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Discussion Starter #1
Thought I would share a few from the shelter we have in our town. We are not a rich community by any means, but through persistent fund raisers, radio interviews, ads in the local paper...over the years the shelter staff/organizers have 'educated' our town about the need for a compassionate, well run shelter. Given our town has less than 3,000 people inside the city limits, and again, we are one of the more poor counties in Idaho, our shelter is top notch...but it came to be that way via a lot of hard work..and took years of slowly improving things to get to where it is today.

The shelter has access to miles of undeveloped lands for the dogs to have off leash walks and they go on them every day, (with the exception of days that have pretty bad weather)

Also, there are play pens for those dogs that are social enough to play with other dogs and not fight over the toys.

Here are 3 heeler types playing with the tether ball.

https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xaf1/t31.0-8/11078148_848234681919795_2707475929387894739_o.jpg

https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/11269503_848234708586459_9046229043073636127_n.jpg?oh=d961135e0ad6c0e6d450e485a5659978&oe=566EBC95

One of the dogs on an off leash walk, looking over the bluff to the river and valley floor.

https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xtp1/v/t1.0-9/11227558_886271624782767_5814294148042051210_n.jpg?oh=d1cd8375b91ffaa5b31384f842aa65e0&oe=56A72EAC

Dogs enjoying a romp in the area in the hills just west of the shelter.

https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfp1/l/t31.0-8/p960x960/11879034_900577090018887_3770502330990516194_o.jpg

https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xtp1/t31.0-8/p720x720/11875102_900577250018871_183331571240177970_o.jpg

https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/t31.0-8/p720x720/11698746_875695879173675_3288763762829302632_o.jpg

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I wish all shelters had the access to large areas where the dogs could run to their hearts content.

Stormy
 

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Oh my goodness that place is absolutely gorgeous! It looks like a dream location for a shelter. Those dogs are adorable as well! At my college town there's just not enough vacant land to have something like that and my hometown has too expensive land, as well as some weird rent the land law where you don't technically own the land for the first 99 years. The surrounding towns have more, cheaper land but a fraction of the want for the rescues/shelters. It looks like the hard work is paying off for you guys. I've never seen shelter dogs look so happy! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I had to add just a few more... I get a kick at how happy these dogs look...and also a lot of them probably never experienced this kind of freedom. These photos were from last winter.

I like the raccoon tail and droopy ears on this dog...he just looks patchworked together with bits of this and bits of that...lol
https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xaf1/v/t1.0-9/11150699_842569512486312_3934687641639492874_n.jpg?oh=afa516a5bc92259f77b400943a3569f1&oe=566167B3

https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfa1/v/t1.0-9/10491238_801157793294151_6254571765442547133_n.jpg?oh=abac268b3c6e287b90b79c532ca14588&oe=569A12EA

Is it a frisbee or a ufo?
https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xtp1/v/t1.0-9/10994059_805260922883838_5448013197595000096_n.jpg?oh=4554a9c2fb98079297f78075582ae4a7&oe=56A43BD0

Having fun in a little bit of snow.
https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/t31.0-8/331474_223593177717285_889500392_o.jpg

Stormy
 

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I love these photos :) That scenery is immense too :D

If it's okay can I ask some questions...I am always very interested in how other rescues / shelters work, and how the dogs are treated. So, do only the dogs that have good recall go off lead? How does it work? Is the area owned by the shelter, or do they just use it? How often does a dog get off lead walks / to play with the toys in the play pens?

I've walked dogs at three rescue centres in different parts in the UK and they have varied drastically (I posted about this recently I think). The first was an inner-city RSPCA shelter; the dogs were walked on short leads around the streets. They were surrounded by very busy & noisy roads, and the pavements were littered in broken glass and a few needles (nice...). Many of the dogs we walked had injured paws or limps, I assume because of the glass. (we only went once as it was just horrible) The second one was some miles outside a big city, but again the dogs only had on lead walks by a busy road. However there were paddocks where the dogs could stretch their legs.

The third is the one we've volunteered at longest, and probably the best. The dogs get at least one on lead walk a day (usually from volunteers), and most get to spend a minimum of 20 minutes in an off lead paddock too. The paddocks aren't huge, but they do get to stretch their legs, play with toys and the top one has agility equipment in, albeit that is falling apart :p Social dogs are walked together and can play...it's not perfect, but it's the best I've personally seen :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@Red. I know most shelters just can't do these things for their dogs, but it's great that there are so many people out there who try to do their best in getting the dogs out on walks and who work with the dogs on their social skills to make them more attractable to people looking to adopt a dog.

The dogs at our shelter are taken out every day on these walks. From what I understand, while some dog are not good at recall, almost all dogs will follow a pack - if most of the pack comes when called...the few that are not good at recall...just follow where the other dogs are going. Anytime dog that goes up to one of the walkers on it's own, it will always get a treat - so that helps teach the new dogs that going up to a human is a good thing. From what I've been told, in the almost 10 years they've been doing this, they've never had a dog get lost.

The dogs quickly learn what the routine is...and that going back to the shelter means feeding time is near and they will head straight to their own kennels to be fed, once they understand what kennel is theirs. : )

Upon first arriving at the shelter, the dogs are checked out to see how the fair around other dogs, and if not dog aggressive, they are introduced to other dogs in the playpen areas where they can be watched to see if playing triggers any aggression. If they pass that test, then they get to go out on those long off leash runs.

Each dog is treated as an individual...so if a dog has good recall, but doesn't get along with other dogs, they too are taken out on off leash walks, but taken out alone.

Those without good recall, and who are not dog friendly...go on walks out into the pastures and sage but are kept on a long line...20 feet of cable with a 6 foot leash attached to it.

But regardless of size all dogs go out every day - the exception being those days when it's raining too hard. The walks are usually in the mornings before it gets to hot, or during colder weather, in the later afternoons when it's warmer.

Those that can't walk far due to injuries or like old age, or being blind...they are taken on shorter walks if possible, if not, they have some outdoor time in the play pens so they can at least enjoy some off leash time. These pens are also used for those dogs that don't have good recall...just so they can have some time to move about without having a leash on - and it's a good place to try to train them to come when called.

The lands around the shelter....some of it is alfalfa fields, some is rough pasture where grasses grow, and there are some little creeks that flow through them and the rest is sagebrush covered. The rough pasture area was bought by the shelter so no livestock is kept there anymore.

The shelter has been granted permission by the owners of the alfalfa fields to have access to it, and the city leased a lot of that sage brush area to the shelter. I believe it was a 100 year lease for the amount of one dollar. Everything in the upper hills area is either BLM or Forest Service owned and they don't really care if the dogs are up there....especially since the walkers do try to pick up after the dogs.

Some here have already seen this video...it's an older video made when our shelter entered a contest to try to win a transport van. They did win one of the vans, btw. It shows some of the dogs on their off leash romps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpFFifcJGfQ

Stormy
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Putting this in this post, since it kind of ties in with shelters.

Myths about animal shelter Dogs:

10 Myth-Busting Realities About Shelter Dogs

I know a few people who believe some of those myths....even when I tell them I have adopted perfectly healthy, emotionally stable dogs. I have had both prior owner abused animals and animals that were not abused...and have been happy with the pets I've adopted. One thing also that I got lucky with, the last 4 adult dogs I adopted.. Lacey, Harper, Jaya and HaHa... none of them have ever got into my garbage and spread it all over the house...as I have seen some 'raised from puppyhood' dogs do, that belonged to my friends.

Stormy : )
 

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Wow!!!! I wish our city dogs could experience that just for a day. They'd be in heaven. We don't even have grass in this community!
 
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