Shelter Dog Tolerance Testing With Pit Bulls

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Postby maberi » February 22nd, 2010, 9:42 am

I'm wondering if anyone out there that has worked in a shelter environment can share their experiences with how the shelter evaluated pit bulls for their tolerance with other dogs.

I know how I would do this at home but I'm wondering if the same protocol in a shelter environment is safe. You only see these dogs for a few hours per week and although the volunteers try to make it as positive a place as possible for the dogs, it is still a very stressful environment.

I do think it is important to have a good idea of a pit bulls tolerance for other dogs for potential adopters and I also think it can enrich the lives of the dogs staying in the shelter if they can have some time interacting with another dog they get along with.
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Postby tiva » February 22nd, 2010, 9:47 am

Aimee Sadler, the training director at Longmount Humane Society in Colorado, would be a great person to talk with about this. She has done amazing work with socialization and pit bulls in shelters in Longmount (where a lot of pits have been dumped because of Denver's horrid BSL) ... osdtasbatd

Her youtube videos are very interesting, and she's a helpful person.
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Postby airwalk » February 22nd, 2010, 4:40 pm

Matt, I know that at our shelter we first observe. Observe how they respond to people walking by, dogs walking by..noise levels, etc. They we move to taking them outside as other dogs are moving around and observe...then into exercise yards with a dog next door...and observe. We keep all high value toys, etc out of the mix....then if everything and everyone is relaxed, we choose an opposite sex..somewhat low drive(depends on both dogs here)...for an on leash intro and observe.

I'm pretty sure this is similar to home intro...we do some "we're on a walk" with dogs that may show some level of reactivity, but it's not big so we walk around our property with them in relatively close proximity. And observe.

If everything looks good, feels good and your gut says okay...we try the off leash intro. Because of years of experience, we don't often miss. We are, of course, very careful with our bull breeds because as you know, breaking up a fight is no picnic.

We also intro them to the resident cats to see how they do. We have the cats in our lobby and we typically walk the dog into the lobby (a bit more home environment than having cat in cage) and we observe. Depending on our read will determine how close dog gets to cat.

Rarely are dogs with us long enough for any rehab work. If they are dog aggressive, truthfully, we will, depending on the level of reactivity, probably end up euthanizing.
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