Program Highlight: Train-A-Bull
Train-A-Bull is a program that provides training to bully-mix dog breeds while they wait for their forever homes.
The goal of the program is to provide certain dogs who come to our adoption center with structure and enrichment in the form of leash-walking, crate-training, and basic obedience training. Often, the dogs selected to participate in the program are ones who demonstrate that they’re a bit stressed out in a kennel environment and would benefit from extra one-on-one time. We want to help make good dogs into great dogs. This way, they have all the tools necessary to do well in their forever homes.
Each Train-A-Bull volunteer is paired with a specific dog who they will help train until the dog is adopted. The dogs in the program are available for adoption regardless of whether they just began or are graduates, but what they’ve learned will depend on how long the dog has waited for their forever home.
Once a week, volunteers and their respective dog-partners will meet in the lobby of the LHS adoption center to train in class with Andrew. Throughout the rest of the week, volunteers will spend individual time with their respective dogs to get some quality practice in on commands and leash-walking.
The commands utilized in Train-A-Bull are taught as combined voice commands and hand-signals. This helps the dog learn to respond to both. A Train-A-Bull graduate knows how to: sit, lie down, stand, watch me, stay, leave it, and so much more!
Leash training is practiced by walking on PetSafe’s Easy Walk Harness. The harness clips at the front of the dog’s chest which helps give handlers the most control over the dog. As the dog pulls past the handler, the harness helps the handler to tug the dog back into place at their side. The goal of this training is to create a loose-leash walker who focuses on their handler rather than on other distractions - like dogs, vehicles, etc. Train-A-Bull dogs regularly get to walk around LHS property to practice these skills, and sometimes they get to take a trip to quiet places in the community.
Throughout the week, Train-A-Bull dogs will practice crate-training. We call this “quiet time”. Many of the dogs learn to love time in a crate, as it’s a calm break from the adoption floor with good snacks. The crate is filled with comfy blankets and covered with a blanket. During quiet time, the lights will be off, soft music will play, and a fan will be turned on. All of this helps create a relaxing, positive experience with the crate so the dogs can relax. During their time in the crate, dogs are given a frozen peanut butter KONG and other treats to keep them occupied should they choose not to nap. The time spent in quiet time differs for each dog as they are learning about the crate and becoming comfortable being in one, but once they feel safe, they’re given an hour to relax. Some dogs aren’t comfortable to be left alone at first or some dogs may only be crated for short intervals during their first few experiences with the crate. That’s okay too because they’re still learning!
Are you interested in volunteering to work with the Train-A-Bull program? Click here to learn more!