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Just for Shelters

Entering and Exiting Kennels Calmly

Kenneled dogs exhibit wild behavior upon entering or leaving the kennel because they need company. Our instinct is to respond to this need. It flatters us and triggers our sympathy. However, offering no response or actually withholding our entry is the kindest action you can take. Nobody has taught most shelter dogs how to greet people, so they greet us like they would other dogs - they touch, sniff, jump up, lick, try to wrestle and play. To be successful when adopted they have to learn self-control. We can give them a real start by how we handle our entry and exit from the kennels or outside pens.

Upper Valley Humane Society: A Clicker Success Story

Upper Valley Humane Society started over 40 years ago as a foster care network. They purchased a small kennel in Plainfield, New Hampshire in 1972, but were crowded out by development, with new neighbors objecting to the barking dogs. Executive director Joan McGovern undertook the design of a new shelter. With a land swap facilitated by a benefactor, and the help of many donors and volunteers, they moved north to Enfield, near Dartmouth College, in 1991.

Clicking in the Shelter Environment

I've become very interested in clicker training dogs and cats in shelters. I've visited shelters around the United States and the UK and seen clicker programs in use. I often use shelter dogs for clicker demos at scientific and professional meetings. I've also gone into shelters, usually at the request of some TV team, and just started clicking and treating one dog or cat after another, in their cages—an interesting and often amazing experience.

Documents on Clicker Training for Distribution

These helpful documents on clicker training are available for you to download to your computer.