Dog Savvy

This past Thursday, January 21, the Salt Lake County Animal Services Pit Crew hosted an interactive, fun workshop led by Best Friends' community training partner Skye Poitras. Over the last several months, the Pit Crew program has steadily grown its foster and volunteer network in conjunction with the Pit Bulls: Saving America's Dog Campaign. Each month, the partnership works together to host monthly events geared to educate the community as well as the foster parents and volunteers who are integral to the program.

Poitras' presentation was aimed at helping people expand their knowledge of dog behavior, socialization, separation anxiety and crate training, as well as teaching people about dog body language during dog-dog introductions.

The room was packed with enthusiastic pit bull terrier dog lovers and advocates, from animal control officers, to shelter staff, volunteers, fosters parents, and other rescue groups looking to take something new back to their work with dogs. (Pictured on left, Skye Poitras and Wyatt.)

Poitras kept the crowd of over 30 participants engaged with her sense of humor and understanding of dog behavior. She brought along her own dog Wyatt, as well as the adoptive team of Agnes Chiao, and her rescued pit bull terrier mix Jasper, adopted from a research facility this past year. Jasper is working towards his Canine Good Citizen certification, offered free to pit bull terriers and mixes, through the shelter. Together, they provided a hands-on demonstration using all positive training methods) of how to set dogs up for success when doing introductions between unfamiliar dogs . Using adoptable shelter pup Tropicana, Poitras also demonstrated how to quickly teach a dog with no formal training a valuable command like sit using hand signals and positive reinforcement.

Sign Up For Next Month's Program

Next month's presentation on February 18 will feature Intermountain Therapy Animals' Kathy Clotz, and the therapy duo of Piggy, a pit bull terrier who uses a cart, and her person April Hollingsworth.

Participants will learn more about how to involve their dogs in the community through therapy work and programs like READ, which pairs dogs with children to enhance a child's reading, confidence, and learning skills.

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Be sure to stop by the shelter and meet Tropicana, pictured on right. This sweet little girl is looking for her forever home. To learn more, call Salt Lake County Animal Services at (801) 559-1100.

For More Information

To learn more about the Pit Crew program and events, to volunteer or join the mailing list, please email, or become a fan on Facebook.

To learn more about Salt Lake County Animal Services, click here.

Become a fan of the Pit Bulls: Saving America's Dog campaign.

Click here to see all the pictures from the event.

Top photo by Melissa Lipani.

Photo of Tropicana by Steph Powell.