating mud outside. He will sometimes bark and lunge at other dogs when they approach him. He will leave the stick or mud in response to me calling his name.

“The first couple of nights, he howled in his crate for much of the night, but he has since calmed down and will only vocalize for a few minutes. He is not 100% relaxed about meeting new people; he is fearful and shy, but not aggressive, and he does warm up once he spends a bit of time with them. He loves other dogs and is learning to have better boundaries with dogs who don’t want to play with him.”

After some more time working with the trainer she saw significant improvements:

-Potty training: He still needs to be supervised and taken out frequently, but he definitely prefers to go outside and responds to the command “go potty.”
-Crate training: He is used to sleeping in a crate and will go in without any fuss and sleep through the night quietly.

Elmo is very affectionate and cuddly with people. He likes to sleep on the couch or on a dog bed. He loves to be around other dogs, especially puppies around his size. He can sometimes be overwhelming to small breeds, but he has not shown any aggression towards them. Elmo still struggles with resource-guarding issues. He is pretty good with humans; I can take an object out of his mouth with no problem, pet him while he is eating and trade the food bowl for treats. I can also reach into his crate and take the empty food bowl with no problem. He does get snarky with other dogs when they approach his crate while he is eating, or approach him when he has a toy or is chewing on a stick or digging outside. I think he would do fine in a multi-dog household as long as he was crated during feeding time and when the owners were not home, and if they do not leave toys or bones lying around. He does not guard anything besides toys and food. He is happy to share the water bowl, other humans, beds and furniture with other dogs.

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