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New Model Introduced to Improve Dogs’ Experience in Shelter, Lower Length of Stay
Visitors to the SPCA of Texas will notice a new and exciting kind of dog enrichment in our play yards.
As a critical part of the SPCA of Texas’s commitment to creating environments in our shelters where animals can learn and thrive to help them be at their best for a new family, we welcomed the instructional team for Dogs Playing For Life (DPFL) to the Dallas Animal Care Center and the Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center from November 13-16.
This energetic and dynamic team demonstrated a new way for us to increase dog to dog socialization, provide stimulating mental and physical exercise and relieve stress. Widely praised across the animal welfare world, the program has been shown to both improve the dogs’ experience in shelter as well as outcomes.
The DPFL philosophy is to allow dogs to learn from other dogs and gain more meaningful stimulation from this interaction in large play groups. This play time allows dogs to experience the full range of the Five Freedoms.
The Five Freedoms are internationally accepted standards of care that affirm every living being’s right to humane treatment. They are:
Embracing the Five Freedoms supports the health and welfare of the animals in our care and provides adopters with the best possible insight into their personalities. That ultimately leads to more animals successfully placed in loving homes.
Of course, adopting a standard of holding canine playgroups in a new and more impactful way brings with it a unique set of new opportunities for new procedures. To make this incredible dream a reality, key SPCA of Texas staff and volunteers were not only trained in identifying different play styles dogs tend to engage in and how to best run play groups at this level, but importantly, in how to best facilitate the play groups. The DPFL presenters first provided a half day of classroom training showcasing dozens of videos on what these interactions look like at other shelters. The group then provided three and a half days of hands on, interactive guidance and training to facilitate these groups in our very own play yards.
Dr. Valerie Tynes, Shelter Veterinary Behaviorist for the SPCA of Texas, was on hand to observe the DPFL presentations and will play a key role in integrating them into the standard process in the shelters.
”We are all so excited about the wonderful learning opportunity that DPFL provides us,” Tynes said. “I think the whole team feels much more confident about moving forward with larger play groups. This will allow us to get more dogs out more often and allow them to just be dogs, together! Not only is this enriching for them but it can help them hone their social skills thus making them even more adoptable!”
The SPCA of Texas takes pride in being the premiere animal welfare agency in North Texas and is committed to remaining on the forefront of implementing best in the industry practices. Implementing the DPFL model will take another step in the SPCA of Texas living our mission, to provide every animal exceptional care and a loving home in the strategic pillar of caring for rescued animals.
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