helping dogs Every Day

Dogs Playing for Life is a canine programming nonprofit with a mission to serve the most shelter dogs possible. Our programs are featured at international animal welfare conferences and implemented by shelters across the country.

We have served multiple open admission shelters that now maintain canine live-release rates in excess of 95%. The verdict is simple: it works.

our signature programs & Events

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Every Dog, Every Day!

Enrichment Seminar: DPFL Travels to You

Every Dog, Every Day! is an enrichment program designed to ensure that all sheltered dogs receive time out of their kennel every day. Dogs Playing for Life visits shelters across the nation to teach them the skills needed to offer daily playgroups to their dog populations to enhance quality of life, resulting in maximum life-saving while reducing length of stay!

Canine Center Florida

Individualized Intervention: Dog Travels to CCF

Canine Center Florida (CCF) is our first advanced and comprehensive training facility serving unowned dogs that are struggling behaviorally. We review each dog's history and then professionally assess each individual dog to determine the best course of action for a positive outcome, whenever possible.

Mentorships: Level 1

Enrichment Curriculum: You Travel to Partner Shelter

Level 1 Mentorships provide 4 days of immersion training in canine playgroups and basic training for well-mannered walking and kennel behavior. Mentees travel to and work with a host shelter’s canine population in playgroups twice per day with opportunities to learn basic handling techniques in and around the kennels.

Mentorships: Level 2

Training Curriculum: You Travel to CCF

Level 2 Mentorships let handlers experience four immersive days with our expert trainers and the dogs at the Canine Center Florida. Learn how to work with more selective dogs in playgroups as well as more advanced leash work and training. This Mentorship is only available to those who have attended a Level 1 Mentorship OR currently implement DPFL-style playgroups at their shelter.

Pro Foster Program

Professional trainers: FOSTER FOR US!

The Dogs Playing for Life Professional Foster program aims to transfer eligible dogs in our program to professional dog trainers, rescues, and experienced foster homes who have the ability to be the bridge between our advanced behavior program and a permanent home. 

Placement Partners

Looking for partners to offer a helping paw!

We are interested in partnering with shelters or rescues to help place Canine Center Florida dogs who have completed training into adoptive homes and other placement opportunities. Let us know if you have space to help a dog in need.


Online Training Courses: No Travelling

Webinars allow us to teach a wide variety of critical skills to shelter personnel and dog enthusiasts. Increase your knowledge and skills by signing up for a webinar today!

Shadow Program

Dog Training Immersion: You Travel to CCF

The Shadow Program allows shelter personnel (or anyone who is interested in learning our techniques and approach) the opportunity to work alongside our professional trainers and instructors and receive personalized coaching, bringing enhanced skills home to the dogs in their care.

For the Good of All Dogs

Aimee Sadler has always known that enhancing quality of life would ensure positive outcomes for sheltered dogs. That is why she founded Dogs Playing for Life in 2015 after seventeen years of program development within brick and mortar shelters.

Heela Homman with Reggie at Canine Center

Dogs Playing for Life has always been rooted in the notion that a dog’s natural instinct is to PLAY. Playing can be a dog’s most natural form of positive interaction and communication with both humans and fellow dogs.

Concerning behavior for kenneled dogs can often be attributed to fear, frustration, and overall emotional suffering as a result of finding themselves in such a stressful environment.

For shelters, allowing dogs to be dogs in playgroups is often a more reliable indicator of their behavioral tendencies than the dog’s reactions during the intake process, while kenneled, or during a formal behavior evaluation.

Unfortunately, shelter dogs mislabeled as aggressive may never get the chance to show their true personality under more normal circumstances.

With our groundbreaking programs, Dogs Playing for Life ensures that all dogs are provided enrichment resources – beyond what traditional kennels typically provide – prior to any final determination regarding their potential for adoption.

Our training demonstrates to shelter staff and volunteers both the practical efficiencies of playgroups, as well as the emotional and behavioral benefits for the animals. This novel approach helps sheltered dogs along their path to becoming beloved canine companions within our communities. Read some of our success stories to see exactly what we mean.

Shelter Dogs Need Your Help

Dogs Playing for Life provides shelters with comprehensive seminars designed to maximize enrichment and quality of life for both shelter dogs and the staff who care for them. Our programs allow staff to learn how to conduct their own playgroups through:

  • Classroom presentations
  • Hands-on playgroup demonstrations
  • Caretaker coaching
  • Robust leave-behind resources

In many cases, the playgroups instantly reveal that dogs initially feared as being aggressive or unbalanced are truly social and adoptable!

Our goal is for no dog to be killed because of a lack of resources or opportunity to show their true selves. Our programs can provide hope and be the difference between life and death. 

With your support, Dogs Playing for Life can increase our reach, because oftentimes a shelter’s budget does not allow for additional outside assistance. Dogs live to play, now let them play to live!

Subscribe Now!

Learn about our vital work in your community, the latest training tips and techniques, and special stories of redemption and love.

Dogs live to play, now let them play to live.

Consider supporting Dogs Playing for Life today to help the dogs that need it the most.

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