Monday, September 12, 2011

Animal Farm Foundation Slideshow

PETsMART offered a phone/web based training on Pit Bull Adoption Basics/Training hosted by Kim Wolf of the Animal Farm Foundation.

These are some of the interesting slides shared with the participants.... These are a great resource if you are trying to explain pit bulls to your friends and family.

Kim said...Only 2-10% of a dog's DNA determines his DNA, and yet we are using that very small amount as a predictor of behavior, which is arbirtary and incorrect.
Don't imply more than you know or use terms incorrectly. Example, for a dog to be a bait dog- there has to be an aggressor dog, which is not a good image to conjure in adopters minds about pit bulls. Also, terriers tend to be "tenacious", but "pit bulls type dogs" can be lazy.

Don't imply more than you know- just because a dog barks at all brown dogs, doesn't mean it cannot be in a home with a brown dog. Fact: It is better to transfer ownership and get the dog back through legal channels if something goes wrong, rather than loaning the dog first- which opens you up to liability as a shelter or organization.

Having a separate area or policy for pit bull dogs sets the potential adopters up to think that pit bulls are different. You as the advocate should not create unnecessary fear. We should not assume anything about a dog's behavior from its arbitrary label.
There can be an unlikely match where you least expect it! Take time to get to know the potential homes.
Animal Farm Foundation does not give people a list of what may go wrong because they feel that they cannot list a comprehensive list of "what ifs".  People with children between 5-17 acquire 75% of dogs at any given time, so age-restrictions automatically restrict the adopter pool to 25%.

Advice from AFF to Shelters/Rescue Groups:

1) Place them next to a variety of dogs, don't segregate.
2) Put a friendly pit bull in your lobby as a greeter with a bandana!
3) Teach the dogs parlour tricks (pray, handshake, roll over, blow kisses)
4) Use enrichment toys to keep pits quieter and busier- they will present better to adopters
5) Think of your adopter as a customer-make the environment calm, cool and peaceful
6) Use playgroups to burn energy, learn more about the dog's personality, and engage volunteers
7) Have Rescue Brunches - invite local rescue groups and foster homes to watch play groups to pick dogs based on observation.
8) Some dogs do best with a job (agilty, disc, obedience, police, search and rescue, assistance, therapy)
9) Happiness Sells, Sadness repells. (Adoptions increase when you focus on the human/canine bond.)
10) Take pictures with other dogs or people, create a scene or tell a story, take pictures in front of landmarks or in costumes, even a hand or foot of a person in a picture increases the dog's chances of getting adopted. Take videos!
11) Use adopt me vests
12) Use business Cards
13) Don't forget the bling! (Cute tags, collars, bandanas!)
14) Don't forget the Elder dogs, they can be great additions to homes for years to come
15) Promote your staff that live with pit bulls to show you believe what you are selling
16) Promote your shelter as an "adoption option" rather than individual dogs.


  1. This is a great post! I need to look at it more carefully now that I have a new pittie foster girl--and I'm determined for her not to become another Foster Failure like the last one (whom I still have after a year and a half)!

  2. OK, I looked at it a bit more--what great information! I wish all the rescue groups in my area could see this. The first rescue group I was with kept turning away good adopters for my Fozzie Bear because he was a pit. I suppose it was meant to be, because I really have bonded with him--but at the time it was very frustrating!

    PS I love the story about Fridge!

  3. This is a great post, thank you! I'm forwarding it to my local shelter. Although they are very "pro" pit bull, there are way too many pits spending way too much time there. Hopefully they can use this to inform the public what GREAT dogs they really are. I wouldn't trade mine for anything.


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