By Kathy Featherstone, Dog Placement Coordinator
The matching process between career change dogs and adopters is a team effort for those of us in GDB's Dog Placement Department who are finding forever homes for these dogs. As we are entrusted to make the best match possible, we look at a range of placement options, including:
- other service organizations
- pet companions for people who are blind
- therapy dog programs
- as the ultimate pet and best friend for a family
A vital step in this process is the care and commitment provided by members of GDB's Training Department, the canine welfare technicians (CWTs).
Each CWT has a project dog and will work on a specific behavior plan created by the CWT manager or a Dog Placement staff member. This behavior plan is unique to the individual dog's needs as well as keeping the dog healthy and happy on a daily basis. Outside of daily grooming, walks and supervised playtime with other career change dogs, each CWT is tasked to assess their project dog's behavior and use positive training techniques with clicker and food rewards for such behaviors as:
- eye contact
- polite greeting
- walking on a loose leash
- basic obedience
- recall, etc.
As Senior CWT Shannon Del Buono said, “I find it very rewarding to work with a dog and seeing them progress when I’ve taught them a new skill/behavior that will help them get adopted.”
The CWTs insightful observations, canine knowledge and handling skills enables those of us in Dog Placement additional insight into determining the best match for each individual dog.
We are all appreciative of the commitment by the puppy raisers to the special dog that they have raised. We want to ensure that each career change dog transitioned into our temporary care is valued, nurtured and continually learning new skills while on campus and awaiting their adoptive home.