Shelter Volunteer - Second Chance Humane Society

Shelter Volunteer
(Dog Walker)
177 County Road 10 /P.O. Box 2096, Ridgway, CO 81432 | (p) 970.626.2273 | (f) 888.751.0520
Thank you for volunteering with Second Chance Humane Society! We greatly depend on our
volunteers to provide additional socialization, training, nurture, etc, to our homeless pets. This
greatly reduces the length of time before they are adopted as it reduces their stress, boosts
their immune system, and makes them overall more adoptable.
Second Chance Humane Society relies on its volunteers to be dependable and effective during
their volunteer hours. By meeting these commitments, the program operates smoothly and the
maximum benefit is derived for the animals.
Please observe these general guidelines for the safety of you and the pets:
1. All volunteers must complete an application and have a signed current liability waiver
(within one year) for yourself and any family members that visit the shelter. All
volunteers will need to complete a general volunteer orientation within 3 months of
their volunteer start date and will need to complete the dog/cat volunteer orientation.
2. All shelter volunteers must abide by the policies and guidelines.
When you can be at the shelter:
Volunteers who are interested in working with the animals are welcome at
the shelter Monday through Sunday during the hours of 9am until 15
minutes prior to closing time for the public. Holidays that the shelter is
closed to the general public are also closed to volunteers, unless special
arrangements can be made in advance with the Shelter Manager. Socializing
with the animals after hours when the shelter is closed also must be cleared
with either the Shelter Manager in advance.
Volunteer Sign‐In/Out
Whenever you visit the shelter to volunteer (even if it is just for a few
minutes), please make sure to record your time in and out in the three ring
binder labeled “Volunteer Log Book.” You will also want to pick up a
volunteer badge. The volunteer badge should be visible and must be worn at
all times. At the end of your volunteer shift, please sign out and return the
volunteer badge.
Use of the Angel Ridge Ranch Property:
Please live your personal pets at home. The property is to be used for
walking shelter dogs and unfamiliar dogs cause stress and distractions to the
shelter animals.
Please park in the spaces on the left as you drive in (leaving a few spaces closest to the house
open for customer parking). Please do not park on the grass or immediately in front of the
trash dumpster.
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Personal Belongings
We recommend that during your volunteer time at the shelter that you lock your personal
belongings and valuables in your car since we do not have a way to secure them for you.
Volunteers can use the wall coat rack located near the public restroom. Please do not lay your
coats/personal items on the stairs, kitchen counter or the bistro table (we want to keep this
area clean and presentable while visitors are at the shelter).
Please note we are not
responsible for any items that may be lost or stolen.
Children at the Shelter
Children under 16 years of age will need to have a parent/guardian present while volunteering.
All volunteers must be at least 18 years of age in order to walk a shelter dog. All children must
be at least 10 years of age and old enough/mature enough to be able to maintain proper
procedure concerning:
• Cross contamination of cat cages,
• Observation of warning, either verbal or written, regarding any animal that
might be un-socialized with children or volunteers in general.
• Maintain appropriate behavior (no yelling, screaming or crying) while in the
The parent/guardian is responsible for the following:
The parent will ensure that the child observes all policies outlined in the
provided volunteer manuals. It is the parent’s responsibility to correct the child
if they are not following outlined policies and procedures.
The parent must supervise the child at all times while in the shelter. The parent
must be in the same area of the shelter or within arms reach (for example, a
child should not be left alone in the communal cat area while the parent is
visiting with a cat in the main adoption area).
The parent will not leave the child unattended for any reason while volunteering
at the shelter.
The parent must be able to monitor and help the child if needed at all times.
The parent must make sure that the child does not interact with animals that are
showing signs of discomfort or stress. Please note that not all animals are going
to interact well with children (in some cases we don’t know how an animal may
react around children).
The parent will ensure that the child does not remove or play with items in the
retail area.
The parent will not allow any child less than 18 years of age to walk a shelter
Smoking Areas
Second Chance Humane Society is a smoke free facility. Please do not smoke in or
around the buildings (including the parking lot). In addition, no volunteer should smoke
while handling/walking any of the animals.
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“When in Rome Do as the Romans Do”
It is important to understand that there are many different ways to train, handle or
care for animals. Often times you will find many individuals will have different views
on how things should be done. The Humane Society has found that the most
important thing for our animals and our organization is that we are CONSISTENT in
everything that we do (from our policies to the way we handle the animals). With
that being said…by agreeing to volunteer at the Second Chance Humane Society you
are agreeing to adhere to and abide to our rules and regulations at all times. Don’t
forget the saying...”When in Rome Do as the Romans Do!!”
