A busy dog is a happy dog.
Saka is living proof of this. He was a smart, young, active, large dog who was with us for three long months last year. Because he wasn’t very fond of other dogs, he relied even more on the diligent efforts of staff and volunteers to provide brain-stimulating, de-stressing enrichment activities to help him endure his wait for his forever family—and retain his sweet, loving temperament in the meantime.
Saka is just one example of a growing number of large, active dogs in need of life-saving transports from overcrowded shelters. Once here, they are facing longer lengths of stay prior to adoption, which can lead to boredom, stress, anxiety, frustration, and eventually behavioral issues. To serve them (as well as owners in need of help with their own dogs), we strategically expanded our Behavior & Training program last year.
Our new Intake Enrichment Coordinator implements a weekly menu of exercise, mental stimulation, social interaction, and olfactory stimulation to spice up the dogs’ routines. Meanwhile, our new Adoption Enrichment Coordinator trains adoptable behaviors to dogs in our care. Finally, thanks to a grant from the Harold J. Miossi Charitable Trust, our new Enrichment Yard provides much-needed space for outdoor, off-leash fun.
Saka was an immediate agility star who benefited greatly from the obstacle course in our new yard. The newly expanded team also scheduled him for special outings to the beach, regular “assignments” to lounge in Customer Service, daily puzzle feeders, and other enrichment activities to stave off stress and boredom.
The plan worked wonderfully and Saka was adopted by an amazing family. Now, our smart boy is learning to support a father with PTSD as well as a young boy with autism. We are so proud!
For more information about our training and enrichment programs, visit WoodsHumane.org/Training.