One of the best programs that we’ve brought to shelters recently is the Dog Playgroup Training that we taught at the six LA City Animal Shelters. This training teaches staff and volunteers how to pick, introduce and manage the dogs for a playgroup.
Playgroup training gives dogs the tools to get adopted and get out of the shelter. It also helps them exercise and relieve an immense amount of pent up stress. With the help of my friend Louis Dedeaux I taught these classes at each of the six LA city shelters over the period of a few months. Every participant had a great time watching the dogs play, they learned the skills to start these groups and keep them moving. In many of our groups we had almost every available dog from the shelter out in the yard playing. My favorite part is always when dogs get adopted right out of the groups. Who can help themselves? The dogs look so happy and we know they’re going to fit into their new homes so well.
Brenda Barnette, the GM of LAAS said,
In my 4 1/2 years at LAAS, I have never seen the staff, volunteers and public so engaged and excited about any shelter activity.
We were able to take every size and breed, every age and color of dog out of their kennels and bring them into the play yard to meet, play and frolic with other dogs. I was impressed how well the staff and volunteers learned the difference between warning signals, aggression, play growling and interaction and the various energies that dogs put off during play. It is imperative to understand these subtle nuances in order to help dogs be better understood. Dogs will growl and nip at each other during play and we say it a lot in our trainings. Louis Dedeaux is a long time friend and K9 handler, and his help was invaluable. With his assistance we were able to bring larger groups, bigger dogs and higher drive dogs together than if he had not been there.
In the next weeks I will be revisiting the LAAS shelters to follow up on our Dog Playgroup Training… sort of a refresher visit. I’m looking forward to doing this.
Also, this Tuesday Louis and I will be presenting the participants with their Certificates of Attendance. Stay tuned for that update!