There’s no question about it, guide dogs work hard. They are responsible for someone’s safety and that’s a lot of responsibility for four paws. Guide dog training is also difficult, learning everything they will need to be the best guide they can be.
Staffers in the kennels set about to find ways to take the stress out of kennel life and training for the dogs as they work their way through the program. Southeastern’s new Kennel Enrichment program started small and now is building as the results seen are remarkable.
So you may be asking, “Just what is Kennel Enrichment?” Well, Canine Care Technicians and volunteers take the dogs one-by-one and spend quality time with them doing a variety of activities. The dogs may get a massage in a nice, quiet, lavender-scented room, getting all their kinks worked out. Or they may get to go to the play yard where there are obstacles for them to climb, puzzles to solve, and giant balls to chase — a dog’s dream.
Since Southeastern’s dogs are all working breeds, it is very important to keep them occupied and entertained to ensure they are happy. There are a number of different puzzles, or developmental activities that can help the dogs to sharpen their minds. These puzzles have treats hidden within them and the dog has to figure out how to get at the treat — a number of them have spinning pieces that when turned in the correct manner release a treat. One of the puzzles could even act to slow down a fast eater.
Since Kennel Enrichment started, the staff has noticed that the dogs are more relaxed and the kennel is even quieter — apparently the aroma therapy they are doing has a great calming affect on the dogs.
Another part of Kennel Enrichment includes weekends away — volunteers pick up one of the dogs and take it home for the weekend where the dog can just be a dog and enjoy the comforts of home.
Do you like the idea of spending quality time with our dogs? Contact Volunteer Services and let them know you want to help out with Kennel Enrichment. The dogs are waiting for you to come play!