Last year, AHS began exploring ways to build housing that would better meet the needs of the dogs in our care. As part of that process, AHS leaders visited animal organizations throughout the country to see the latest advances in shelter housing. They found that even the newest shelters were still housing dogs in the traditional way — in rows of individual kennels with no shared space for socialization and play.
So AHS embraced the challenge of building something better. Completed after months of planning and construction, our new habitat prototype in Golden Valley includes private areas where dogs can take a break and shared spaces that encourage dogs to interact with potential adopters and each other in a more natural, inviting setting.
Dogs, like people, are social animals, and housing them in individual kennels in environments that are flooded with sensory information — like the smells and sounds of other dogs — can cause stress and anxiety. We believe this new housing prototype will ease those stresses and help dogs stay happier and healthier during their time in shelter.
AHS staff began testing the prototype in March, and already, we've seen a positive change in behavior for dogs utilizing the space.
Everything is being documented for further research, because what we learn now will inform the way we build dog housing in the future. The ultimate goal is giving shelter dogs a better experience, which is all part of our mission of doing more for animals.
We plan to open the new dog habitat prototype to the public in June. Keep watching for updates!