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Facilitating shelter adoptions with clicker training

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The Washington Humane Society is the only the only "open-access shelter" in Washington, DC, meaning that no animal is ever turned away. The shelter now relies on clicker training to help their animals become more adoptable.

"Over the past 3 years, a growing group of volunteers have learned to clicker-train rescued dogs for obedience, agility and other skills. The goal is to make them better candidates for adoption, as well as reduce stress by providing much-needed stimulation."

The move to clicker training is part of the Shelter In-House Training (SIT) Program, which assists shelter dogs in finding permanent homes and decreases the stress of living in the shelter.

"A group of dedicated trainers and volunteers teach dogs skills that foster good manners. Dogs enrolled in the Canine Training Program are taught, using humane methods, the basics of general obedience: sit, down, stay and come. While some are learning new skills, others are sharpening skills they already have. No matter what their current skill level, all of the dogs are bright and eager to learn and their skills will continue to improve with a little consistent guidance in their new home. "

Read more about the clicker training program at the Washington Humane Society's blog.

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I wish...

I wish somebody had clicker trained my dog when he was at a shelter. He has some aggression problems, and maybe if somebody ahd clicker trained him before I adopted him, he might not have them.

It really works!

Thanks for mentioning our program, Miranda! I'm a shelter volunteer at Washington Humane Society and I just started learning about clicker training a few weeks ago. I'm so impress with the impact it's had on the dogs we work with!

One particular example is Harry, a young Shetland Sheepdog, who's languished at the shelter for over a month. Prospective adopters keep saying they're not sure they can handle his high energy. He barked non-stop and leaped at everyone who walked past his kennel. Last week I noticed his behavior was changing. He walked up to me, sat down and grinned. He was adopted the following day.

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Maybe Brodie can learn from Harry

I too live in the DC area and I just rescued Brodie, a gorgeous yellow lab who is ~7-9 months old. He is wonderful except that when I take him outside - he does exactly what you describe as Harry doing in his kennel.

We are quickly becoming feared by our neighbors and he hasn't been home for two weeks yet.

any help/advice you could give that helped with Harry would be great.