Spinning in a Shelter

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Melody
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Spinning in a Shelter

Postby Melody » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:58 pm

I am volunteering on weekends at the local SPCA, it's a small shelter with around 30 dogs. They do not kill for space, and will keep dogs as long as possible to find them good homes. Some of the long term residents are kennel spinners...they spin spin spin spin when someone wants up to or just by their cage. I have heard some people call this "kennel crazy". Whatever you want to call it, the dogs doing this are highly unadoptable, as they may scare potential owners. In addition to getting the dogs out more, and implementing daily training sessions, what else can be done to help the "spinners"? I have no experience in correcting this type of behavior and I am really hoping someone can help point me in the right direction. I'm working on properly temperament testing all the dogs at the shelter so that they made all find suitable homes and get a proper training plan started for them. I'm also working on training the full time staff how to train simple behaviors that will help the dogs get adopted - like sit, lay down, walking nicely on a leash and not jumping up to greet someone.

I do have video of one of the dogs, a pit bull, spinning in the kennel that I would be glad to send to someone if you would like to see the behavior. It's a very fast spin, which is accompanied by lots of barking and pacing - clearly a stressed out dog.

Thanks for any insight and advice!

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tiva
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Re: Spinning in a Shelter

Postby tiva » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:09 pm

This is a stress response to confinement. You see it a lot in bad zoos. It's usually classified as an OCD disorder. Prevention is a lot better than trying to treat it. Pat Miller has an excellent article about it in WHOLE DOG JOURNAL:
http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues ... 062-1.html

Meds can help, but what's probably more important is working with the shelter to figure out how to prevent this in their future dogs. Better barriers, lower noise levels, a lot more bonding opportunities, and much more environmental stimulation are all strategies.

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tiva
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Re: Spinning in a Shelter

Postby tiva » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:10 pm

I hate to say it, but long-term life in a shelter can be crueler for some dogs than euthanasia. Some dogs adapt well to shelter environments. Other dogs do not, unfortunately.

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Re: Spinning in a Shelter

Postby Melody » Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:02 pm

Thanks for the info. I'll check out the link. As far as the shelter, the set up seems fine, and the dogs cannot see each other side by side - only across the kennel. Each run is separated by a cement block wall, inside and outside, with chainlink doors.

I'm working on a toy drive right now for mentally stimulating/food dispensing toys to help keep them busy. I'm also trying to help them put together a better volunteer base where more people can come in and just walk the dogs and play with them - right now at best the dogs get out of their kennels 30 minutes a day. Unfortunately I have to work during the week, and I'm leaving in around 6 weeks to move back to South FL so I have A LOT to do in a very little time.

Thanks again for the info!

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Re: Spinning in a Shelter

Postby star_frances » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:26 pm

Temple Grandin also discusses this in her book "Animals Make Us Human", she calls it "stereotypy".

"stereotypies are defined as abnormal behaviors are that repetitive, invariant, ... and seemly pointless."

Here are some links to some shelter enrichment programs:

http://www.aspcapro.org/enrichment-for-shelter-dogs.php

http://www.aspcapro.org/mackenzies-anim ... ent-pr.php

http://www.americanhumane.org/assets/do ... chment.pdf

http://www.iaacwo.org/2010/09/20/casa-d ... s-at-iacc/

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Re: Spinning in a Shelter

Postby star_frances » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:30 pm

I wonder if even something as simple as a few DAP diffusers plugged in around the kennel runs would help some of the dogs? Just a thought.

http://www.amazon.com/DAP-Appeasing-Phe ... B000O5HUEA

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Re: Spinning in a Shelter

Postby MissKitty » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:40 pm

I don't have any advice, but I can totally commiserate.
At a shelter here that I have gotten a lot of dogs from, once a dog starts spinning they immediately are put on the euth list. It is tragic because the shelter has no play area (and I don't think they have volunteers) so the dogs go kennel crazy really quickly.

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Re: Spinning in a Shelter

Postby Melody » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:12 pm

Thanks for those links Star Frances. I too have thought about the DAP Diffusers, I'll have to see if there's even places to plug them in. Everything gets hosed out in the kennel daily so other than the laundry area, I don't know if there's any electrical outlets since that might be a fire hazard.

And it's really sad to see the ones that have gone kennel crazy. Most of them are good dogs outside of the kennels, but they show so terribly that no one wants to take them out for a meet & greet! This shelter gets 80% labs and pit bulls (and mixes thereof...) lots of working/active breeds that just crumble mentally when stuck in a kennel for 23.5 hours a day.

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Re: Spinning in a Shelter

Postby Amie » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:00 pm

My advice: Start hitting up donors for work-to-eat toys and do away with the food bowls. More exercise, absolutely, and give them more mental stimulation as well.

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Re: Spinning in a Shelter

Postby Melody » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:52 am

So I'm doing a toy drive (for enriching toys, like Kong Wobblers and Tug-A-Jug) and I'm putting together a daily enrichment program that I will present to the director on Saturday. They have a nice area fenced off with some beginner agility items. I'm going to see if I can train the full time employees how to train the dogs to do the jumps, and see if we can get a tunnel donated, and other things for the dogs to do.

I really wish I wasn't leaving the area so soon. There's so much that needs to be done with this little shelter.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions and reading material!

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Re: Spinning in a Shelter

Postby star_frances » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:10 pm

I have a few work-to-eat toys and other things I can donate, if you can post the address or send me a PM. If I am putting a box together anyways - what other types of things can they use?

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Melody
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Re: Spinning in a Shelter

Postby Melody » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:18 pm

star_frances wrote:I have a few work-to-eat toys and other things I can donate, if you can post the address or send me a PM. If I am putting a box together anyways - what other types of things can they use?


YAH! Thank you so much!! :bowdown:

Outer Banks SPCA
Attn: Rich Crino
1031 Driftwood Drive
Manteo, NC 27954

The only other thing I can think of is collars. Some dogs don't have a collar.

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star_frances
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Re: Spinning in a Shelter

Postby star_frances » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:57 pm

Melody wrote:The only other thing I can think of is collars. Some dogs don't have a collar.


Oh, that I can do, too. =)

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Re: Spinning in a Shelter

Postby Mooresmajestic » Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:29 pm

Also see if anyone is giving/throwing away any of those plastic children's play cube things and put them in the exercise yard. Dogs love playing in and on them! Not the best pic, but it gives you an idea of what I'm talking about... I got this one for free when someone was throwing it away!

Image

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Re: Spinning in a Shelter

Postby Melody » Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:49 am

Mooresmajestic wrote:Also see if anyone is giving/throwing away any of those plastic children's play cube things and put them in the exercise yard.


Awesome idea! I will check around on CL. Thanks!


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