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Shelter Staff, Volunteers Discover Positive Power of Playtime for Pit Bulls, Other Local Shelter Dogs

Best Friends Animal Society, Salt Lake County Animal Services, Longmont Humane Society Team Up to Help Shelter Pits

Aimee Sadler, training and behavior program director for Longmont Humane Society in Colorado, and nationally known dog trainer and behaviorist, will offer a hands-on workshop with shelter staff and pit bull terrier-type dogs at Salt Lake County Animal Services, 511 W. 3900 S., today from 3-5 p.m.

The workshop, sponsored by Best Friends Animal Society, will demonstrate how playgroups reduce stress and improve socialization and adoptability of pit bull-type shelter dogs. There will be a second presentation for established volunteers at 6 p.m. with the hands-on segment beginning at 7.

By incorporating group play, the Longmont Humane Society has been able to achieve a 94 percent live release rate for their dogs. This includes many who have come to them needing help for behavior issues.

Sadler has worked for more than a decade with dogs in shelter settings, and has become a nationally known trainer specializing in helping dogs with behavior problems.

"My vision has been to create and implement a training and behavior modification program that will prove invaluable to the well-being of animals in shelters across the country," Sadler said. "The goal is to help them better adjust to shelter life so they are more adoptable and can become permanent and adored members of their new families."

Longmont Humane Society even accepts dogs who haven't been adopted from other shelters due to behavior issues. They don't use foster homes, but, rather, utilize an extensive volunteer program and playgroup model to reduce kennel stress thus helping the dogs to become more appealing to potential adopters.

The organization works closely with Best Friends to save the lives of dogs once considered unadoptable, and to improve the quality of life of dogs waiting in shelters. Then have taken in dogs seized as evidence from animal cruelty court cases in which Best Friends has been involved and they recently accepted Hazelnut, a dog from the Salt Lake County Animal Services Pit Crew program who needed special attention.

Shelters across the country are looking for new ways to meet the health and emotional needs of the animals in their care. Dog experts agree that play is a healthy outlet for pent up energy and offers the animals an opportunity to improve social skills.

Best Friends works with Salt Lake County Animal Services and humane groups all across the country to bring about a time when there are No More Homeless Pets®.

About Best Friends Animal Society®

Best Friends Animal Society is a nonprofit organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More Homeless Pets®. The society's leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah, headquarters, the country's largest no-kill sanctuary. This work is made possible by the personal and financial support of a grassroots network of supporters and community partners across the nation.

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