Best Friends–Utah is committed to bringing more resources to enhance the NKUT Coalition’s ability to save more lives and continue to take Utah toward no-kill status. NKUT is an initiative led by Best Friends that brings together passionate individuals, city shelters and a coalition of animal welfare organizations to end the killing of dogs and cats in shelters. At the beginning of June, coalition members were invited to an Animal Behavior Workshop presented by Best Friends and hosted by Humane Society of Utah, a coalition member.
Dozens of animal welfare volunteers and professionals attended the free workshop to learn how to best work with their pets-in-waiting to make them more adoptable. “From an NKUT Coalition point of view, this workshop is an amazing opportunity for members of our coalition to increase their knowledge of dog behavior and skill in handling dogs in their care,” says Sandy Nelson, NKUT manager. “Many of our coalition members only know what they know and to increase their toolbox is invaluable.” Providing more tools, tips and training techniques was exactly what the workshop brought to the coalition.
Head of the class
The workshop provided an education for volunteers and professionals so they can help Roxi, a rat terrier with Rescue Rovers, put her best paw forward in finding a forever home. Jode Page, Rescue Rovers volunteer and Roxi’s foster mom, was thrilled with the information shared. Some of Roxi’s issues include reactivity to other dogs (barking, lunging) and resource guarding — she lashes out when people try to touch her food. Jode says Roxi’s lack of “dog language” skill was hindering her improvement, and the workshop addressed a lot of her concerns.
“I was pleased to be informed that I was on the correct training route for Roxi,” says Jode. “She is far better than her first weeks with me. Because I am more confident in her training program, I know that she is more adoptable than she was previously.”
Jode says the workshop’s emphasis on “dog language” was critical. “Roxi’s in the process of learning ‘dog language.’ She was at a second grade language skill set, and now she’s at about an eighth grade level. We’re shooting for high school graduation level.”
There was something for everyone during the three-day workshop. Instructor Emily Strong, Best Friends dog trainer, says, “This workshop is so important because everyone who works in animal rescue has the will, the work ethic and the passion to save homeless pets. The only things really holding us back from achieving our collective no-kill goals are resources that enable us to do that in the most humane, efficient and effective way possible.”
Representatives from a variety of coalition organizations agree that the workshop delivered more resources to help even more animals. Tony Fusco, Beaver County Animal Control, says, “It was very informative and instructional for how-to skills, as well as providing a sense of community for me to go to for my needs.”
Sierra Miller, of Humane Society of Utah, says, “The teaching style was lively and enjoyable. I am excited to be an animal behavior-training-caregiving geek. Thank you for everything, Best Friends.”
Tracy Kelley, NKUT coalition manager, sees the workshop as a crucial component to help Save Them All®. “The NKUT Coalition was formed specifically to make Utah a no-kill state. As our members continue to work together rescuing and adopting homeless pets, we come closer to our goal. Best Friends provides tools, education, grants and event participation to help build capacity for these groups. We’re hopeful we will be able to continue to offer such cutting-edge training to our partners.”