Dog Enrichment & Rehabilitation Strategy

Over the past 3 months, we’ve been working hard with our staff and canine behaviourist on a new enrichment strategy for the dogs in the Sanctuary’s care.

This strategy is all centred around giving the very best care to our dogs to ensure that we help get them ready for a forever home by making sure they are calm, socialised in a controlled manner, secure and happy! This includes mental and physical stimulation and as little stress as possible.

We’ve identified that we needed to put in place enrichment that was:

  • Consistent
  • Varied in Activity
  • Operationally Efficient

Consistency

Dogs thrive on consistency and routine. It makes them happier and feel more secure.

We now have a more structured approach to enrichment that logs each dogs’ activity each day, with more detail than before. What this also means is that we can monitor progress more easily and see which animals are responding better to certain enrichment activities.

Variation

The previous system of enrichment was very walk-centric thanks to our kind and devoted volunteer base. We’ve identified that this needs to be more varied (as walks are often not the most rewarding activity for some of our more difficult dogs) and now includes:

  • Walk by a staff member
  • Training
  • Playtime in yard/kennel
  • Grooming
  • 1 to 1 time
  • Time in exercise area
  • Walk by a volunteer

Many of our dogs have behavioural issues and, in some cases, 20 minutes 1 to 1 with staff they know and trust is more beneficial and rewarding than a 30 min walk with a volunteer.

Operationally Efficient

As you know, the Sanctuary employs less than 20 staff. The previous system for dog walking was inefficient and unpredictable as volunteers were able to register and arrive when they wished.

As part of this new plan, staff now have a more structured system to work to and are able to plan walks by volunteers around their other enrichment work. It is important that we keep to this schedule.

What this means for our volunteer dog walkers

Dog-walking times for registered volunteers are 9:30am to 12:15pm on Saturdays and Sundays only.

On weekdays, dogs will be taken for walks by a number of volunteers who are able to commit to specific times.

This new format means all dogs receive a varied, balanced and positive form of enrichment.

We are not taking on new volunteer dog walkers at this time.

This is to avoid disappointment as we often run out of dogs at weekends, well before the end of dog walking time. We appreciate your support so much and we don’t want people arriving only to be told there’s no dogs left!

We hope you agree that this system is much more beneficial for our animals. If you need more information – please contact info@oascharityorg.uk and we’ be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Lastly, huge thanks to all of our volunteer dog walkers – we are incredibly grateful for the support.