Second Chance Humane Society reserves the right to terminate a volunteer’s status as a result
of the following:
 Failure to comply with organizational policies, rules, and other regulations.
 Unsatisfactory attitude, work, or appearance.
 Any other circumstances which, in the judgment of the shelter staff would make my
continued service as a volunteer contrary to the best interest of Second Chance Humane
Dress Code at the Animal Center:
We suggest you wear jeans or casual pants and non-skid, rubber-soled shoes with a back or
heel strap.
For reasons of safety, the following items may NOT be worn while volunteering:
• Slip-on or open-toed shoes (flip-flops, clogs, etc.)
• Hoop earrings and long necklaces, as these can be caught by an animal’s paw causing
damage or injury to you or the animals that you are handling.
• No offensive clothing including abrasive words or images, or clothing that is
inappropriately revealing.
Off-limit Areas:
Certain areas of the shelter will be off-limits to volunteers. These are designated off-limits to
protect you, the animals, and the shelter. Entry into such areas will be by authorization only
should the need arise. These areas include:
• The cat intake and cat isolation rooms located upstairs in the house.
• The kennel/barn area and outdoor runs are closed to volunteers. A staff member will be
happy to assist you as needed (see more information under the general guidelines
• Please do not interact with animals that have just arrived, are in the process of being
surrendered to the shelter or are located in the outside kennels (not all of the dogs
housed in the kennels are available for adoption). Often times these animals are
stressed or we may have not had a chance to evaluate the animal’s health or
temperament. It is important for us to make sure that the animal is not sick and is safe
to handle prior to having them interact with volunteers.
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Accident Prevention and Reporting
Second Chance Humane Society strives to provide a safe, hazard free workplace. Accidents do
happen, but with training, forethought, attention to detail, and personal responsibility for
keeping areas hazard free, we can greatly reduce the number of accidents in our shelter.
Accident prevention is everyone’s job. If you see a safety hazard (such as urine in the aisle way,
spilled kibble, etc…) please address it immediately. If you don’t know what to do, or if you are
unsure if it is a safety hazard, please talk to a staff member right away.
All volunteer accidents, injuries, illnesses, and near-misses must be reported immediately to the
supervisor on duty.
Bite Prevention and Reporting:
Preventing bites is not only important to your health and well-being, but to the animal’s as well.
Animals that have bitten must be evaluated and may need to be euthanized. Most adopters will
not consider an animal with a “bite history” and many rescues will not accept them. Even so,
every animal bite must be reported to staff as soon as it occurs; so it is in everyone’s best
interest to avoid bites altogether. Do not put yourself in a compromising situation! Practice
safe animal handling and disease control at all times.
Remember animals are all individuals, and like us they react differently to stimulus, so please
use good judgment. Please keep in mind that all animals can be the ‘exception’ to the rule, so
please take your time, use your common sense, and use this outline as a guide to help you
‘communicate’ with the animals entrusted to our care.
The most important thing to remember is that it does NO ONE any good if you get bitten. A
volunteer should never approach an animal that is displaying signs of fear or aggression. If an
animal displaying these signals needs to be handled (such as to be seen by the veterinarian,
etc.), it should be by a Second Chance Humane Society staff member only, not a volunteer.
Accidents DO happen. Volunteers should immediately back off if they notice any signs of fear
or aggression. Despite the pain that a bite would cause you, it is also unfair to the animal if he
has been pushed into a situation where he felt he had to bite to defend himself. Animals
usually need several days to adjust to being in a shelter environment, and even once they do
adjust, they might react to things differently in this stressful environment than they would
ordinarily. It is much better to back off and let the animal chill out than to force your
attentions, elicit a bite, and cause that animal to be quarantined for 10 days.
Second Chance Humane Society cannot be held responsible for any cost associated with the
treatment of injuries incurred by our volunteers.
Adopting an Animal
Volunteers may adopt animals from the shelter. Adoption is contingent upon the volunteer
meeting Second Chance Humane Society’s adoption guidelines and payment of all applicable
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While we encourage you to tell your friends and neighbors about the wonderful pets we have
available for adoption, we cannot “hold” a pet for anyone. Animals that have just arrived or
who are not yet ready for adoption should not be discussed with individuals outside of the
organization. We do a behavior assessment and health evaluation prior to placing the animals
up for adoption.
Professional Conduct
When dealing with customers, you must always be polite, courteous, and helpful. If you are
asked a question to which you do not know the answer, please find a staff member for
Any information pertaining to records and cases to which you may become privileged, including
but not limited to names, addresses, phone numbers, details of cruelty cases, is confidential
and may not be discussed with others or removed from the shelter. This includes the personal
information of adopters. Volunteers are specifically prohibited from discussing any aspect of
records with any representative of the media, as this is the sole responsibility of Second Chance
The Public & the Dogs:
If you are approached by a potential adopter while out walking a dog, please do not allow them
to handle the dog. Return with the adopter to the shelter and find a staff member to assist
them. A staff member will quickly learn what type of dog will be a good fit for the adopter and
ensure that the dog they are interested in will work for them. For example, you would not want
to allow a family with a small child to walk a dog that has an age limit.
