Volunteer Section 4

Section 4

TFAWC Volunteer Program
Animal Handling/Training

True Friends Animal Welfare Center



True Friends is committed to bringing together a united community to protect the lives of our homeless animals as well as educate proper ownership.  It is our pursuit to place as many of our animal friends as possible into the compassionate homes they undeniably deserve.


True Friends Animal Welfare Center
Volunteer Handbook

TFAWC Correct Animal Handling, In and Out of the Shelter

1.         Treatment of Animals
2.         Collar and Lead
3.         Dog Walking 101
4.         In the Kennel Protocol
5.         Cat Cuddling Protocol (NOT COMPLETED YET)

Treatment of Animals

Our dogs, like our children, must be taught to live and respond in a structured society with rules, rewards and consequences. Our goal in raising our children and dogs is to instill an attitude of a happy, enthusiastic learner, ready to respond to any situation with a happy attitude.

Learning only takes place in a positive environment through fun and play. There is no learning through only discipline. Yes, there must be a structured discipline program in place for the proper understanding and respect for authority, but by no means is the discipline to be excessive.

Most dogs will strive for dominance at one time or another, but are just as happy to be followers rather than leaders. If challenged, the handler must show the dog their place by responding intelligently and understandably with a firm, yet loving hand.

One of the most valuable assets is the dog’s innate desire to please their master. As a dog trainer, you must realize that the subordinate has rights too, and to jeopardize this by being abusive or administering punishment out of sequence will only lead to mutiny by the dog, and rightfully so. Persons who are unreasonable, inconsiderate, impatient, ill- tempered or violent should not train a dog. All these behaviors will undermine your role as a leader to your dog.

Clear commands are important. Dogs understand body language. They must learn our words. Often our body language says something different to the dog than what our words are saying. Dogs will normally follow the body language command first. Remember to be consistent with both your body language and your verbal command.

Animals are to be treated kindly, gently, and professionally, at all times.

TFAWC Volunteer Animal Walking

All dogs need to be taken outside on a regular basis. This might be for a walk or they may be put out into one of the yards. Either way, the dog gets exercise and some fresh air. Dog walking is an important ritual in keeping dogs mentally stable. A dog is a natural born walker/traveler by instinct. Packs of dogs get up and walk regularly.

The important outside time that a dog receives depends on the availability of staff and the involvement of volunteers. TFAWC depends on our volunteers to help us and the dogs get the needed exercise, playtime, and bathroom breaks.

PLEASE recognize the signs when an animal has had enough handling and respect their limitations.

TFAWC Animal Handling

Collar and Lead

1.       The collar should be far up on the neck, which gives you more control over the dog. A body harness is recommended for walking dogs that pull with their weight. Harnesses go around the strongest point on the dog’s body. This may make it more difficult to control the dog. Keeping the lead high up on the neck, the same way they do in dog shows, will give you more control with less effort. Try not to allow the dog to pull and don’t constantly pull on your dog. Relax, stopping often to distract the dog and stop it from pulling.

2.       While walking, the lead should be short and hang loose when possible. If the dog starts getting too excited and you’re not keeping him beside or behind you, stop and make the dog sit or at least distract it. Wait until he is calm, and then start again. Do not call the dog when you start walking again. Just start walking. Pack leaders do not call the pack to come with them—the pack dogs instinctually follow. The dog needs to learn he is following the walker. If the dog is known to tug, DO NOT praise your dog for walking calmly. This only creates excitement and you are more likely to pull your dog out of his calm, submissive state.

Dog Walking 101

1.       If the dog is older, gets tired fast, and/or simply does not want to walk, please don’t walk that dog too much. Take a break, go back to the kennel or just put this dog in the yard. This applies to all dogs. Dogs will show you when they are tired. The main sign is that they will walk slower and have their tongue out. They also do this when they are hot.

2.       If a dog pulls a lot, train it not to pull by doing this: When your dog pulls, walk in the opposite direction, showing the dog that he/she is not getting a reward if it performs bad behavior. When he/she obeys, give lots of praise and then turn around and walk. Never pull or yank a dog to get it to do what you want. Instead, show the dog what you want by following the above suggestions. Make sure that you can handle the dog. NEVER walk a dog that you cannot handle or are nervous with. Walk with an even pace – not too slow or too fast.

3.       Have fun. Walking is one of the joys of volunteering – you and the dog have some exercise time and the dog can socialize. When you take your dog on a walk, allow time for sniffing and exploring. Don’t pull your dog with your leash as this can cause damage to the esophagus.

4.       If other dogs (on or off a leash), people, or any other animal are near where you are walking a dog, put distance between you and the other animal, stop while reestablishing a better hold, or start to walk away in the opposite direction. If other dogs or cats begin to approach you, do not run, but walk away at a normal pace. If the strange dog is leashed, still keep your distance. Observe your dog’s behavior, as well as the strange dog’s behavior. If either dog seems frightened or aggressive, walk away. If both dogs are curious, continue walking at a distance.
If there is any aggression or fear, remove your dog from the situation and walk—DO NOT RUN—away.

5.       NEVER let your dog off the leash unless you are in immediate physical danger. Don’t pull your dog with your leash as this can cause damage to his esophagus.

6.       Always be alert when walking; you never know what could happen. Make sure the collar, leash, and harness are secure, but not tight.

7.       Signs that your dog may be about to yank FREE: looking at something, acting distracted but alert, raised ears, raised tail, pulling, stopping and looking, or acting excited or scared. You should remain calm, talk to your dog, try to distract it, and be ready to pull back. Always verbally reward it if it doesn’t yank when it sees something.

8.       Never allow a dog to approach a child, stranger or another animal or allow the above to approach you or the dog. Identify yourself and follow the rules stated above, keeping you and the dog at a safe and controlled distance.

True Friends Animal Welfare Center
“Giving Animals a Safe Refuge & Hope for a Second Chance.”