Video FAQs
Q:  I see a lot of smaller dogs in your video.  Can our
     shelter do the same thing with bigger dogs?


A:  Most definitely!  As we write this, SHF has only 12 dogs under 20
     pounds at our facility.  The rest (Dobermans, an American
     Bulldog, and several mixes between 40 and 60 pounds) are all
     bigger dogs.  It matters not if a dog is a Teacup Chihuahua or a
     Great Dane (and we've had a few of those).  Our routine, and the
     dogs' response, is the same.


Q:  You mention treadmilling the dogs.  Do they all get
      treadmilled?


A:  Most of them do, because exercise is one of the keys to a dog's
     balanced behavior & happiness.  The exceptions are older dogs
     with very low energy levels.  SHF's treadmills are in use 3+ hours
     every morning, and most dogs enjoy them for an hour at a time. 
     The dogs walk at a comfortable natural walking pace as singles or,
     in the case of little dogs, in pairs.  No cardio, especially right after
     breakfast. Our goal is to provide focused, relaxed exercise for the
     dogs, not conditioning.  Pack-walking dogs together on side-by-
     side treadmills also reinforces a pack's closeness & stability.


Q:  Are your shelter dogs always this quiet at feeding time?

A:  With just their pack leader there, the dogs rarely make a sound -
      no little whines and never a bark.  Adding a videographer gets
      them a little excited,  but that provides us with the opportunity to
      show how well behaved a shelter dog can be even when his or her
      routine gets changed a bit.  Dogs at SHF learn quickly that calm
      behavior (not boisterous behavior) gets rewarded, so calm
      behavior is what they project.


Q:  Why is a quiet feeding routine important to shelter
      dogs?


A:  Dogs, like little kids, thrive with good routines.  When you're in a
      strange place, there is a lot of security in knowing what comes
      next.  Too, it's always easier to shine when you know what is
      expected of you.  Nobody likes to learn by his or her mistakes. 
      Dogs enter new locations incredibly observant, and they pick up
      routines fast.  When a routine is done in a calm, quiet, confident,
      positive & authoritative manner, dogs lose their apprehension
      about what is coming next and where do they fit in and who will
      provide for their needs and are they safe... and their relaxation
      spreads to the next dog and to the next dog, and to each
      newcomer and so on and so on.


Q:  Is it important to walk the dogs together like this?

A:  Most definitely.  Walking helps to establish pack orientation and
     cohesiveness.


Q:  Can anyone do this?

A:  Actually, no... no more than anyone can teach a group of 25
     kindergarteners.  The best people to be working with shelter dogs
     on a daily basis have certain personality characteristics.  They are
     calm, observant, positive, quiet, confident, patient and assertive
     when they need to be, and they are responsive but not overly
     reactive with the dogs.  They have good posture, and they know
     how to communicate what they want non-verbally.  Dogs are not
     little machines; they respond to & reflect the energy around them.


Q:  How long does it take a dog to pick up on the routine?

A:  Because, at any time, most of the dogs at our shelter are calm &
     well-versed at the routine, new dogs reap the benefits
     immediately.  95% of them have the routine completely down by
     their second or third day, and even the most mistrustful or
     unsocialized dog "gets it" by the fifth day.


Q:  There has got to be more to keeping shelter dogs happy
      in one-to-two-dozen-dog packs than just providing
      exercise and a good morning routine.  What else does
      one need to know?


A:  Understanding how a dog thinks involves understanding the
     concepts of
           * ASSOCIATION,
           * DEFAULT ENERGY,
           * PERSONAL ENERGY,
           * FORWARD MOMENTUM,
           * POSTURE & POSITION, and
           * NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION
     It also involves knowing & following three rules:
           #1 - Reward what you want.
           #2 - Don't reward what you don't want.
           #3 - Don't use verbal energy when non-verbal will work.


Q:  Where does a person learn more?

A:  Call us at 252-422-6770 to be added to our contact list for our
     next Learning "DOG" Conference.  At our conferences, we cover all
     of the above concepts in detail (see those details & comments
     from past Conference participants HERE), plus we teach people
     how to treadmill their dogs.  We discuss de-stressing for dogs &
     their handers, alike.  We also cover the topic of aggression, which
     comes in several forms, none of which are treated the same!
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