Please do not allow a dog to jump on people while they are out being walked. This does not
make for a good first impression with a potential adopter and can lead to bad habits.
Reporting Medical Issues:
You can help the animals in our shelter by being an extra pair of eyes and ears. If you see
something that might need medical attention (diarrhea, bloody stool, limping, abnormal
behavior) or hear something (coughing, sneezing) let us know according to the procedure
described below.
Addressing health problems immediately is essential to the overall health
of the hundreds of animals in our care. The sooner we can isolate and
treat a sick dog the better it is for that dog and the more likely we are to
prevent other dogs from catching something!
The Humane Society has a protocol in place to respond to the health needs of our animals.
Chances are good that we already know about the problem and that steps have been taken to
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address it, but we would rather hear it twice than not at all. If you notice a problem and are not
sure whether or not we are aware of it, let a staff member or supervisor know immediately.
Preventing Illness in Shelter:
The animals that enter our shelter come from all types of situations. Sadly, too many have not
been provided with adequate veterinary care. Some animals are sick or “break” with an illness
after arriving. We take every precaution to protect our animals, and we need you to be
cautious as well. Here are some ways you can help:
Reduce stress by providing regular exercise, socialization, and “down time”.
Avoid playing with the same toys or using the same brush on more than one animal.
Wash hands thoroughly between handling each animal so as not to pass germs.
Get in the habit of doing a quick visual scan for illness BEFORE you touch any animal.
If you hear or observe any unusual behavior or signs of illness do not touch the animal
or return the animal to its cage/kennel. Then inform a staff member immediately.
Symptoms of illness are listed below:
o Nasal discharge (mucous colored not clear) o Lethargy
o Unusual hair loss
o Irritated eyes (discharge or redness)
o Parasites (fleas or ticks)
o Sneezing or Coughing
o Unusual stool (diarrhea, bloody)
o Congestion
o Vomiting
Canine Behavior Assessment and Color Codes:
Our goal is to find permanent homes for our canine friends by using the information provided
by the applicant to determine which dog will be most suitable for their lifestyle. Finding the
right fit for an adopter should be based on the personality, temperament and physical/breed
requirements of the animal instead of the animal’s breed or color. Prior to adoption we
thoroughly check’s each animal’s health, and evaluate personalities; we make no guarantees as
to the temperament or health of the adopted animals.
A color system is used by the volunteers when walking the dogs. See the chart below for an
explanation of the color codes.
Handled By:
Red Volunteers or Staff Only
Yellow Volunteers
Green Volunteers
• Extremely difficult to handle
• Not available for adoption
• May not be spayed/neutered
• In Medical Treatment
• Bite quarantine
• These dogs need a handler who has
previous handling experience.
• These dogs are great for first time dog
owners or for people without a lot of
previous handling experience.
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Second Chance Humane Society greatly appreciates any volunteers that are able to walk the
dogs. Dog walking provides great emotional and physical relief to a dog that is temporarily
residing in the shelter. It allows them to be happier, more socialized, and more adoptable. We
do want you and the dog(s) to be safe and request you follow the guidelines below:
General guidelines to follow:
• When first arriving please come to the front door of the blue house. Inside you will
want to check in with a staff member to make sure that they know you are there to walk
the dogs. The sign in book is located around the corner as you walk into the kitchen.
You will also want to make sure to grab a “walking bag”. This bag will have items you
will need during your walk (treats, poop bags, an extra leash and the radio).
Given our current “temporary” kennel/barn set up volunteers are asked to not go into
the barn or to approach the dogs in the outside kennels unless accompanied by a staff
member. A staff member will be responsible for removing or returning a dog to its
kennel. When you are finished walking a dog, please wait for a staff member at the
bench located by the dumpster. Please use the radio to let a staff member know that
you are returning with a dog. They will come out to meet you and return the dog to the
kennel. Please note that if a staff member is assisting a customer or is with a dog it may
take a few minutes before they can assist you. We ask that you be patient with us and
wait at the bench.
Volunteers may take certain dogs in the play yard between noon and 4pm. The
volunteer will need to follow the guidelines presented during their volunteer
orientation. Please check with a staff member prior to entering the yard.
