Now and then a dog will get overlooked at our shelter for one reason or another.
Brenna a cute and chubby black chow mix is one of those dogs. She is a sweet girl who has been waiting for her forever family to come by to meet her for quite some time now.
During Brenna’s stay with us we have been working on her training. At Nevins Farm we use only positive reinforcement training on all of our animals. What is positive reinforcement training? Basically, it’s working with an animal to capture the good behaviors that they offer and reward ( give them a tasty treat) for those. That way we are able to teach Brenna in this case what are behaviors that we want to see repeated like loose leash walking, sit, come, quiet etc. To pinpoint what behaviors we are rewarding Brenna for we use a clicker. The nice thing about clicker training is that it’s very easy to the adopter to continue once the dog goes home and since it’s all positive it really helps the dog bond quickly with their new owners.
I’m sure you have heard me mention our great team of volunteers called our Behavior MOD Squad in some of my previous blogs. If not, they are a small group of highly trained and dedicated volunteers that work hard with our adoptable dogs to make their stay at Nevins truly a learning experience by capturing the dogs positive behaviors and building on them. The Behavior MOD Squad has been working with Brenna since her arrival at our shelter in March. Over that time not only have they helped shape her into truly an amazing dog but they have also formed some wonderful bonds with her as well.
Below is a write up from a Mod Squad Member Loretta about what it’s like to take Brenna out for one of her walks.
Each time I visit the shelter, my immediate thoughts turn to Brenna. She is always the first dog I go to see and take for a walk. I somehow feel like she knows I'm there and we can't wait to see each other. She is the kind of dog who makes you smile. She is always perky and so excited to see me. She makes me feel good. I always ask her sit politely at her door when I arrive to take her out. When I enter she immediately goes to find a toy to take on the walk with her. She likes to carry a toy in her mouth when she walks. She runs around her room as though she can't decide which toy she wants to take out with her that day! Then I point to her sitting chair and she jumps up and sits while I get her dressed in her harness and put on her leash.
Once outside she will often automatically start walking up to the large play area where she can run and play fetch off leash. She loves playing fetch and she is good at it - always returning with the ball or toy for another throw from me. Another of her favorite places to go is the agility ring. She loves to climb on the equipment and go through the hoops and obstacles. She even goes on the see-saw which makes a big noise that can be concerning to many dogs. Brenna is confident and comfortable and shows no reservation about trying new things. She smiles ear to ear as she runs, jumps and plays. She is a joy to watch!
After a good play session Brenna likes to take a leisurely walk around the grounds and do some clicker training for walking nicely and keeping her 4 paws on the floor instead of jumping. We often stop at the stone benches in front of the shelter to rest. She jumps up on the benches and sits next to me and just likes to watch all the visitors and dogs walking around.
Upon returning to the shelter we will often stop and pick out some new toys in the dog toy bins. Brenna is a toy-a-holic and has quite a collection of toys in her room. She even has her own toy box! Back in her room, we play with her new toys and I fluff up her bed for her. I will often sit in the chair and do clicker training for sits, downs and "giving paw". Brenna is always up for training - eager and motivated.
She never fusses about the end of our visit. She is content to relax and chew her favorite bone or treat. When I go back and peek in on her later, she is always resting or napping comfortably.
Check out Brenna’s Petfinder page for more on what kind of home we are looking for this funny girl!