Over the summer of 2012, Austin Pets Alive! hired Mike Kaviani to bring the Playing For Life model to Austin. “Incorporating daily canine play sessions has proven to be a “best bang for the buck” canine enrichment, assessment, training and adoption promotion program…” says founder, Aimee Sadler. “[The dogs] expend excess energy in a healthy and interactive way that counters the common anxiety and frustration caused by life in a noisy, uncomfortable and stressful kennel.”
The large majority of “behavior problems” that our dogs arrive to us with are merely a product of the shelter environment. Through the outlets received in playgroup, most of these dogs’ bad habits either completely disappear or decrease to a much easier level to manage and train.
Daily playgroups are not only a great way for dogs to socialize and learn from each other, but staff members are able to better inform potential adopters of socialization concerns.
Since all dogs are given the opportunity to interact with other dogs in a natural setting, adoption staff can give potential adopters insight into each individual dog’s tendencies with dogs. In addition to being an outlet for energy and stress and a way to assess new dogs, playgroup can drastically improve the quality of life for dogs with poor dog social skills. These dogs can often be taught by their fellow dogs to interact with other dogs in a safer and friendlier way, thus improving their lives and their chances of finding a forever home.
Playgroups happen twice a day, every day, rain or shine. This staple of the dog behavior program has made a significant impact on the number of high energy dogs throughout Central Texas that APA! has not only been able to save, but offer a lifestyle improvement while they are in the shelter.
“And to think that these exciting life saving outcomes revolve around something so simple and natural; let dogs be dogs and allow them to play together.”
-Aimee Sadler, Founder of “Playing for Life”