There can be many reasons people find themselves in an animal shelter, prepared to surrender a dog. Life-changing events occur, homes or jobs are lost, unrealistic expectations come home to roost (yes, dogs do poop in real life!), and on it goes. Animal control officers and animal rescues have heard all the stories. This story begins at a busy county animal shelter in southern California.
My active young dog burst into the room and, seeing us eating, immediately checked herself and lay down. To reward this show of self-control, I tossed a piece of my candy her way.
If you've ever had a rewarding experience volunteering, you know that it's not always clear who benefits more: the person donating their time and services, or the recipient. This is especially true when working with animals. That win-win scenario is exemplified in The Latham Letter article "A New Wrinkle in Animal-Assisted Therapy," written by Lynn Loar, Ph.D., LCSW, President, The Pryor Foundation and Ken White, President, Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA.
A few weeks ago, I gave a short teaching demonstration for a Karen Pryor Academy workshop. The lesson had me teaching students to train their dogs to target to the students' index fingers and then follow the finger. It's a handy behavior that can be used to teach heeling or any number of great tricks. I looked forward to teaching it, as it's one of my favorites.