Our staff and volunteers spend hours each day walking the dogs and providing them with mental and physical stimulation that keeps them comfortable and happy during their stay. There are some dogs, though, who need extra attention as they struggle with arousal or fear.

Aroused (high-energy) dogs can get overly excited and have a surge of adrenaline when it’s time to leave their kennel or go for a walk because it is often the highlight of their day. They benefit when we:

  • Maintain calm
  • Encourage four paws on the floor for leashing
  • Refrain from lots of petting or excited baby talk when they are overly aroused

During walks, give plenty of opportunities for your dog to stop and sniff their surroundings — it supplies mental stimulation while lowering arousal and stress. You can also try scattering treats on the ground; it helps them decompress and avoid increasing arousal as they enjoy sniffing out the treats!

Taking a dog to a play yard can be a fun way to burn some energy, too; just remember to always pair play with decompression.

  • Take frequent breaks during play sessions to work on basic training cues or sniff around for treats
  • After play, take your dog for a calm walk and then allow them to decompress on their bed or in their crate with an enrichment treat like a stuffed Kong

If you have a shy or fearful dog, give them a choice of whether they want to interact or not

  • Tossing treats first is ideal, don’t force an uncomfortable dog to eat from your hand before they’re ready
  • Go slow for leashing and help create positive associations with the experience by offering treats before and after clipping the leash

Throughout the walk, give your dog plenty of treats as they engage with their surroundings. We want to help them build confidence and develop a positive relationship with you!