Body language helps dogs get adopted at local humane society - Tucson News Now

Body language helps dogs get adopted at local humane society

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - The Humane Society of Southern Arizona is taking dog adoption to a higher level in an effort to better match dogs with a new owner.

HSSA Vice President Kerri Burns says seven employees are now nationally certified with the ASPCA to essentially read a dog's body movements. 

She says through the "SAFER" program, the employees are finding out the probability a dog will bite and increasing that dog's adoption potential.

Throughout a seven-minute test, the assessors are noting the dog's behavior from how it reacts to touch, to toys and even food.

Then they are modifying any behavioral problems before the dog is adopted.

Burns says to truly understand a dog's behavior, the assessors need to know what every movement means and they are doing that by using "dog speak."

During the test, assessors are saying things like "tails down, ears up, lip-licking."

Burns says "those are all cues that that dog is giving" like "stop what you're doing please or I really like what you're doing. So it's the way that you read the animal and actually do a true communication."

Dogs older than six months are taking part in the "SAFER" program.

Burns says they're seeing positive results and even catching medical problems that they're addressing before the dog goes to a new home. 

Currently there are around 350 animals being cared for at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

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