The ARL Mod Squad is a select group of experienced volunteers who specialize with training the ARL’s shelter dogs.
Working together as a team, they provide essential support in the Boston adoption center for dogs with a variety of health and behavioral issues, making sure that, even at the busiest times, every dog gets individual enrichment.
The Mod Squad also helps with adoptions – helping with introductions, offering tips and advice to potential adopters – taking photos and now taking videos!
Today we’d like to dedicate “Thank You Thursday” to our Mod Squad. Their latest effort has been working with shelter dog, HALLE BERRY and helping her find a home.
Halle is an active two-year-old dog who knows all her basic cues and is eager to learn. She loves cuddling with people and can be a sweet, couch potato once she has gone out for a nice walk.
Halle has been waiting for a home since November and we hope that someone will choose her soon! The Mod Squad put together this excellent video of Halle, highlighting her knowledge of commands and agility skills. Hopefully, the right person will watch it and fall in love with Halle.
Watch the video below to see Halle’s wonderful personality… and the hard work that the Mod Squad has put in to train her!
He spent almost a year in foster care before he began the long search for that perfect family. A dog who may have seemed hard to love due to his many medical issues and tragic past would need to find the right family and with much patience, he did. Now after almost six months in his new home, Baba Ganoush, aka Hoobie, is sharing his love with everyone he meets.
Read the update from his new mom to see why the love of a rescue dog is all you need:
“When I walked in [to the Dedham shelter] and turned that corner (P1 was the last kennel to the left on the right side), there he was and I was instantly in love. At that moment I just knew. It sounds crazy but I just knew he was meant to be a part of our family. I didn’t care that he had warts, smelly ears, allergies and was old. He was it.
He is so loveable and kind and everyone who meets him just gravitates to him.
People will stop me everywhere to ask to pet him and ask questions about him. He truly has a healing soul. I have many friends who just ask to sit with him for a little bit to make them feel better. He’s also so good with all the small kids in my life.
We call him “Hoobie” as a nick name, I don’t know why. All my pets have their “real” name and then a nickname, so those are his.
He has become a little bit of a hoarder. He steals my clothes and puts them in his bed. He doesn’t eat them of chew on them, I guess he just wants something of mine. If I’m ever missing my favorite sweater or a shoe, it usually is in Hoobie’s bed.
He is very good to his “little” sister, Rory. She gets jealous a lot that he gets a lot of attention especially from guests and he just moves over and makes room for her. He has also taught her how to play again – she stopped playing with toys when she was around two. Now she is right back into it which is really nice. They motivate each other.
We go to this off-leash dog park a lot and he walks right by my side, doesn’t wander at all.
He is truly my buddy. He follows me everywhere, and whimpers for me when he can’t find me. No offense to my husband, but I feel like he is my soul mate, and I think you’d feel a kindred spirit with him too.” – Aimee
If Baba Ganoush makes you want to “spread the love” this Valentines day, visit arlboston.org/spreadthelove to see how you can help shelter pets find this kind of love. After all, doesn’t each and every animal deserve to find a soul mate?
According to Kim Melanson, CPDT-KA Behavior Counselor at the ARL, you and your dog can benefit from training in five ways:
Freedom: A well-behaved dog can have an enriching life by spending more time with his family. He can hang out with visitors, go places with you and join in on family activities. If your dog has learned some basic house and outdoor manners, he will not jump all over guests or bother them too much. He can ride in a car safely, go to a relative’s house and settle, go to the park or the beach for an outing and come back when called.
Bonding: With just a few minutes a day of active training and/or adding some training into every day activities, you and your dog can learn more about each other and have fun. The benefits of positive reinforcement humanetraining are abundant. Both human and dog enjoy the experience as they teach and learn from each other, as well as create a trusting, mutually-enriching, and lasting relationship.
It lets your “dog be a dog”: Dogs like to do natural things that sometimes do not fit well in the human home such as: chewing, jumping, chasing, and digging. Training them in an appropriate way to have their fun lets them to do ‘doggie’ things and lets you join in too, all while making sure they do not disturb the household in a negative way. Train your dog to chew on dog chews and toys instead of shoes and pillows, sit for greetings and attention instead of jumping, playing ‘find it’ with treats and stuff Kongs instead of digging, and retrieving balls with a drop for chasing. Not only will your dog be happier, but you will also have fun!
Burns mental energy and relieves boredom: Positive training promotes thinking in dogs and humans, and a thinking brain can relieve excess energy. A few minutes a day can really help your dog rest well and not seek out destructive ways of burning energy. Teaching tricks is a great activity to do on a rainy day – kids and friends will love seeing your dog do tricks!
Keeps dogs in their ‘forever’ home: Many dogs are surrendered to shelters for behavior problems and or because they have become too much for the owner to handle. A well-trained dog stays in her forever home because she has become part of the family and is a joy to live with. She can also become an ‘ambassador’ for dogs everywhere. There are public places, apartment buildings and areas that are banning dogs, and some people are frightened of dogs. If our dogs are well-behaved in public, people see that we can keep dogs as an integral part of our society and families.
