WHEN SOMETHING MUST BE DONE: DOGS IN SHELTERS

WARNING SIGNS FOR LOSS OF QUALITY OF LIFE

With long term kenneling (or separation from a "family pack"), it becomes unacceptable to merely provide for the physical health and needs of dogs in shelters or kennels. It is not enough to just hope for more adoptions, as the days pass by and the dogs deteriorate mentally. The behavioral and emotional well-being of the dogs in your care (or that you evaluate for rescue) must be addressed daily. Their mental state at least maintained - and as the animal's shelter goal - improved. Without intervention, the dog will become less and less adoptable and its chances for a longer and longer shelter life with increase.

WARNING SIGNS:

Repetitive Action Behaviors:

  • spinning, circling
  • pacing (slowly or fast)
  • pouncing, bounding and rebounding off kennel walls/doors
  • leaping up and down and up and down

Self-Mutilating Behaviors:

  • excessive licking, lick sores, lick granulomas
  • flank sucking
  • wearing of toenails (from excessive pacing, chewing, digging)

Overall Appearance:

  • inability to gain or maintain proper weight
  • deteriorating coat quality (excessive shedding, dull, dryness, often from lack of petting/handling)
  • pressure sores, heavy calluses
  • dog smears excrement all over kennel walls/doors
  • dog is continually covered in excrement
  • disgusting odor (dog continually reeks of urine and feces)
  • dog remains depressed and shows no signs of adjusting (dog is devastated in shelter, traumatized; usually seen in older, previously pampered dogs)
  • dog seems to have "given up," dog looks hopeless

Repeated displays of aggression:

  • lunging at the bars towards humans (practice makes perfect - dogs are rehearsing for real life)
  • lunging at the bars towards other dogs

Unacceptable standards of care:

  • overcrowding and constant dog-dog fighting or bullying
  • dog gets less than 20 minutes accumulated total of direct, human physical contact daily (petting, stroking, leash-walking, direct play)
  • dog is restricted to indoor kennels and doesn't experience outdoor environment daily
  • dog is restricted to outdoor environment and doesn't experience indoor living environment daily

.....SOMETHING MUST BE DONE....

- These "warning signs" are the result of Sue Sternberg's work & experience as a training and behavioral expert at Rondout Valley Kennels, Inc.[4628 Rt. 209, Accord, NY (914) 687-7619]. These signs of stress can be used in many situations that we encounter in rescue: evaluating a dog at a shelter, after transport, at an owner release. Use in conjunction with the pre-evaluation S.C.A.N. and the Signs of stress

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