Dr Saskia Karius, CLAW vet         

About this page

This content and these resources have been gathered to help Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW) and other animal rescue/shelter Puppy Handling Teams (PHT)* to effectively teach good habits, life skills and socially acceptable behaviours whilst establishing the potential for loyal and trusting relationships between the Rescue Puppy (RP)** and humans (both people in the PHT rescue environment and in the future family home environment). In addition these resources aim to help educate the Puppy Handler to set the Rescue Pup up for future success by both instilling a useful set of life skills (and adaptive coping mechanisms) as well as maximising opportunities for socialisation (with other dogs, humans and other living beings that the RP is likely to encounter in his post-adoption life). 

My goal is to make the RP more adoptable and adaptable (ensuring that (s)he has the life skills and coping mechanisms to adapt from institutional shelter life to a warm loving family home life) where (s)he can become a cherished member of the family.

Our goal is not only to get our CLAWbies adopted, but to make sure they stay adopted! Only by ensuring they are adoptable and adaptable, and through both Puppy Training and community Pet Education (including educating prospective adopters), can we reduce the recidivism rate of our shelter residents and make our CLAWbies true doggy adoption ambassadors!

For the purpose of this site I shall refer to the shelter staff members (both professionals  e.g. vets and support staff e.g. cleaners), foster parents and volunteers (involved in the care and management of CLAW Rescue/ Shelter puppies) as the Puppy Handling Team (or PHT). The singular will be Puppy Handler (PH)

** For the purpose of this site I shall refer to the CLAW shelter puppies (or CLAWbies as we fondly refer to them) as Rescue Puppies (RPs)  These are puppies rescued, confiscated or voluntarily handed over, or born at CLAW (if a heavily pregnant bitch was rescued or handed over). These pups may either be in care at the CLAW shelter or in Foster Care. It is worth noting that some of these pups may have been bottle reared (which research is showing brings a whole host of other challenges to puppy development and socialisation). 

PLEASE NOTE: For the sake of simplicity I have split the information and resources into the different page categories: PuppyhoodReward PupTouch PupTalk PupSocial PupTeach Pup and a section about CLAW. There is however a lot of overlap and the content should be viewed holistically! 

They say with children, the greatest gifts a parent (or educator) can give a child, are “Roots and Wings”. Roots so they develop a sense of belonging and self, and wings so they can  explore the world and  find their own place in it. They need to rely on their roots (a sense of belonging and self confidence, plus the solid foundation of education) to set them up with the confidence to fly! In the same way, Puppy training and socialisation gives our RP’s the roots to ground them (Give them a sense of belonging and self worth - they develop the capacity for trust and learn fail safe social skills and life skills) - this makes them much more adoptable!… BUT more than that, our puppy training also provides them with wings that make them adaptable. Wings provide the ability to soar, the flexibility and versatility to cope with different stimuli in different environments and face with new social situations and scenarios. Only a well-grounded puppy (with roots) will become a well-rounded pet with wings!!!



To all the Puppy trainers, behaviourists,  authors, educators , designers and artists whose materials I have added to this page. These materials are copyrighted to their original developers and are only replicated here for reference, educational and illustrative purposes.

Much appreciation to Hills Pet Nutrition for Sponsoring me to study the Puppy School Course and providing Puppy food and treat bags for the CLAW PHT