The Headstart Shelter Dog Training Program is an innovative program designed to address two simple problems most shelters face:
- Dogs the public perceives as “bad” don’t get adopted, and
- The longer they go without being adopted, the worse the behaviour gets.
Our volunteers recognize that these dogs aren’t “bad”; they’re stressed, anxious, frustrated, and confused. Our volunteers use clicker training and positive reinforcement to teach the dogs basic obedience skills many people look for when deciding whether to adopt a dog. Training brings stability into their lives, and decreases the anxiety and stress caused by the constant noise and stimulation. It provides physical and mental exercise, increases adoptability, and helps dogs thrive in their new homes. Training provides an opportunity for positive interaction with humans, and prevents an increase in fearful or aggressive behaviour. By working with these dogs on a regular basis, our volunteers significantly improve their quality of life.