Volunteers are asked to stay on the property with the shelter dog. Please do not walk
around the barn, by the play yard or outside kennels. This gets the dogs excited and
causes them to bark a lot which in turn disturbs our neighbors.
o We are working on a way for volunteers to access the path across the highway
until then volunteers will need to remain on the property.
o Arrangements can be made for a volunteer to take the dog off the property (i.e.
drive to the path).
When working with a dog, be aware you are always communicating to the dog with your
body, expressions and voice. You’ll want to read the “Animal Behavior” section of this
Use a calm, assertive voice when wanting dogs to respond, yelling is not necessary, use
ample praise and petting to reinforce good behaviors. NEVER hit or use a loud voice
with any dog. If the dog is being mischievous, try to distract them from the undesirable
behavior with a treat. Always try to turn the situation into a positive - ask the dog to do
something you want him/her to do instead of telling them “No” for what you do not
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want them to do. A dog that is especially hard to handle may not be in your comfort
range and you may want to select one more appropriate for your experience level.
Walk only one dog at a time. We ask that when you volunteer to walk dogs at the
shelter that you do not bring your personal dog for the visit. The shelter dogs benefit
from the one-on-one attention that they will receive during your visit. Plus they receive
plenty of dog-to-dog interaction with the other dogs at the shelter.
Please do not use your cell phone (including texting and checking email) while
handling/walking a dog. It is a hazard for both you and the dog (plus our guys really
want to interact with you).
Always keep dogs on a leash and keep hold of the leash.
Do not tie a dog and leave it unattended at any time.
Use gentle leaders on any dog that pulls while on the leash – do not let the dogs pull you
around while on the walk – this is uncomfortable for both of you. If dogs still pull on the
gentle leader use quick little snaps on the leash to get them to ease up, do not jerk hard
on the leash. If a dog is presented to you wearing a harness or Halti® , please do not
remove the device during your walk. The staff have carefully and properly fitted the
harness/Halti® for each animal.
Retractable leashes are not to be used on shelter dogs (this type of leash encourages
the dogs to pull). In addition, it is easy for a dog to become excited and accidently rip a
leash out or your hand no matter how cautious you are, and there is no guarantee that a
retractable leash will lock in place properly or not break.
Tie a poop bag to the leash and use it when dogs poop. The used bag should be brought
back to the shelter and deposited in the green dumpster.
Bring treats with you on your walk so that you can reinforce the dogs when they
respond well to various situations, also you can work on basic commands with them
such as “sit” and “come”.
If other people want to pet the dog while you are walking, if staff has stated the dog to
be safe with strangers, ask them to approach gently and monitor how the dog responds.
You can give the stranger a treat to feed the dog for positive socialization.
Please do not let the dog drink from any puddles, streams, or natural or man-made
ponds. The water may contain runoff fuel/chemicals or waterborne
parasites/organisms that will make the dog sick if ingested.
In the warm months the dogs enjoy playing in the river or the ponds, you may be
tempted to let the dog swim or go into the water. We ask volunteers not to allow the
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dogs to drink or go into the water. By doing so you are exposing them to Giardia (a
parasite that is found in water and causes diarrhea). It is important to note that shelter
dogs are often very stressed and may have a suppressed immune system (which makes
them more susceptible to diseases and illnesses). A dog in a loving home often times is
not stressed and does not have comprised immune system. Shelter dogs have access
to a fresh doggie pool in the yard area and will be able to enjoy the water there. In
addition, Angel Ridge Ranch has several beavers living near the ponds. Beavers have
been known to carrier a disease that can cause serious illness to dogs. Until we have
determined whether or not the disease is present in our area dogs should not be allowed
to swim or drink from the ponds.
It is important to understand that if a shelter dog is infected by Giardia then he/she
will expose all of the dogs (and possibly the cats) being housed at the shelter.
Dogs that have been recently spayed/neutered should be walked for no more than 5-10
minutes during which they need to remain calm and quiet. Allowing an animal to jump
or run around after surgery can cause complications and endanger the life of the animal.
In addition, they should not be allowed to swim or get the sutures wet for any reason.
Report any problems or concerns to staff upon returning from a walk, such as behavioral
(signs of aggression, pulling too much etc.), physical (lethargic, diarrhea, worms in stool,
limping, etc.), emotional (skittish around bicycles, loud noises, etc.) or other notable
Let us know where you are walking and how long you plan to be. We never know when
a potential adopter might walk through the door and we hate to miss sending the pet
Dog Walking Procedures:
These are the specific procedures you will use for walking dogs with a few notes on each step. It
might sound like a lot, but as you walk dogs more and more these will become second nature.
Set your comfort level – This should be done before you even consider walking dogs. Know
your limits in relation to the dog’s size, energy level, temperament and behavioral history.
