Digital Exclusive: New Canine Behavior and Enrichment Program

Digital Exclusive


“The enrichment we’ll be doing everything from aromatherapy to visual stimulation, to auditory, to puzzle games, and treats and different interactions with people. We’re gonna have people come up and do car rides, play music. A lot of things to get the dogs to think, problem-solve and puzzle-solving,” Jimmy Mancus, Behavior and Enrichment Coordinator at Griffin Pond Animal Shelter, said.

Griffin Pond Animal Shelter is starting a new program to help make their dogs happier while they stay in their temporary home. The Canine Behavior and Enrichment Program was spearheaded by Jimmy Mancus, who works at the shelter.

“Dogs are social creatures. They’re meant to run and jump and play and interact and drive, and interact with stimuli in their environment. The unfortunate reality of shelter dogs is that they don’t have that ability. They’re not free to go out and interact. So we have to bring the stimulation to them,” he said.

Mancus says the lack of stimulation can really affect a dog’s personality because they develop something called barrier frustration. It occurs when dogs can’t interact with other dogs and become overwhelmed by noise. He says research has shown that kenneling a dog is akin to solitary confinement for human prisoners.

“The more that they’re not allowed to interact as I said with other dogs, and go out in the environment and interact and socialize, the more problem behaviors develop, the harder it is on them not only psychologically but physically as well. It takes a toll on their body,” Mancus said.

The new program consists of five components: evaluation, enrichment, socialization, training, and behavior modification. This sort of program is unusual in shelters of the size of Griffin Pond. Larger shelters usually have more funding.

“We’re implementing it little by little now, but obviously we need help from the community with resources and things of that nature. So once we get that if we can get the help that we need, volunteers to come up and do it, we’ll really kick it into gear,” Mancus said.

The shelter has an Amazon Smile page that has everything listed that they need linked on their Facebook page.

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