Our Favorite Forevers: Bono + Mulder

Bono and Mulder originally came to us in 2017. They had no socialization with people and were basically feral.​

Bono (right) + Mulder (left) practicing “place”.

The pair was fortunate to be championed by an incredible team of volunteers who dedicated countless hours to their rehabilitation.

Both dogs worked with our behavioral team for months in 2017 and they even got adopted (separately). Unfortunately, they were each soon returned to the shelter for being overwhelmingly afraid of the world.

Once they had both experienced unsuccessful adoptions, we determined it would be best to keep them together in the future, and we also decided we needed to find a place we could send them in hopes they would be able to provide more resources to help with their specific behavioral issues. So, in September 2017, we sent them off to a rescue.

Bono + Mulder working on an enrichment activity together.

After about a year with the rescue, they had not been adopted, and we learned their behavior had not much improved. In addition, their quality of life was decreasing as well. By this time, our behavior team was even stronger than it had been previously, and again we made a decision for Bono + Mulder: it was time for them to return to HSSPV.

The boys returned to the shelter in late October of 2018. We were excited to see their goofy wiggle butts, though we were puzzled about what to do with them next. We wondered, how could we provide them with the happiest possible outcome for their lives? Though they were great dogs, they would require extensive patience and understanding. They still displayed a great deal of fear towards most things and usually needed to be walked with two leashes because they posed a flight risk. For a long time, we considered sending them to a sanctuary for dogs. We were certain about one thing: if they were going to get adopted, it was going to take a very special family.

There were a handful of volunteers who really stepped up to the plate when it came to helping with Bono + Mulder. This group made sure the boys were well exercised each day, but more importantly, they made sure the pair received enrichment and love. Long walks and exciting outings to help with socialization were frequent. Many even brought the boys to their homes. They dedicated hundreds of hours of their lives to saving Bono’s + Mulder’s.

Meanwhile, we had managed to get the boys on a waiting list for a dog sanctuary. Several months passed while we waited, but we continued to feel like this was their best option.

Then we met Fred.

Fred had stopped by the shelter on several occasions looking for a dog. He was a very quiet and easygoing man. He mentioned he had an interest in cattledogs. Several people suggested he might be a good fit for Bono + Mulder. At first, he wasn’t sure about the idea of bringing two dogs home at one time, so we didn’t want to push it on him. But after visiting multiple times and getting to know them, he realized they were a special duo. He decided to make it official and brought them home on August 24th.

That day was a very emotional one for our team at HSSPV. We had waited for so long to see these boys go to a home filled with love and peace! We knew that they had found that with Fred. Many people even thought that Fred’s personality was similar to theirs. Before sending them home, our team barraged Fred with questions about his plans for them and advice for their care. Bono + Mulder are now happily living out their lives as Fred’s faithful companions.

Bono + Mulder rest comfortably in their new home, finally able to relax.

Our Favorite Forevers: Moe

 Moe and his two brothers (Larry & Curly) were abandoned and brought to HSSPV as strays. The team quickly noticed one of Moe’s front legs was seriously injured and required urgent medical attention.

     With the help of our veterinary partners and because of the generous support we receive from our community, we were able to get him the care he needed promptly. A team of veterinarians worked together to save the leg, but they determined the injury was too severe to repair, and made the decision to amputate. Moe is a tri-pawd now, but he hasn’t let his handicap slow him down one bit.

     After recovering from his surgery, he was put up for adoption, and found his forever home almost instantly! We are so grateful we could help this guy when he needed it most.

Moe found his forever family on 4/24/19, the same day he went up for adoption! He now goes by Crash. He has a great home that provides him comfort for his special needs and loves him unconditionally.

Socializing Your Puppy: When and How to Make a Lasting Impact on Your Dog’s Behavior

Bringing a new puppy into your family is an exciting time. Along with house training and getting an early start on obedience training, socializing your puppy ensures that you’re giving your new family member a great head start.

An image from Shelter Yoga hosted at HSSPV in October 2018 with Outlaw Yoga Studio. For a donation, participants were able to enjoy an hour of yoga practice surrounded by a litter of 7 week old puppies and their mom. This was a great socialization opportunity for these youngins.

Why It’s Important to Socialize Your Puppy

Socializing your puppy is a critical step for positive development. A lack of early socialization is the leading causes of behavioral problems in dogs, and poor socialization early on leads to fear, shyness or aggression toward new people and animals.