Don’t try to walk a dog you feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable with. If you’d rather not
walk more high energy dogs that is fine! We have other volunteers who specifically prefer to
walk those dogs, so don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation!
Let us know where you are going and when you will be back- We never know when a potential
adopter may come to the shelter looking for their next companion. It is important that we
know where you will be walking the dog and when you will return so we can ensure that the
adopter has an opportunity to meet with the dog.
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Second Chance requires a properly fitted harness to be used when walking all dogs except
puppies, or if a gentle leader is required for that particular dog.
A few notes on leashes/harnesses/collars:
Dogs must be on a leash at ALL TIMES.
All dogs in the shelter should be wearing a flat collar. If you find a dog
without a collar, please notify the staff immediately. The collar should
be tight enough to fit only one finger between the collar and the dog’s
neck. If the collar is any loser than one finger width the dog can easily
slip out of the collar.
Dogs pull on standard flat collars and harnesses because of their
instinct to move into pressure. Several of the dogs are fitted with the
Easy Walk Harness®. These harnesses are located on the hangers
underneath the white board as you walk into the kennel. The Easy
Walk Harness® is designed to instantly, painlessly and effectively make
leash walking more pleasant and safe for both you and the dog.
• The leash connection ring is located on the center of the chest strap. When the dog pulls
on the leash, he will be guided back towards you which will naturally and gently
discourage him from pulling.
• Leash attachment at the chest also prevents pressure over your dog’s throat and neck
which is especially important for toy breeds that can be susceptible to tracheal damage.
How to put an Easy Walk Harness® on:
o Unsnap the belly strap buckle and snap the shoulder buckle. It is easier to slide
the harness over the dog’s head then it is to ask
the dog to step into the harness or attempt to
buckle both straps.
o Slide the harness over the dog’s head making
sure that the buckles for the shoulder and belly
strap are located on the right side of the dog.
o The leash connection ring should rest in the
center of the dog’s chest.
o Snap the belly strap buckle behind the dog’s front
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How to put on a Gentle Leader:
o The nose loop encircles your dog’s muzzle. Like a halter on
a horse, it allows you to guide the nose and head, the body
naturally follows.
The neck strap fits high on the back of the neck. The
unique design applies pressure to the back of the neck
rather than the front of the throat reducing the dog’s drive
to pull forward and eliminates chocking.
Holding the Leash:
Put your right hand through the wrist loop at the end of the leash and then hold the leash with
your left hand (the pinky finger should be closest to the buckle/collar). To give you more
leverage your left hand should be kept close to your side while walking the dog. Dogs may bolt
when they see squirrels, deer, etc., and unless your hand is through the leash, they may escape.
Simply holding on to the loop is not secure enough in case of an
Emergency Leash:
Make an emergency leash loop by threading the hook/clasp end of the
leash through the wrist loop, making a sort of noose collar (see picture).
Keep the noose end wide. Slip the noose ends over the dog’s head and
tighten, making a makeshift collar to secure the loose dog.
For safety and liability reasons you must be at least 18 years old in
order to walk a dog on Humane Society property.
If the dog gets in a fight:
Though they are rare, dog fights are one of the most
unpleasant experiences you might experience as a
volunteer. While we can tell you how a dog fight
“should” be handled, when you are actually put in the
situation it will be tough, so prepare yourself as best
you can!
We recommend handling a dog fight in the following manner:
Tip: When There Is No One Else to Help
If you're alone when a fight happens, stay calm. If you are by yourself, it is recommended that
you do not try to break up a dog fight. It is simply too easy to get seriously hurt. Scream for help
or pull out your cell phone & dial 911. But don’t try to get in between two dogs that are intent
on doing damage.
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Tip: You Could Really Get Hurt
Be realistic: intervening in a dog fight could really get you hurt. Even a fairly minor puncture
wound from a dog can be nasty, very painful, and will probably leave you with a permanent
scar or two.
Tip: Silence is Golden
Yelling, shrieking, jumping up and down. Don't waste your energy with such displays of
Tip: Best Case Scenario
The best case scenario is when two people are present so that you are not alone. If this is the
case, both of you need to walk up to the dogs from behind and firmly grab their hind legs. After
both of you have a good grip of the dogs you need to lift up their hind legs and pull them
backwards. As you are walking backwards you should also spin the dog in a circular motion, but
not very fast, just enough so that the dog can keep its balance on the front legs. By turning in a
circular motion you prevent the dog from turning around and attacking you because he or she
is trying not to fall. Now you need to separate the dogs by pulling them into an enclosure
where they can cool off by themselves.
