Shelter dogs to get behavior lessons before adoption


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – If you’ve ever adopted a dog you’ve probably been a little iffy about their behavior.

Thanks to a group of volunteers at the Little Rock Animal Village staff carefully check all dogs’ behavior before they are adopted out. The volunteers hope that this process will help the dogs’ find a home easier.

Every year thousands of dogs end up at the Little Rock Animal Village. Some are surrendered by owners while others are picked up off the street.

“Some of these dogs have just been pinned up in the back yard and they haven’t had human interaction and defiantly haven’t had children interaction or other animal interaction,” said Toni Laux, a volunteer behavior assessor.

Laux says whenever a dog ends up at a shelter it is hard to know their history.

“The family comes in and they decide they really really like the dog and they take it home and then the dog bites the child and now that dog is under a protective custody warrant and more than likely be put to sleep,” Laux said.

The Canine Behavior Assessment Team is trying to change the numbers of dogs’ being put down.

“Once we identify if they are food aggressive or toy aggressive or need human touch than we can work on those behaviors,” Laux said.

All tests are recorded and use a number of tools to test how the dog reacts to humans and other pets.

“Give me that and he lets me take the bone.”

There are two assessors in the room at all times, one testing and the other taking notes.

“No response with ears”, one assessor says to the other.

They check all behaviors, even the dreaded tail grab that little kids love to do. This is all to make sure your pet is ready for home life.

“It gives you a little more of assurance that you are not going to get that dog home and suddenly have an issue with you touching their food or taking a toy from them, things that you could see if you were meeting them at the shelter,” said Betsy Robb, a friend of the Little Rock Animal Village.

Without these test that the volunteers are doing, none of this could be done.

The volunteers continue to work with the dogs’ until they pass their behavior test. The test must be passed before the dog can be adopted.

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