Shelter staffs experiencing Dogs Playing for Life have learned that a dog’s immediate reactions to initial intake procedures, cage barriers, and on-leash walking, are not necessarily reliable indicators of a dog’s ability to be social with other canines and adopters.
•Shelter dogs get the chance to burn off energy and counteract the stresses of shelter life.
•Exercise can make dogs more relaxed and better behaved in their kennels and when meeting potential adopters.
•Shelters dogs will learn critical dog-to-dog social skills, can help them post-adoption in developing positive relationships with dogs outside of the shelter.
•By observing a dog’s state of play and social skills off the leash, shelter staff will gain a better understanding of each dog as an individual. Including its behavior in non-threatening situations. This information can be used to make better decisions about animal outcomes and potential adoption matches.
•Play groups give shelter dogs an opportunity to relieve themselves outside the building – which means less for staff to clean and disinfect inside the kennels.
•Kennel cleaning staff can work more efficiently when shelter dogs are in play groups outside of their kennels. Interestingly, kennel cleanliness has been identified by researchers as one important factor that influences a potential adopter’s view of the animal and likelihood to adopt. Conversely, forcing a dog to live and eat where they defecate only increases the emotional stress and anxiety for that dog.
•DPFL increases morale among both shelter staff and volunteers. Happy, healthy, and well-adjusted dogs are more appealing to adopters, and easier to care for. Staff and volunteers will be thrilled when length of stay and euthanasia rates are decreased as a result of this program.
•Through the generosity of sponsors, DPFL is usually offered at no cost to the shelter requesting the program.