DOG T.I.P. – A Volunteer Training Program

My colleague Erica Beckwith (also a graduate of Jean Donaldson’s Academy) and I have been very busy getting ready for our pilot program for Dog T.I.P. at the Stray Hearts Animal Shelter in Taos. While the program has been designed we are marching full speed with all our presentation materials, and finalizing the weekend-long training.  We are both super excited to be able to share our knowledge and experience with shelters.  Below you can read about Dog T.I.P. if you know of a shelter that you think could benefit from it, please let them know about the program.

The Dog Training Internship Program  (Dog T.I.P.) aims to educate committed volunteers at shelters around the nation so that they can learn the necessary skills to humanely and effectively train and mentally stimulate dogs at their shelters.

The training of volunteers and the program itself is comprised of independent, yet related “modules.”  The goals of each one of the four modules are:

• To reduce the distress levels of shelter dogs

• To increase their adaptability by teaching them skills that adopters expect of their pet

• To support shelter staff by volunteers as a result of increased knowledge in the areas of animal learning and humane methodologies of animal training

• To provide volunteers with guidelines to aid them in the adoption counseling process and placement protocols

Moreover, we believe that when committed volunteers are part of the solution instead of just doing necessary “tasks” for the shelter, such as cleaning pens or walking dogs, they experience less burn out. Therefore, their commitment and enjoyment as a shelter volunteer increases.

Those of us that have experience working or volunteering at shelters can attest that a strong and motivated group of volunteers is at the core of saving more lives, more successful adoptions and the reachable possibility of making shelters more humane for the dogs in their care.

While we encourage shelters to embrace the full program we understand that at times it is not realistic.  However, even implementing some of the fundamental concepts will help in creating a more humane and wellness-based shelter environment.

Our goal for the presentation at the Humane Conference 2016 is to unveil to Conference participants all that our program entails.  We expect that shelters will find our program not only provocative, but also attainable.  During the presentation we will look at the program in some detail, share case studies, as well as discuss the requirements for shelter’s participation in Dog T.I.P.