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Socialization can go a long way for shelter dogs!

Socialization of animals is the process of training animals to enjoy interactions with their environment, people and other animals. This is a very important process which varies in time and requires focus and commitment. The end result however is very rewarding for both the owner and companion animal. Rehoming/adoptability greatly depends on an animals’ level of socialization; the more human friendly an animal, the greater the chance for them to be adopted/re-homed. Some animals, especially shelter animals whether rescues or those with a history of abuse or neglect, are particularly anxious, fearful and in some cases aggressive.

At the TTSPCA Tobago Shelter, staff members are the primary persons available to offer socialization to the cats and dogs; however, due to limited resources and the daily demands of running a shelter, we are not physically able to offer the amount of socialization many of our animals require. Volunteers at the shelter with guidance from our staff can come in and give the animals the positive interactions they need through walking dogs, playing with the animals and even training them should they be so experienced. Some even foster to offer one on one care and attention which really help the animals with trust and accepting affection.

The more positive reinforcement given for a GOOD BEHVAIOUR increases the chances of this merging into its personality to make them more adoptable.

Most shelter dogs are either abused or under-socialized before entry and this limits their ability to show off their true personalities. At our shelter we have a perfect example of a dog in need of a chance of being adopted but he lacks proper human interaction making him very flighty when persons are around. His name is Milo (see picture)! I’ve been working with Milo for a few weeks now; my routine involves having him in a quiet free roaming environment, positive re-enforcement of good behaviours with tasty treats and constantly showing love and compassion by grooming, brushing and petting him. Calmly being in a dogs’ presence can help build trust with them, but it takes an everyday commitment which we cannot always give to our animals. He has come a long way from where we started but he still has some way to go. With daily interactions and enforcements of positive behaviour he would be the best companion dog for any family.

Volunteering at the shelter increases socializing skills of all our animals, thus increasing their chances of being adopted from our shelter. If you are interested in volunteering/adopting/fostering or you require further information, assistance or have questions for us, you can contact us at 639-2567 or email us at For emergencies you can contact us at 309-0219.

Author: Jacquie James, Animal Care Attendant at the TTSPCA Tobago Shelter.
Last Updated: 2018-12-07T19:42:28.740Z