Tip: Tail vs. Legs
A great alternative hold is to grab dogs by the base of the tail instead of the hind legs. The
advantage is that you don't have to bend down as close to the danger zone (the dog’s face) as
you do to grab the hind legs. On the other hand, a large dog is difficult to control with only one
arm and you might be more likely to lose your balance.
Tip: Post-fight Etiquette
Try to get information from the owner of other dog if it is safe to do so (otherwise remember as
many details as possible about the owner and the dog). Return to the shelter immediately even
if the shelter dog did not start the fight (the dog will need time to cool down after the stressful
event). Once at the shelter, the incident needs to be reported to a supervisor immediately and
the dog will be examined for any injuries.
Tip: Punishment Achieves Nothing
Do not try and punish the dog after the fact by yelling, hitting, kicking, or forcing the dog onto
its back. Firstly, you risk being attacked if the dog is still in fight mode. Second, it is cruel
because he/she will not understand what this punishment is for.
These ideas sound good in theory, but in reality, you may have to try to find another solution.
Ultimately, preventing the fight in the first place is the most effective method. Whatever you
do, NEVER try to grab the dog with your bare hands. The majority of dog bites occur when a
person tries to grab a dog’s collar.
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In the event of a dog fight, always report the incident to a staff member so the dogs can be
examined for injuries.
If a dog bites you, notify a Second Chance staff member immediately so they can provide
If the dogmedical
gets loose:
treatment to you and have you complete and Accident/Injury Report.
What to do if a loose owned dog runs up to you while you are walking a dog:
Use caution when approached by other
dogs; make sure that the shelter dog is by
your side (do not let him/her lunge toward
the loose dog). Stand tall and stay calm.
Never turn your back to the dog or try to
run from the dog.
If you have a pocket full of treats, try
throwing them on the ground in front of
the dog to distract and occupy him
If the dog is with a person, ask that they
restrain their dog immediately.
Is this a good way to handle a loose dog?
If the dog makes contact with the shelter dog, use a calm, steady voice, reassure both dogs and
praise them if they are getting along while you wait for the volunteer or owner to retrieve the dog.
What to do if the shelter dog escapes from you:
If the dog escapes while you are on your walk, do not run after the dog as he may think you are
initiating a game of chase which may only cause him to move further away from the shelter or
run at a faster pace. Try turning in the opposite direction, crouch down and call to him in a
happy voice, or throw treats on the ground. If the dog will not come back to you, return to the
shelter and immediately inform a staff member. You can also use the makeshift lasso with a
spare leash (see information above) to use to catch a loose dog.
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Animal Behavior
Animal behavior is complex and requires years of study. But for our purpose as volunteers you
need only get acquainted with basic animal behavior and how dogs and cats and other animals
“communicate” with us. Volunteer are strongly encouraged to look online for additional
information or acquiring books on animal behavior and training.
How to “Read” Dogs:
Although dogs and cats are unable to speak, they do use certain movements of their bodies and
body parts and different vocalizations to send signals to other animals and even humans. There
are a number of basic ways a dog or cat can communicate. These are movements of the ears,
eyes and eyebrows, mouth, head, tail, and entire body, as well as barks, growls, whines and
whimpers, and howls. For your safety and the safety of the animals it is important that you
learn to recognize and understand these signals. Dogs live in packs in the wild and have a social
hierarchy consisting of dominant and submissive members. Dogs will put you in their pack
whether you want to be in there or not; you want to be at the top of his hierarchy.
* Ears Perked-up.
* Eyes Wide open.
* Alert look.
* Mouth/Teeth Relaxed, possibly slightly open, "smiling" mouth.
* Body Normal posture.
* Still, or possible wiggling of whole rear end.
* Tail Up or out from body.
* Vocalization Whimpering, yapping, or short, high bark.
* Ears Laid back flat and low on head.
* Eyes Narrowed, averted.
* Possibly rolled back in head, whites showing.
* Mouth/Teeth Lips drawn back to expose teeth.
* Body Tense.
* Crouched low in submissive position.
* Shivering, trembling.
* Possible secretion from anal scent glands.
* Tail Down between legs.
* Vocalization Low, worried yelp, whine, or growl.
* Ears Forward or back, close to head.
* Eyes Narrow or staring challengingly.
* Mouth/Teeth Lips open, drawn back to expose teeth bared in a snarl.
* Possible jaw snapping.
* Body Tense. Upright.
* Hackles on neck up.
* Completely Dominant position.
* Tail Straight out from body or curved over back.
* Fluffed up.
* Vocalization Snarl, Growl, *Loud bark.
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* Some dogs are so submissive that they will bite because they are terrified! These “Fear Bites” often
occur when the dog wants to protect its cage or area where it feels secure.
