• All Mobile SPCA dogs must be kept on the leash at all times unless the kennel staff tells you they can go off leash in the forest. Only take the leash off after the gate is closed behind you.
• Please place your hand through the loop on the leash and keep our dogs on a short leash. Retractable leashes are not to be used on shelter dogs (this type of leash encourages the dogs to pull). In addition, it is easy for a dog to become excited and accidently rip a leash out or your hand no matter how cautious you are, and there is no guarantee that a retractable leash will lock in place properly or not break.
• Do not let other people, children, or other dogs play with or pet the dog you are walking.
• Never take anything (bones, food, garbage, etc.) out of our dogs’ mouths. We will deal with it when you bring the dog back inside.
• Never tie the MSPCA dog you are walking or leave them unattended for ANY reason.
• The best way for your dog to avoid a fight is to keep your dog away from other dogs unless you are specifically told two dogs can mingle. If there is a fight, pull your dog back, do not put your hand in the fight to grab the dog’s collar
• Always take a poop bag with you. You do not have to pick up poop in the forest but you need to pick it up in the parking lot.
• If a dog gets away from you, do not chase it! First alert the kennel staff. Squat down and call the dog’s name and it should come back to you. If you chase them, they think it’s a game and will keep running away.
• Take the dog for a 15 to 20-minute walk, or as directed. If your dog seems tired or hot, take him back inside the adoption center.
• Other than teaching a dog to walk on a leash and to not jump up, do not try to “train” the dogs, as it will only confuse them.
• Do not, under any circumstance, let the shelter dog pull you across the parking lot and do not pull the dog. See the “Leash-Pulling” section below.
• Do not let the shelter dog jump up on you. This behavior can be annoying and even dangerous. A large or even medium-sized dog can accidentally knock over an adult or child. See “Strategies for dealing with a jumpy dog” below.
• When your walk is finished, please bring your dog back to the adoption center for a staff member to put the dog away.
• Don’t assume because the dog is small that it likes to be picked up.
• When working with a dog, be aware you are always communicating to the dog with your body, expressions and voice. Use a calm, assertive voice when wanting dogs to respond, yelling is not necessary, use ample praise and petting to reinforce good behaviors. NEVER hit or use a loud voice with any dog. A dog that is especially hard to handle may not be in your comfort range and you may want to select one more appropriate for your experience level.
• Walk only one dog at a time. The shelter dogs benefit from the one-on-one attention that they will receive during your visit. Plus they receive plenty of dog-to-dog interaction with the other dogs at the shelter.
• Keep your voice tone upbeat! Dogs respond not only to what you say but HOW you say it.
Strategies for dealing with a jumpy dog
• Ignore the dog. Turn your body away and avert your eyes. Do not talk, yell, scream or laugh.
• Reward the dog when it is not jumping up.
• Withdraw your attention if the dog jumps again. Most dogs will figure out quickly that they ONLY get your attention when all four feet are on the floor.
• Do not allow the dog to jump on other people. Often, people will say “oh, it’s okay” or “my dog does this, too.” If the dog is on leash, keep him/her at a distance that does not allow him/her to jump up.
• Leash-pulling is a behavior that needs to be corrected because dogs who pull on the leash are not fun to walk. A medium or large size dog can pull a person down.
• Dogs must be walked with a Martingale leash or collar. No exceptions.
• When the dog pulls on the lead, stop walking. Do not allow the dog to pull you. Call the dog to you by using the dog’s name and the “come” request and then begin walking again when the dog responds. Stop each time the dog pulls. Begin walking when he/she is relaxed and not straining at the end of the leash.
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