SD Humane Society gets $100,000 grant to help dogs adapt

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The San Diego Humane Society has received a $100,000 grant from the PEDIGREE Foundation to support its host committee program, officials announced Tuesday.

The program aims to “reduce the adjustment period for dogs entering the shelter, build relationships with people and decrease fear, anxiety, stress and frustration”. It focuses on incoming dogs that display fear- or stress-based behaviors during their first 24-48 hours of care.

The grant will be spread over two years.

“We are sensitive to the stress an animal experiences when it arrives at a shelter,” said SDHS Vice President of Behavioral Programs Amanda Kowalski. “If we can be very sensitive to their feelings from the start and respond in a way that teaches them how to deal with fear, anxiety and stress, we will also help them feel comfortable much faster and to promote resilience.

“Our positive approach often allows the dog to find a family much faster,” she said.

Some welcoming committee tactics include rewarding dogs for calm and quiet behavior, “drive-thru treat tossing” to make dogs feel comfortable around people approaching their kennels, interactions without pressure and a leash without fear.

In 2013, SDHS opened its Behavior Center, which has “given more than 4,000 animals facing complex challenges a second chance at finding homes,” according to a statement from the organization.

In addition to providing vital training for shelter animals with behavioral issues, SDHS offers over 40 training courses, a behavioral helpline, and an online resource center with articles and videos.

More information about the SDHS training program can be found at

–City News Service

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