Once you are working with the dog, be aware that you are communicating with your
o Friendly human body posture includes:
 Look to the side of the dog
 Arms at side, or extended slightly toward the dog
 Move slowly and confidently
 Speak to the dog in high-pitched, reassuring tones
o Submissive human body posture includes:
 Look to the side of the dog, or down
 Make your body appear smaller by stooping
 Hands at side
 No movement
o Threatening human body posture includes:
 Direct stare into the dog’s eyes
 Arm raised with or without a weapon
 Rapid movement toward the dog
 Shouting, growling commands
 Standing over the dog
 Touching the dog’s hind end, feet or tail
When speaking to a dog, use his/her name, using a calm, soothing voice. Since many dogs get
names once they enter the shelter, they may not know their names but it does help to use it so
they can begin to learn it.
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General Training Tips
 Keep your voice tone upbeat! Dogs respond not only to what you say but HOW you say
 Training sessions should be short and simple. Do not try to work on too many behaviors
at once. Pick a request or two to focus on for each session.
 Sessions should be approximately 5 to15 minutes depending on the dog’s attention
 Be consistent! Use the same vocal requests and gestures learned in this course.
 When everyone uses the same techniques, learning is accelerated.
 Reward approximations of correct behavior when training a new behavior. Reinforce the
animal for attempting!
 Know when to quit! End a training session on a positive note. Do not over do it.
 Ending the sessions does not mean you have to end your interaction with the animal.
 Take a walk, do some grooming, or just spend some quality “hang time” with the dog.
 Behavior that gets reinforced gets repeated! If you see the dog doing something that
you like, praise him/her!
 Give the least amount of cues possible – do not keep repeating the request if the animal
doesn’t get it. Stop and wait, then try again. Saying it louder or more frequently doesn’t
make it easier to understand and eventually the dog may just tune you out.
 Have fun! Training should be a fun and positive experience for both you and the Dog.
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Jumping Up
Dogs often jump up to greet owners at face level. To a dog, this behavior is normal as it is how
they may greet other dogs. However, this behavior can be annoying and even dangerous. A
large or even medium-sized dog can accidentally knock over an adult or child. It is important to
teach dogs how to greet people in a calm and pleasant manner.
At the shelter, it is especially important to teach dogs this behavior because research indicates
that dogs that jump up on potential adopters are less likely to get adopted.
Strategies for dealing with a jumpy dog:
 Ignore the dog. Turn your body away and avert your eyes.
 Reinforce the dog when it is not jumping up. An easy mantra to remember is “Four
[paws] on the floor.”
 Get closer to the dog’s level; kneel down alongside the dog or sit on the floor. Keep in
mind that this particular strategy may not work with all dogs. Some dogs may still jump
on you or may knock you over when you are closer to their level.
 Teach or request a behavior incompatible with jumping up. The “sit” request works well
in this situation because most dogs know it and if they don’t, it is easy to teach. Ask the
jumpy dog to “sit.” When the dog sits, give your full attention with praise and petting.
 Withdraw your attention if the dog jumps again. Most dogs will figure out quickly that
they ONLY get your attention when “four are on the floor.”
 Do not allow the dog to jump on other people when interacting with visitors or potential
adopters. Often, people will say “oh, it’s okay” or “my dog does this, too.” If the dog is
on leash, keep him/her at a distance that does not allow him/her to jump up.
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Some dogs will pull on the leash and attempt to lead the handler or dog-walker around. This
behavior may occur because the dog has not had a lot of experience being walked on leash or
because a previous handler allowed the dog to pull on the leash. Dogs pull while on lead for a
variety of other reasons. They may want access to a specific place, pick up a scent of something
exciting, or just be genuinely excited to be out and about.
Regardless of the motivation behind it, leash-pulling is a behavior that needs to be corrected;
because dogs who pull on the leash are not fun to walk. A medium or large size dog can exert
quite a bit of force and cause the owner or dog-walker to have sore arms and shoulders.
Here are some methods for handling dogs that pull while on lead:
 At the Shelter, some dogs that have problems walking appropriately on the leash may
benefit from walking with a Gentle Leader Headcollar®. These dogs will be identified by
staff and each will be fitted with an individual collar. Proper fit and usage ensure that
these collars are being used humanely and effectively.
 Practice attention exercises. Call the dog’s name and reward him/her with treats and
praise. You can also teach a “watch me” or “look here” request using treats. The dog will
begin to learn that being near you and responding to you means fun stuff for the dog.
These exercises will be demonstrated for you during the practical part of this class.
 When the dog pulls on the lead, stop walking. Do not allow the dog to lead you. Call the
dog to you by using the dog’s name and the “come” request and then begin walking
again when the dog responds. The dog does not need to be in a formal “heel” position,
but he/she should be able to walk with a slack lead. Stop each time the dog pulls. Begin
walking when he/she is relaxed and not straining at the end of the leash.
