Helping Good Dogs Find Good Homes
Socialization is one of the biggest pieces to the success of SSPA. Each dog is an individual and we are careful to take their needs as individuals into consideration. For most of our dogs, we have no way of knowing what type of background they may have. And guess what? It doesn’t matter! We socialize them all the same. How can we meet the needs of individuals with a “cookie cutter” plan?
We have respect, positive reinforcement and science on our side!
It is extremely critical to the success of our program that each and every time a dog is taken out of their kennel they have a positive experience. How can we ensure this? Each dog has their own boundaries and their own threshold for stress. For this reason, all of our volunteers are trained to recognize body language to know when a dog may be becoming uncomfortable. Volunteers are also trained to be proactive, and always set their dog up for success. We never put dogs in a situation where they may feel stress. By paying attention to these seemingly small tasks, we are respecting the dog’s boundaries as an individual, ensuring that they have a positive experience with handlers, which will help us to establish and build upon our relationships.
When permissible, our volunteers walk dogs outside of the shelter environment. This is a huge key to our success because we are able to take them away from the stressful sounds and smells that they may be experiencing on the inside. We use treats when introducing dogs to new areas, items or people, reinforcing that everyone and everything is fun! Occasionally we have dogs who may be less comfortable with new things (such as new surfaces or other dogs). When this occurs, we come together as a team to come up with a management plan to help the dogs succeed, using respect and rewards. Most dogs flourish while in our program and are typically entirely different dogs when they leave the shelter to start their new lives.