Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  marketing reactive dogs for adoption?

    Posted 05-06-2022 01:38 PM
    I volunteer with a foster-based rescue that has several reactive dogs.  We do not have a facility. 

    We can't take these dogs to adoption events, and even taking them on walks in an "adopt me" bandana is iffy.  We try to share photos and videos of them on social media, but nothing seems to grab adopters quite as much as seeing them in person.

    Hoping some of you might have some other tips for ways to help get these dogs seen?  They are sweet dogs, as long as there isn't another dog in their sightlines.  People seem to get scared off when they hear "no other dogs" or "reactivity". 

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    kristin gee
    foster coordinator

  • 2.  RE: marketing reactive dogs for adoption?

    Posted 05-06-2022 11:27 PM
    Hi Kristin,

    Do you have a trainer that you work with, or could you perhaps contact one and see if they would be willing to offer a rescue discount or do pro bono work in exchange for free Facebook and website marketing?  Offering to video the reactive dogs progress through training might be a very attractive offer, too.  We have one that we've combined anti-anxiety medication with training and the result is a transformed dog! He is still a work in progress, but the initial results have been quite impressive.

    Lisa Schultz
    Somerset-Pulaski County Humane Society

  • 3.  RE: marketing reactive dogs for adoption?

    Posted 05-07-2022 05:36 AM
    That's a great idea - we do work with a trainer, but some of the fosters aren't great about attending classes.  It's also tough for them to attend group classes when their dog is reactive.  I'm pushing for more solo classes for these dogs.  

    The idea of documenting a session is great - that would be good for the trainer to use for her website, and we'd have a 'virtual lesson' to share with other fosters.

    kristin gee
    foster coordinator

  • 4.  RE: marketing reactive dogs for adoption?

    Posted 05-09-2022 07:44 AM
    We do a weekly Pet of the Week in a local newspaper and that seems to really help get the word out on some of our more difficult or long-term residents. We also utilize the local radio stations too for more marketing. 

    I love the idea of documenting a session as well! We do a lot on social and are always showcasing the good qualities our pets have, which has also been really effective.

    Erin Ellis
    Community Engagement Director
    Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe

    Foster Program & Volunteer Management Specialist

  • 5.  RE: marketing reactive dogs for adoption?

    Posted 05-27-2022 01:45 PM

    For larger reactive dogs who aren't too reactive (the ones who are equally happy to follow the lead of calm, confident humans when they're around), we tie them to the basket of an adult trike that we take to adoptathons. The trike ensures that these dogs aren't approached head-on by people or dogs that make them uneasy, and it gives us a wonderful tool that can get them moving (not only to exercise them around the parking lot and show off their skills, but even more importantly, to move them psychologically into better moments when they're reacting negatively to things, animals, people and events not really worth the tizzy).

    For smaller reactive dogs, we give them little ways to "show off" and be rewarded, such as sitting on a face cloth or hopping up on a small platform as substitute behaviors to getting reactive. It really helps turn these little guys around and give them confidence.

    In both cases, these dogs wear vests that request a little extra personal space from everyone, like these:

    The most important thing to know when working with reactive dogs is this: their reactivity is situational. Change certain aspects of the situation, and you set everyone up for success instead of failure. React negatively (as opposed to calmly and matter-of-factly) to a dog's reactivity, and he is calling all the shots and you are the one who is following his lead.

    I'm presently working on the sound edits for the presentation, "K9 Behavior SKILL-building: Turning Reactive! into Relaxed." I'll let you know when it is finished and uploaded to YouTube.  In the meantime, the book mentioned on the website may be of help to you.


    Lynne Swanson
    Safe Harbor Farm K9