New comprehensive program offers obedience training and socialization skills for larger, harder-to-adopt dogs
Generous funding for the program provided by the Lazin Animal Foundation, Best Friends Animal Society, Maddie’s Fund, Trupanion and John C. Kish Foundation
Las Vegas – The Animal Foundation has officially launched its new Academy for Canine Etiquette (ACE) Program to promote more positive outcomes for larger, harder-to-adopt dogs who may lack the training and good manners to immediately impress potential adopters. Through the implementation of a 10-step Canine Good Citizen training program developed by the American Kennel Club, The Animal Foundation will provide obedience training and socialization skills for its large dog breeds, primarily the bully-breed or pitbull mixes, with the aim of increasing adoptions and reducing the chance for return of a dog due to behavior. The new ACE Program, which focuses on a variety of areas to promote the health, happiness and adoption of large dogs, is the latest major milestone in The Animal Foundation’s five-year lifesaving plan known as Mission: Possible 2020 to save all healthy and treatable animals who come into their care by the end of 2020.
“While we have made great progress in finding more positive outcomes for more animals since announcing the Mission: Possible 2020 initiative, we face a continuing challenge when it comes to increasing the number of positive outcomes for our large dog breeds,” said Daniel Neel, Chief Finance and Development Officer for The Animal Foundation. “Our smaller dogs are finding homes quickly, but our large dogs are staying with us longer before they find their forever home. As we know, prolonged residence in a shelter environment can lead to more stress for an animal, often forcing us to remove an animal for adoptions for rescue, foster or other outcome. Our new ACE Program aims to reverse this trend and find more homes more quickly for our larger dogs.”
The Canine Good Citizen training builds on the success of the shelter’s current Dogs Playing for Life playgroups, which allow dogs to get out and socialize daily so that they become happier, healthier and better behaved. With the launch of the ACE Program, The Animal Foundation is now able to add the necessary staff, volunteers and other resources so that it can double the number of daily playgroups. Dogs who participate in the new training will have information about their progress posted on their kennels. Dogs who graduate from the training will receive a certificate, while those who are adopted before they graduate will have the opportunity to complete the training at a reduced or no cost rate after adoption.
To give dogs a break from the stress of the shelter environment, improve their overall health and increase their chance for adoption, the shelter is also introducing new short-term fostering options as part of the ACE Program. These new options for temporary off-site care of a shelter pet include Power Hour Fostering, where members of the community can sign up to borrow a dog for a one-hour walk in the park, an afternoon at a pet-friendly café or a day-long trip to Red Rock Canyon or Mt. Charleston, and Weekend Fostering, which allows fosters to take a dog home for a weekend or any set of days that qualifies as a Las Vegas worker’s official “weekend” time off.
Other key highlights of the ACE Program include increasing the number of free spay/neuter surgeries to reduce unwanted populations and amplifying community and outreach efforts to both raise awareness of the pet overpopulation problem that exists in the Las Vegas Valley and correct the misperceptions around bully-breeds and pitbull mixes, including the unreliability of assigning a breed to dogs.
Operating as the Nevada’s largest open-admission animal shelter, The Animal Foundation provides refuge and healthcare for thousands of helpless animals annually, saving as many as 25,000 pets in 2017. The Animal Foundation is open daily from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. For more information and to view adoptable pets, please visit animalfoundation.com.
ABOUT THE ANIMAL FOUNDATION
The Animal Foundation is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to saving the lives of all healthy and treatable animals in the Las Vegas Valley. The Animal Foundation operates the highest volume single-site animal shelter in America, saving more than 25,000 pets last year. Founded in 1978, The Animal Foundation’s lifesaving programs are designed to address the root causes of pet overpopulation and homelessness and include: adoptions; low-cost spay/neuter, microchipping and vaccination services; lost & found pets; Community Cats; and more. In June 2015, The Animal Foundation announced Mission: Possible 2020, a strategic initiative to save the lives of all healthy and treatable animals who come to them in need by the end of the year 2020. To learn more about The Animal Foundation or view adoptable pets online, visit animalfoundation.com.