The purpose of socialization is to help expose your puppy to all kinds of sights, sounds and smells in a positive way. Proper socialization can prevent a dog from being fearful of children, reacting aggressively when meeting other dogs or avoiding riding in the car. Ultimately, the goal is to help your puppy become a well-mannered, happy companion who is unafraid of the world around him.

When the critical window of socialization is missed, it becomes much harder to work with your dog and desensitize them to new experiences. You’ll never be able to make as significant of an impact in your dog’s life as you can during puppyhood, and some dogs that miss out during this time never fully recover.

When Should You Socialize Your Puppy?

According to the American Kennel Club, the best time to socialize your puppy is from 7 weeks to 4 months old. During this time, puppies go through a socialization period that permanently shapes their future personality and how they will react to things in their environment as an adult.

Health concerns

12 week old puppies interacting with new and different kinds of people at an adoption event.

Most young puppies are not fully protected against disease until they’ve had all their puppy shots. But if your wait until your puppy has all his shots before socializing him, you’ll miss that critical window.

The good news is that if you take some commonsense precautions while socializing your puppy, the risk of infection is quite small compared to the much larger risk of your puppy developing serious behavior problems with fear and aggression later in life. According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, “behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age.”

But remember, puppies should not be taken to the dog park until they receive their full series of vaccinations. Instead, keep socialization limited to cleaned spaces such as puppy classes, where the risk of infection is much lower.

Tips for How to Socialize Your Puppy

Introduce your puppy to new things: To a puppy, the whole world is new, strange and unfamiliar. New sights, new smells and new friends are everywhere! And each encounter is an opportunity to make a new, positive association for your puppy. Try to introduce your puppy to as many different types of people, places, noises and textures as you can. Simple things, like having him walk on different types of surfaces – carpet, hardwood or tile – and introduce him to people who look different, both physically and wearing different types of clothes. Think: Old, young, short, tall, different skin colors, baggy clothes, hats, sunglasses, wheel chairs, etc. The more your puppy is exposed to early on, the less surprised he’ll be when he is older.

Make every interaction positive: The best way to keep it friendly and positive is to include plenty of treats and praise so that your puppy associates what he’s being exposed to and the feeling of experiencing something new as a fun thing. Keep in mind that dogs can read our emotions, so if you’re nervous introducing your puppy to something new, your puppy will be nervous, too.

Involve new people: By having different people taking part in the socialization process, you’re continuously taking the puppy out of his comfort zone, letting him know that he’ll be okay experiencing something new, no matter who he is with.

Take everything one step at a time: Try to avoid overwhelming your puppy by doing too much too fast. Take the socialization process slowly to give you puppy a chance to adjust. You want to avoid exposing him to too much too quickly, resulting in a fear response in the future.

Explore public spaces: Once your puppy is used to the small amounts of stimuli, it’s time to move outside of his comfort zone and expand the amount of new experiences he’ll have. After he’s started his vaccination series, take him to a pet shop or to a friend’s house for a puppy play date. Talk to your veterinarian to decide when it’s safe to take your puppy to the dog park and be sure to follow the dog park’s rules and safety protocol when doing so.

Sign up for a local puppy class: Once your puppy has started his vaccinations, you should also look into puppy classes – training classes designed specifically to socialize and instill a good training foundation for your pup. He’ll learn basic commands and get valuable exposure to other dogs and people.

Beyond the Puppy Years: Training Classes at HSSPV

Ahmia, Manager of Behavior and Training, works with a client’s puppy in one of HSSPV’s 6 session obedience group class. This puppy is on track to becoming a well mannered canine!

Whether you’ve adopted a new puppy or found a slightly older companion at a shelter, you can take steps to help your new family member engage with the world in a positive way. This is best done through training classes with a certified and trusted trainer using positive training methods.

According to the American Kennel Club, “Dogs that are trained using positive methods learn to enjoy training and develop an eagerness to please. Positive methods also foster trust and communication between owner and dog, leading to a stronger bond.”

At the Humane Society of South Platte Valley, we offer a series of positive training classes designed to give your dog every opportunity to be the best companion they can be.

We offer both group training and private classes taught by our highly experienced and certified trainer. Learn more about our training classes and behavior services.

If you are interested in joining our 6-week group training class or scheduling private behavior training, we encourage you to reach out to behaviorandtraining@hsspv.org today.