Canine Advocacy Begins with Education
Dogs are great! Not all owners are. Sometimes people have to relinquish their dog to a shelter for legitimate reasons. Many other times relinquishment truly is the least of all possible evils. People have done and continue to do some pretty awful unnecessary things to dogs.
Life is valuable! Luckily for local dogs, key members of the Kansas City animal shelter community feel the same way. In order make life better for dogs (and other animals) these individuals have shouldered the burden of changing the way people think and act towards dogs.
Advocacy begins with education. Dogs must learn how to be good house mates and their owners must learn how to be good caretakers. Just like with dogs, punishing people for making poor choices is often petty, punitive, and likely won’t address the root of the issue which is usually a lack of knowledge. Teaching shelter dogs to put their best foot forward is only half the battle. Teaching the owners to maintain good habits that encourage good behavior from their pets is even trickier.
Certified and highly educated dog trainers like Gabriela Munoz of Wayside Waifs and Shannon Wells at KC Pet Project understand the complexity of that problem first hand. Numerous animals are relinquished for behaviors that can be relatively simple to fix. Each have implemented at their respective shelters not only affordable training classes for people to better learn how to instill good habits but also internal programs that allow resident dogs to grow by leaps and bounds while they wait for their forever home.
Having specialists in animal behavior on staff at shelters helps ensure that dogs end up in environments suited to their disposition. This makes it less likely the dog will be returned in the future for behavior problems. These staff members are also able to coordinate training plans for resident dogs so that volunteers and other staff are able to compliment the training program with consistency and training methods roots in effective scientific methods.
Playgroups Programs are also becoming a more important part of many shelter operations. These social excursions provide resident dogs with much needed exercise and time outside the kennel. It also allows much needed feedback on the dog’s social behavior. Potential adopters are also able to see how a dog they are interested in is likely to do with dogs already living in the home.
All of these effort take the hard work and dedication of key individuals. The hardest part about saving lives if the sheer volume of time and money required to implement programs effectively. This is where normal everyday people can make all the difference. Donate your time to Wayside Waifs, KC Pet Project, or another local shelter today!