Dog Humane Society of Southern Arizona

Here at HSSA we are dedicated to improving the relationships between pets and their owners. More specifically, we aim to educate both canine and human alike to understand one another’s needs; ideally resulting in a lifelong bond. The Canine College Program is a jump start to just that.

Today's agenda

Despite the common belief that dogs end up in shelters because they are problematic, the truth is, majority of dogs are brought to shelters because of “people” related problems: financial hardship, lack of time, lifestyle changes (new baby, divorce, moving, marriage), allergies, or other reasons. A large number of our adoptable dogs have already had some obedience training, know basic commands, and are housebroken! However, animal shelters can be an overwhelming environment for dogs; all the new faces, loud sounds, and other dogs can be intimidating.  Canine College helps our pet guests adjust to their new environment, reduce stress, maintain the commands they already know, learn some cool new tricks, and ultimately graduate into a healthy happy life with a new adopted family.

How the program works: The shelter dogs chosen to participate in the program spend some one on one time each day with our specially trained volunteers to help reduce anxiety, socialize properly and learn manners, obedience, to walk nicely on a leash, specialty tricks, and more!

The program is designed to fit each dog’s personality and address individual needs. For example, many dogs already know basic commands but are shy around new people. In Canine College, they would learn to become more confident and outgoing. Dogs that have high energy might jump up on people; in Canine College they would learn how to channel that energy into other activities through positive reinforcement; like sitting for treats instead of jumping, or learning to fetch a tennis ball for exercise.

The overall mission of the Canine College Program

  • Provide mental and physical enrichment to shelter dogs
  • Reduce anxiety and stress for the duration of their stay
  • Build Confidence
  • Increase visibility and adoptability by fine-tuning and showcasing unique personalities, skills, and fun tricks. (Info is displayed on kennel sheets and website)
  • Shorten overall stay at the shelter, and get them adopted faster
  • Strengthen the human & animal bond
  • And build a foundation for a strong secure relationship with new family graduating into a forever home.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Canine College Program, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at 327-6088 x 126.

Special thanks to:

The Meacham Foundation of American Humane Association for honoring the Canine College Program with a grant in 2010.

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