5 Best Tips to Help Clear the Shelters

In honor of Clear the Shelters Day, we're featuring an article from Meg Marrs, the Founder of K9 of Mine.

Clear the Shelters day is coming up on Saturday! The goal? To get all the pups adopted! In an attempt to make this an epic day of adoption, here are some recommendations on how you can help get your own local shelter cleared out!

1. Photograph Shelter Pets To Improve Their Appearance

We can’t all be master photographers, but those who do have photography experience can make a tremendous difference in the lives of shelter pets.

Most shelter pets don’t have the prettiest online profiles. Many dogs have their profile pic taken when they first arrive at the shelter. The dogs are frightened, dirty, and the photos are sometimes taken from behind a crate door.

Professional (or even amateur pet photographers in training) can use their photo skills to capture shelter dogs on their best days, helping would-be adopters see the dog’s charm and individual personality. The right picture can entrance a viewer online and bring them right into the shelter to see the pup they fell in love with online!

2. Volunteer at Your Local Animal Shelter

Most shelters are stretched thin when it comes to resources, and it’s usually impossible for shelter staff to grant all visitors adequate attention.

The problem is, shelters can be as overwhelming for humans as they are for animals!

For new shelter visitors, having a volunteer available to guide them around the area and point out certain favorite dogs can make a tremendous difference.

Try to find out what kind of dog the visitors are looking for - do they want a small or large dog? Any certain breeds in mind? What kind of qualities do they want in a dog (kid-friendly, dog-friendly, high-energy, low-energy)?

We have a dog adoption guide that includes a dog trait checklist would-be adopters can use to evaluate various adoption candidates. While it may sound a bit odd, having a pet scorecard to rate different dogs can really help narrow down the huge number of shelter pets available.

For Clear the Shelters day, do your best to keep on hand a list of dogs that meet the most-requested criteria (house trained, kid-friendly, dog-friendly, cat-friendly, and can be left alone). While very few dogs will meet all of those criteria, there are probably many that at least meet one or two of those often-desired traits!

3. Post on Social Media That Now’s the Time to Adopt!

Be sure to get the word out about Clear the Shelters day on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or whatever your social media network of choice is!

Post pics of your favorite pooches and make sure to tag your local animal shelter. If you can, include the shelter address right in your post to make it as easy as possible for potential adopters to get in the shelter doors on Saturday and get out with a pup!

4. Put Up Posters For Your Favorite Shelter Dog

If you frequently volunteer at a neighborhood shelter, now is a good time to create fun pup posters showcasing your favorite shelter dog’s qualities and quirks. In many cases, finding dogs their forever homes is all about getting attention - dogs who get noticed get adopted!

There are many ways to get shelter dogs seen by potential adopters - posting on social media is one popular method. But don’t discount the tried-and-true classic strategy of posting flyers! Pin up your favorite shelter dog’s promotional poster around cafes, schools, local veterinary offices, and community centers.

If can pin up some pup posters before August 17th, it will help would-be adopters have a few eligible adoption candidates in mind when they show up for Clear The Shelters Day!

5. Bring a Foster Pooch Home For A While

Many dogs get stressed out by the shelter, and their behavior can be negatively impacted as a result. I’ve seen many mouthy, jumpy, relatively rude dogs become totally pleasant pups once they are in a loving home and out of the chaotic shelter environment.

Since many dogs show immensely improved behavior in foster homes, they end up becoming much more eligible for adoption when in foster care. Would-be adopters get to see the dog’s true nature without the shelter stress.

Consider welcoming a foster dog into your home and showing them what life is like in a caring home.

If you have a bit of dog training experience, you can try working with your foster dog to brush up on their basic manners. Potential adopters are much more likely to take home a dog that can do some basic commands like sit, lie down, and stay.

Don’t have any dog training experience? Many shelters offer basic training classes for volunteers, and there are plenty of great free dog training videos online. Just make sure you’re taking advice from pros, as there is a lot of misinformation out there from not-so-reputable trainers!

Will you be lending a hand at your local animal shelter on August 17th? Let’s clear the shelters Saturday!

About the Author: Meg Marrs is the Founder of K9 of Mine, a dog care website dedicated to helping owners take the very best care of their canine companions through training guides, gear reviews, dog food analysis, and more!

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