One of the things that rocks my world is getting to help with play groups.  What does that mean?  Have a looksie:

Pit Bulls Playing

Those are the faces of two very happy girls.  Every morning we take multiple dogs out and put them in play groups.  We rotate through the dogs that we know enjoy playing with friends and give them a seriously needed outlet for their pent up energy and kennel stress.

Pit Bulls Playing

Pit Bulls Playing

Not only does it tire the pups out in record time, and give them a mental breather, it also gives us valuable information about the dogs.

Crazy Eyes

Play Group

Play Group

For example, the crazy-eyed little pooch above seems rather anti-social when in her kennel, but the second you get her out she is a total social butterfly, bouncing from friend to friend, both canine and human.  Other dogs, like Armand (the black, tan, and white boy below) are painfully shy but quickly gain confidence when surrounded by canine friends.


FriendsAnd how do we figure out who likes play groups?  Well we test them of course!  Everyone gets a chance to see how they like it.  This lets us know if the dogs love canine friends, only prefer human friends, or fall somewhere in the middle.  Talk about valuable knowledge when speaking with potential adopters!  For example, if I know a certain dog really likes other dogs of the opposite sex, but not of the same, and a family is interested in her that happens to have a resident canine of the same sex, then I can warn them that it’s likely not a good match and work with them to find a different dog that would love their current canine and therefore be a success match.  By utilizing this knowledge on the front end I can prevent a dog from going home, things not going well, and getting returned to the shelter where she potentially may have developed behavioral problems.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Adoptable DogsA happy dog is a more adoptable dog; just another reason I am loving my job at the Jacksonville Humane Society.  Have you heard of play groups at shelters before?  What do you think about it?  Have you ever gotten to be part of this magical time?

All of the happy pooches seen here today are still looking for their forever homes!  If you are in the Jacksonville, FL area and in need of a playful friend email me or contact JHS!

8 thoughts on “Play!

  1. Oh Morgan! All of these photographs are so beautiful! Watching dogs play is such a wonderful thing! I bet they slept well that night! Bella gets all tuckered out when Grandma comes to visit! LOL

  2. Wonderful happy pictures! Never heard of play groups, but it sounds like it works wonders. It helps the dog avoid kennel stress and gives you helpful info to potential families. I am curious if you clicker train? I volunteered at a shelter that did it and also they partnered up with a lady who trains police dogs. So those that are “ball focused” would be taken out to the kennel runs and tested. Those that were solely focused on the ball were selected for police dog training.

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  4. I love the idea of play groups but soooo many shelters don’t like the idea at all 😦 I really wish we would get them going at the shelter I volunteer at now, besides all the awesome things you mentioned here it’s a great opportunity for pics (as you’ve shown) and a great way to show the dogs being social instead of just the same old boring, “Good with other dogs” on the website!


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