Petfinder’s Train to Adopt Program

from Foundation

Starting February 1st and continuing throughout 2011, Friends of Pima Animal Control in Tucson, Missouri Humane Society in St. Louis, Charlotte Mecklenberg Animal Care and Control in North Carolina and the Pennsylvania SPCA in Philadelphia will have four trainers practicing the Train To Adopt method developed by well-known dog trainer, Sue Sternberg. Vicki Fragasso, Director of Development at the Foundation was on hand to watch the two-day training in Grand Junction, CO. She witnessed Sue Sternberg calm a very anxious six-month old puppy within minutes. She worked the puppy through a period of nervousness, by adding mental stimulation and by offering her a reward once the desired behavior was attained. Basically, her method uses physical objects, food and mental stimulation to retrain behavior in shelter dogs. “Calming a shelter dog is one of the most important things that you can do. Teach these dogs how to learn and instantly they will connect with a person, which equates to adoption,” says Sue.

The four shelter trainers were required to collect pre-program data on their respective shelters. This includes, but is not limited too: the measurement of barking duration periods, instances of pacing, spinning, rebounding off kennel walls, licking, adoption rates, return rates, frequency of diarrhea and dog adoption fees.

The Train to Adopt Program developed from the idea that kennel life is stressful and unnatural for a dog, which can result in abnormal behavior. If any of the above behaviors are witnessed, it is a quality of life emergency and needs to be addressed immediately. The minimal requirements to ward off this behavior: 20 minutes of human touch daily, two minutes of daily reward based training and play time with a human or other dogs three times a week.

The four shelter trainers will also be required to train shelter staff and volunteers. The Foundation is excited to see the results of this program over the coming months! Help shelter dogs to learn how to connect with humans and get adopted – Donate to the Foundation today!

This grant has been made possible through the generous support of The Animal Rescue Site and

Important to Note: The Train to Adopt Program does not involve any assessment protocols or temperment training. The program is strictly covering dog behavior and quality of life improvement.

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