In a good dog school, dogs and their people learn how to communicate well with one another and regularly practice these skills under expert guidance. Knowing how to treat dogs appropriately and how to integrate them into our everyday life is the basis of every successful human-dog relationship. In Chilean society, however, this knowledge is almost nonexistent, which is one of the main reasons for the immense stray dog problem in the country.
Each day, the members of the “Chilean Federation for Animal Welfare” network have two challenges when they try to rescue abandoned, sick and starving stray dogs: First they try to restore the health of the animals. Secondly, after finally having found a new home for their furry protégés, they discover that the new owners do not know how to handle the animals and subsequently return them to the shelter.
In order to tackle this problem at the root, our Chilean partner organization, Homeless Paws Shelter, wants to take a small but important first step and offer dog training for potential dog adopters and interested dog owners in the neighbourhood. In addition, workshops and practical seminars are planned for the other animal rights activists in the network in order to affect positive outcomes for all groups
Homeless Paws will soon start with the implementation of a plan that was already formulated as part of our “Learning from Each Other” project series in October 2019 when the German zoo keepers visited Chile. At that time, regular training sessions with the shelter dogs were conducted over a period of three weeks; first in a quiet, demarcated area of the shelter, then also in public. Later on, the daily walk had become an integral part of Homeless Paws’ work schedule. As the dogs learned to walk relaxed on a leash, it increased their chances for a successful adoption. Unfortunately the onset of the corona pandemic and the subsequent strict bans regarding personal movement in Chile made it impossible to practice in public, but it is still possible to practice on the grounds of the shelter.
In April, the Director of Homeless Paws will travel to Germany and implement the first three-month Education Internship for becoming a dog trainer. The path to Certification is long, intense and expensive. However, the young woman Intern who has been selected is committed to traveling to and from Chili on a yearly basis for several years in order to study, practice and then teach what she has already learned to her fellow staff and the local citizens.
FinnDomingo e.V.will support our first Intern in this meaningful project, not only financially, but also by establishing an international voluntary service. We have already identified the first dedicated young woman for this program. Hopefully she will soon be able to travel to Chile and support the Homeless Paws team by working at the shelter when the Director is absent.