Training obedience cues of sit, down, stay, drop, come and more are great for dogs to learn, but training also means teaching your dog to live in a human household and beyond. House training, learning to settle, go to a mat or crate, to chew appropriate chews, to play appropriate games, to walk on leash and polite greetings for people and dogs are the cornerstones of a well mannered and well liked family dog.
The Animal Rescue League of Boston offers many dog training classes that review basic and advanced cues, along with house and outdoor manners. We also offer some dog sports and fun agility classes. We are offering a 25% discount for ARL alums and 10% off for BVC clients. For more information about our Boston classes check out our schedule.
10 Common Myths About Dog Behavior from Parade Magazine
Parade Magazine recently published an article on the topic of pet behavior – specifically the feelings of guilt. As soon as we saw it, we had to pass the article along to our own dog behavior expert Kim Melanson, CPDT-KA Behavior Counselor, at the ARL to get a second opinion.
Kim loved the article and said it is “right on,” with only one note about Myth 8.
“The only thing I disagree with slightly, and it probably comes from working in a shelter, is Myth 8. Although destroying the house and soiling when left alone can mean separation anxiety, it can also be a bored young pup or adolescent. Most adolescent dogs going home from the shelter will chew things if not crated.”
So while she agrees it’s not out of spite, people should keep in mind that a dog destroying the house could be separation anxiety OR it could just mean that your unsupervised pup is bored!
Take a look at the myths that Parade Magazine debunked and see if any apply to your dog!
Myth 1: When my dog looks guilty, it’s because he feels bad for doing something wrong.
When your pooch puts on that doleful look, he must be guilty of something, right? Wrong! Your dog knows you are angry or upset and is using that body posture to try in dog language to get you to calm down and avoid punishment.
Myth 2. My dog understands me when I talk to him.
While dogs can understand about 500 words and a very talented Border Collie named Chaser can understand thousands, when we talk to our dogs they focus in on a few words, our tone of voice, facial expressions, and our body language.
Myth 3: My new dog of the same breed will be just like my last one.
Just like two children from the same family will be alike in some ways, they can be completely different in others. So while Johnny and Susie both have blue eyes, one might be easy going and the other very stubborn. Two dogs from the same breed can be very different too.
Myth 4: My dog should tolerate anything my children do.
The reality is that young children often do not know how to interact with dogs in a caring considerate manner. Allowing children to sit on dogs, pull on their body, hit them with toys, disturb them while they eat may actually teach children the wrong lessons. Dogs are living, breathing, emotional beings that need to be treated kindly and with respect.
Myth 5: A fenced yard should be entertaining enough.
Our canine friends live in a very rich world of smells and visual input. The back yard is the same day in and day out. What dogs long for is the smell of a new scent, the chance to check out that next bush or tree and see the world. And when out in the yard all alone they can make bad decisions, become extremely territorial and threatening to others, or even become destructive or attempt to escape.
Myth 6: All dogs who are afraid of people have been abused.
While it is unfortunate that many dogs are abused, many dogs that show signs of fear or anxiety around people and places suffer from another problem: limited socialization. If a dog lives in a very restricted environment during their sensitive time of emotional growth (from 8 weeks to 9 months) they may not have the tools to process, interact, and enjoy new experiences as they come along.
Myth 7: Dog training works best if we rely on dominance and punishment.
Just like people, dogs learn best by humane treatment and showing them the right things to do. Dogs are at a disadvantage—they don’t know the rules of living in a human world. They are not out to dominate or control us, but rather don’t really know what is the right thing to do. It is up to us to teach them how to behave using positive training and kindness.
Myth 8: Dogs that destroy the house when home alone are being spiteful.
Dogs that go to the bathroom indoors bark and are destructive when home alone are most likely suffering from separation anxiety. They are unable to relax and be calm when separated from their human family. They need a behavior modification plan, treatment and perhaps medication to learn how to be home alone.
Myth 9: Dogs that growl and bite are mean.
Dogs that growl are trying to tell people that they are uncomfortable and afraid. What they really want is for the threatening thing to go away or stop. By understanding and respecting the message we can teach dogs the proper responses and diminish the need for aggressive responses.
Myth 10: Dogs and wolves are the same.
While dogs and wolves share a common genetic connection, that is where it ends. Dogs have evolved over thousands of years to be partners with humans and interact with naturally in ways that wolves do not even with extensive training. Two great examples: dogs can follow a human’s pointing gesture and often “ask” people for help; wolves do not without specific training.
“Saving one pet won’t change the world, but for that one pet the world will change forever.”
If you’re the parent of a rescue pet, you know the advantages of adopting from a shelter are infinite. For those of you considering adopting from a shelter, we’d like to give you some more food for thought!
When you adopt an animal from a shelter, you’re saving two lives: the life of the animal that you adopted and the life of the animal that’s going to take its place at the shelter. Search the adoptable animals at all three of the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) locations at arlboston.org/search-adoptables.
