I, recently, read an article by Maddie’s Fund that showcased how the Longmont Humane Society, Longmont, CO) put a program in place to address the long-standing issue of what to do with the Stressed, Anxious, Fearful and Shy dogs in their animal shelter. Dog Rescuers have attempted to fill this void when shelters label a dog “un-adoptable” but dog rescues can only do so much.  

In the Maddie’s Fund article, “From Anxious to Adoptable”  (click link to read) it details the program and provides recommendations for other animal shelters who may be interested in implementing such a program.
The “Anxious Dog Program” expands the current, basic foster program to a program that trains approved foster home and removes the dogs from the stressful environment to address the shy, fearful, and stressed dogs at the shelter.

The Program

You might think this program is only dealing with dogs who show aggression or other unfavorable behavior and are dangerous, but many behaviors displayed in an animal shelter deem the dog “un-adoptable” and aren’t dangerous.

*Similar programs might help with:

  • Shy
  • Fearful
  • Stressed (circling kennel, barking, fence fighting, hyperactivity, spinning, or shutdown)
  • Protective Mama or Mama to be
  • Resource Guarding
  • Under Socialized

*Not all behaviors listed above apply to the “Anxious Dog Program” at Longmont Humane Society.*

Fearful dog at animal shelter

Photo Credit: (c) zlikovec www.fotosearch.com

How does the program ensure foster homes are equipped to handle these dogs?

The article says the Longmont Humane uses criteria to approve the dogs for the program and ensures that the approved foster homes have:

  • Completed extensive training
  • Received policies and procedures
  • Agreed to work with the dog to improve behavior
  • Received the physical tools (collars, leashes, etc.) needed to address the behaviors 
Bach Rescue Remedy Flower Essences 20ml

    A Great Solution for Anxious Dogs

A Program like the “Anxious Dog Program” is a Good Idea

I’ve fostered enough fearful, shy and stressed dogs to understand the VALUE of this program to address these common issues. This program addresses the dogs labeled as “un-adoptable” until now and provides a second chance to find them adoptive home. Sometimes it only takes removing them from the shelter environment, other times it takes more.

Foster programs in Animal Shelters are often basic, even to the point of sending adoptable dogs to foster homes. What happens to dogs that aren’t deemed adoptable?  Well, frankly, they don’t leave the shelter alive. One exception to this is when a shelter reaches out to dog rescue groups. Mostly, the dog rescues are asked to take the more challenging dogs (behaviorally and medically) but some animal shelters request rescues to take minor behavior challenges such as shyness and fearfulness.

Anxious dogs in animal shelter

Photo Credit: Fotosearch

The implementation across America of more well thought out programs like the “Anxious Dog Program” in Colorado could address so many issues of overcrowding and killing of shelters dogs who are healthy and just need a little extra effort to become adoptable.

A Program Every Animal Shelter Should Have

Community animal shelters across the country could certainly use a program like the “Anxious Dog Program”. There is a change in practice and philosophy taking place among animal shelters nationwide; it is slow but there are animal shelters like Longmont Humane Society that are implementing programs to help ALL the dogs in need. The more shelters are willing to implement such programs the more we’ll see improvement in the humane treatment of shelter dogs nationwide.

Empty cages at animal shelter

Photo Credit:
(c) martyhaas www.fotosearch.com

Longmont Humane Society implemented this new program with a grant from Maddie’s Fund known as

“Maddie’s Idea Lab”
If you would like to know more about the

“No Kill” Movement
please click: here: http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/

Please notify your local government leaders you want a program like the “Anxious Dog Program” in your community so your animal shelter can have empty kennels and happily adopted dogs!