Rehabilitating Dogs

Where do your dogs come from?
Nearly dogs come from local authority pounds, those dogs that have not been reclaimed by an owner after serving the statutory seven day period. The remainder are left to us as part of our SOS scheme to help dogs who’s owners have died. On occasions, should we have capacity we do take dogs from other charities but unfortunately we do not take unwanted dogs from the general public.

Where do they go?
Over half of our dogs go into normal domestic situations, bringing a little sunshine and joy to their owners lives. A percentage of the remaining dogs go into homes to specifically help people to become more active, healthier or to recover from illness. Each year a number are gifted for assistance dogs to families that need them and ocasionaly a dog goes to the service sector for training in scent or defense.

Getting an animal ready for rehoming
When a dog is brought to us, it is because it was found as a stray, we make sure that they all receive essential healthcare and assessments before they are made available for rehoming. By finding out as much as we can about each dog, we are then able to provide as much information as possible about their likes and dislikes and their individual needs, to potential new homes.

Health checks
All dogs are wormed, flea treated, and vaccinated at the home. All new arrivals are seen by our Vet on a Monday or Wednesday and are given a health check. If the animal requires any treatment for a health condition it will be started straight away. All animals are weighed on arrival and their weight is monitored throughout their stay. Diet is really important for dogs and we tailor the food to the individual’s need. Olga is having a final groom before she heads of to her forever home.

Behavioural assessments
Dogs are assessed for their reactions to other dogs, how they are around food or toys, what motivates them in training (i.e. food or toys), what commands they already know, how they travel in a car, whether their behaviour is the same off-site and how they are with a variety of people. Of course, it can be unsettling for a dog to be in a kennel environment so we may not see their true personality here, but we are able to advise on what we have seen.

They are assessed for how they enjoy interaction with people, how they like to play, whether they enjoy grooming and what their likes and dislikes are. We also assess for their ideal home – whether that would be with children or adults only, with other cats / pets. Although it is difficult to get a full understanding of their preferences we can get some ideas from our observations.

Training and socialisation.
When we assess the dog behaviour, we are looking for things we can work on to help them fit into a new home. We will work on a dog’s manners when walking on a lead and their recall for example. For shy dogs we will gradually introduce them to different people in different situations to help them to start to trust a variety of people. We use only positive reinforcement and will explain the training we have done so new owners are able to carry on with this once their pet is home.

Enrichment – You don’t have to be rich to enrich!
Imagine a day on your own with no company or conversation, no TV, books or magazines, radio or mobile phone or computer and only able to leave the house if someone takes you. Sadly, that’s the life of some dogs.

A walk for a dog is the equivalent of our conversation with friends, chatting on ‘facebook’ and the X-Box all rolled into one. A quick five minutes around the block once a day is hardly exhilarating. Exercise is just one essential activity for a dog.

A cheap interactive toy for your dog is an ‘activity box’. All you need is some dog toys and treats and an old cardboard box. Cut holes in the box and poke some treats and toys through the sides. Encourage your dog to investigate the treats and toys.

We also use tuna trailing to get the dogs’ noses working, we have sandpits and paddling pools and interactive food toys such as treat balls and Kongs to make feeding time more fun (both available to buy from LAA reception). Our staff are trained in TTouch which can help dogs relax and become more focused.

We owe it to our pets to provide them with an opportunity to be happy and healthy and live a life that meets their needs and not just our own….so get creative!

Talks and Presentations
We are able to offer talks to school, college and social groups (such as Women’s Institute and Brownies / Guides), for a donation towards our work.
If you are interested in arranging a talk or tour please get in touch.