A 7-year-old neutered Poodle/Pekingnese mix, lil’ Max loves to sit in laps, play fetch, and spend time with human friends. Gotta love his smile!
Interestingly, you don’t always have to go to a breeder for a purebred pet. Studies have shown that over 25% of pets available for adoption at shelters are purebred. There are also numerous rescue groups that focus on a specific dog or cat breed.
At the ARL shelters, we have a variety of breeds, mixes, hair-lengths, and colors – every day we have a little something different! Our furry canine friend Max (photo at top right), for instance, is a Poodle/Pekingnese mix currently staying at our Boston shelter. Fond of orange cats? Tommy (photo at bottom right) could be your perfect match.
Our investment in the animals in our care includes learning their personalities and preferences, so that we can help you find the perfect match for your home and lifestyle. For our dogs, we use the ARL’s Center for Shelter Dogs Match-Up II Shelter Rehoming program to thoroughly evaluate each dog and provide a fuller description of behavior.
A 4-year-old neutered male, Tommy is oh so handsome and oh so full of energy!
All adoptable animals at the ARL receive the following:
Health screening and veterinary examination
Rabies vaccination for dogs, cats and ferrets
Microchip identification and registration
Heartworm test and preventative medication for dogs
Flea, tick and mite treatment
Deworming for intestinal parasites
Tag, collar, and leash or carrier
When you buy from a pet store or a breeder these cost are all additional expenses on top of the cost of the pet.
Winter storm reading that will help you keep pets happy and healthy
Many of us will look forward to spending some extra time with our pet companions tonight as we watch the snow fall outside. With the coldest weeks of winter–and likely more snowfall–still ahead, why not spend some of that time boning up on winter pet health and safety tips!
The ARL recommends making five seasonal adjustments to your daily routines to keep pets happy and healthy during cold snaps and winter storms:
Winterize outdoor accommodations. If pets must stay outdoors, ensure he or she has adequate protection against the elements. Veterinary experts agree a winter-friendly shelter should have three enclosed sides, stand off the ground, and contain generous amounts of bedding such as clean straw or hay.
Watch the thermometer. Like other New Englanders, many of our pets are conditioned to the cold weather. Yet even for the winter-experienced animals, bring outdoor pets indoors if the temperature drops below 20 degrees. Puppies, kittens, and short-haired pets should come indoors when the thermometer drops below 40 degrees.
Check underneath the hood. Cats love to warm up underneath cars and car hoods, leading to burns and other grave injuries when the car gets turned on suddenly. Make a habit to pound on the hood of the car and give a visual check underneath your vehicle before you start it to make sure no one is taking a nap or basking in the heat from the engine.
Stay alert around the fire. Just like people, when they’re cold, pets gravitate to the heat. If you have a fire in your fire place or wood stove, or turn on the space heater, make sure to pay attention to how close your pet gets to hot surfaces and areas to avoid serious burns.
Pay attention to grooming and senior pet health. A pet with a matted coat cannot keep him or herself warm! Long-haired pets, especially during heavy periods of shedding, need extra help maintaining a healthy coat. Senior pets also can have more pain from arthritis in the cold, so check with your veterinarian for suggestions for keeping your pet content.
The Boston Globe is enabling readers to show their support for their favorite non-profits by choosing which ones are given free advertising space in The Boston Globe. If you choose the Animal Rescue League, please know that you’ll be encouraging shelter animals to find loving homes faster and helping the ARL get the word out about important initiatives like spay and neuter through the free advertising provided in the Globe.
The Boston Globe is mailing vouchers to each of their subscribers. Seven-day newspaper subscribers’ vouchers are valued at $100; all other subscribers (including website-only readers) have been sent vouchers valued at $50.
It is up to the readers to decide which non-profit deserves his or her voucher the most. This is an easy way for you to help animals in need, so when you get that silver envelope in the mail, please write in the Animal Rescue League of Boston.
Spay Waggin’: Subsidized Pet Spay/Neuter for Clients with Financial Need
If your beloved pet is not spayed or neutered please make it your new year’s resolution to have your pet “fixed” this year.
“Millions of cats and dogs are brought to U.S. shelters each year. Often these animals are the offspring of cherished family pets. Spay/neuter is a proven way to reduce pet overpopulation, ensuring that every pet has a family to love them” – Humane Society of the United States.
Worried about the costs? You CAN afford to spay or neuter your pet.Spay Waggin’ is a subsidized spay/neuter program created by the Animal Rescue League of Boston to assist clients with financial need.
Staffed by an ARL veterinarian and two trained veterinary technicians, the Spay Waggin’ features a preparation area, a fully equipped surgical suite and a recovery ward, so your pet is comfortable and safe while in our care.
The Spay Waggin’ makes monthly scheduled stops throughout the South Shore and the Cape to perform surgeries on an appointment-only basis.
The January Spay Waggin’ Schedule is listed below. Please call please call 1-877-590-SPAY(7729) or book online (cats only) and make an appointment for your pet today!