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Open Paw in Shelters Materials for Implementing Open Paw Want to be an OP Shelter?Minimum Mental Health Requirements

Minimum Mental Health Requirements for Shelters

For Dogs
• A comfortable bed or den

• At least three daily opportunities to use a dog toilet area (outside of their kennel) and be rewarded for using it

• Sufficient entertainment (environmental enrichment or occupational therapy) including stuffed chew toys, such as Kongs or Big Kahunas

• Hand feeding, with any leftover food stuffed in chew toys, i.e., no feeding from bowls

• Interaction with at least 20 people each day, including at least 5 unfamiliar people

• Handling and grooming by at least 3 people a day, including 1 unfamiliar person

• Daily education (basic manners training) and mental stimulation (walk)

• Quiet kennel "downtime" each day (scheduled breaks from the public)

• At least 20 minutes out of their kennel run each day, used either for training, socialization, playtime, exercise or "downtime" in somebody’s office

• Canine companionship: once your shelter is implementing the other Minimum Mental Health Requirements regularly and reliably, you may want to begin to incorporate weekly, 20-minute play/train sessions between dogs.

• Puppies less than 4 months old must be housed together in a self-training, long-term confinement area, with constant access to a puppy toilet area, and fed only by hand (during classical conditioning and training) or from stuffed chew toys (i.e., no feeding from bowls). Puppies require daily handling, grooming, and manners training by at least 5 unfamiliar people. Puppies should be home fostered whenever possible.

For Cats
• A warm, clean environment with a comfortable hiding place
• A separate litter box area
• Litter box should be cleaned regularly (feces removed immediately when noticed)
• A convenient scratching post with suspended toys
• Interaction with at least 20 people daily, including at least 5 unfamiliar people
• Daily handling, gentling, and grooming by at least 3 people, including 1 unfamiliar person
• Feline companionship for social cats (group housing)

• Kittens less than 4 months old should be housed together in a self-training, long-term confinement area, with constant access to a scratching surface with suspended toys and a separate litter box area. Kittens require daily handling, gentling, and grooming by at least 5 unfamiliar people.

Read complete article on Minimum Mental Health Requirements, published in the Whole Dog Journal.

For more information about bringing Open Paw to your shelter facility, contact us at 510-644-0729 or e-mail kellyg@openpaw.org.




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