 When the dog pulls on the lead, turn and walk in the opposite direction. The idea with
this method is that the dog is not being reinforced (going where he/she chooses) for
inappropriate behavior (pulling). Another variation of this method is to vary the walk
altogether by changing your pace and direction frequently throughout the walk. By
doing so, the dog will begin to pay attention and watch you and your body language for
cues instead of attempting to drag you around.
Not very fun!!
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A nice enjoyable walk!
Ja nua ry 2013
Basic Requests
The basic requests you can practice with the dogs are: come, sit, stay, lie down, and attention
exercises. Please use the methods as demonstrated in this manual and refer to the instructions
below if needed.
This request is also referred to as “recall.” Use the dog’s name first and make the request
“Come.” Ex. “Harry, come!” You can practice this exercise by first throwing a treat a few feet
away from you, letting the dog eat the treat, and then calling the dog back to you using the
word “come.” As the dog beings to come towards you, praise the dog and give him/her a treat
when the dogs gets near enough to you.
Take a tasty treat and hold it in your hand. Let the dog sniff it but not take it. Be sure not to
hold the treat too high or else the dog may jump up. Tell the dog to “sit.” As you hold the treat
over the dog’s nose, gently move your hand back so that the dog’s head stays up and follows
the treat. As the dog’s head follows the treat, the hind end should go down. Praise the dog and
give the treat immediately when the dog sits. Do not push down, at any time, on the dog’s hind
Lie Down:
The dog can be sitting or standing when getting ready for this request. Tell the dog to “down.”
Take a treat and hold it directly in front of the dog’s nose. Slowly guide the dog into a down
position by bringing the treat to the floor between the dog’s paws. Slowly move into the dog’s
body with treat. The dog’s body should begin to fold backwards. Praise the dog and give
him/her the treat when the dog is lying down.
The dog must first know “sit” in order to do “stay.” Give the dog a “sit” request. Ask the dog to
“stay.” Initially, you want to ask the dog to “stay” only for a few seconds. When the few
seconds are up, tell the dog “okay” as a release word and let the dog get up from the position.
Then, give the dog the treat and praise him/her. Gradually, you can increase the duration of the
“stay.” If the dog gets up before the release is given, give the “stay” command again and start
over. Be careful not to increase the time too quickly. Build on the dog’s success.
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Attention Exercises
Take a treat and show it to the dog, but do not give it to him/her. Tell the dog “watch me” or
“look here” as you bring the treat up to your eye level. If the dog follows the treat with his/her
gaze and gives you eye contact, give the treat and praise. Use the dog’s name, A LOT. Every
time you call the dog’s name, and he/she responds, give a treat or praise. Use the dog’s name
with a cue to focus. For example, “Mojo, watch me.” When the dog gives you eye contact,
praise and give your attention and treats. Some of the Center dogs may not yet know their
names, so be patient.
If the dog is interested in ball toys, take the play fetch for a few minutes. Then, take the ball
away from the dog and just bounce it in front of him/her. Practice juggling. Throw the ball up in
front of your face, but don’t let it hit the ground. Tell the dog “watch me” or “look here” as you
do so.
Then reward the dog (with the ball) when he or she is watching you.
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I have received and read a copy of Second Chance Humane Society’s Volunteer Handbook for the Dog
Walker. I acknowledge that it is my responsibility to ask questions about anything that I do not
understand regarding the information presented in the volunteer handbook. If I have not asked any
questions, it is because I understand the contents of this volunteer handbook.
I understand that the contents of this volunteer handbook are presented to me for guidance and
orientation only. I understand that as a volunteer at-will, I am free to resign at any time, just as Second
Chance Humane Society is free to terminate me any time.
I understand that it is my responsibility to abide by all of Second Chance Humane Society‘s policies set
forth in this volunteer handbook. I further understand that the procedures, working conditions, and
policies described in the volunteer handbook are subject to change at any time by Second Chance
Humane Society.
I agree that I will hold in strict confidence, and not use, divulge, disclose, or communicate to any
person or entity any information relating to the identity of Second Chance Humane Society’s
customers, financial records, euthanasia, health information or inventories (collectively referred to as
confidential information) as long as such information is not generally known to others outside Second
Chance Humane Society.
I will maintain this confidentiality for the term of my service following separation from Second Chance
Humane Society. I understand that this confidentiality pledge will remain in effect after separation and
that I will deliver to Second Chance Humane Society any originals and all copies of confidential
information described above immediately upon termination, and that I will not take any confidential
information without the written consent of the Shelter Manager of Second Chance Humane Society
Volunteer Signature
Name (please print)
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