Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Policies re limits if any on socialization and walking of dogs under 6 months

    Posted 03-01-2023 06:00 AM

    Hi, All,

    What is your shelter policy regarding taking young dogs out on walks by volunteers? Would you please share your policy and any resources to support what you do?

    I am volunteering at a county shelter that has many young dogs under 6 months and new puppies soon to populate the adoption floor.  For me, this is asking for trouble for the dogs' adoption potential futures if they are stuck in a kennel for x number of months.

    The current policy at the shelter is that no dog under 6 months can be taken outside except to a cement cage to potty while the room/kennel is cleaned. Like many shelters, there are too many dogs that are staying long term due to not enough adopters, fosters, dog walk volunteers, or other orgs to take them.

    Our environment options are small concrete yards that are disinfected, gravel/dirt yards next to the concrete yards, a fenced parking lot next to the shelter, and an open field along a road next to the shelter. Periodically dogs and puppies break with parvo now and that is the biggest worry I hear of, along with coccidia.

    Thank you for helping out with answers to my question. to make sure we have the best program for the young dogs and for the shelter and staff.



    Augusta Farley

  • 2.  RE: Policies re limits if any on socialization and walking of dogs under 6 months

    Posted 03-01-2023 11:55 AM

    The need to keep puppies isolated till they've had their shots is both realistic and problematic. The shelter I volunteer at has a waiting list of people who are approved for adoption and are hoping for a puppy. Puppies are adopted quickly once they are past the isolation stage.

    In the two years I've volunteered there, I have worked with two sets of  puppies that move into the adoption kennels. Both sets had been quarantined due to parvo outbreak. The least timid were adopted quickly, the most timid took time to adjust, but with focused attention they all came around and found good homes. (I wish I could say the same for their moms. I've been working with one for a few months now - she's beautiful, and very trainable, but she's reactive in her kennel and we haven't had any interest in her.)

    More to your point, there are enrichment activites that can be done in small spaces. I've been focused on working with the longer-term dogs to help them be more adoptable, and it is amazing what can be accomplished in a shelter setting. I do hope to add on work with the puppies, and would love ideas and will share what I learn as I go along. 

    E W
    Potsdam Humane Society

  • 3.  RE: Policies re limits if any on socialization and walking of dogs under 6 months

    Posted 03-06-2023 05:17 AM

    I'd be interested in anything you want to share to help entertain really young puppies under 4 months and those 4 to 6 months. Puppy enrichment is good and maybe what you do covers the range of experiences puppies need to have during the early months to make up for not being in homes and out into the big world.

    My worry is that the older ones (4 to 6 months), which are less likely to quickly get adopted,  should be experiencing different environments that include traffic (the shelter is near a road), neighborhood noises (there is a county yard next door with machinery going full time), and different people (not just staff) to come out of the sheltering experience well balanced. If those were owned pets, many would be walking around neighborhoods and going to classes already.

    Augusta Farley