The Pet Placement Center is receiving grant funding from the Pedigree Foundation to help cure a common problem at the shelter: people who return their adopted pets because of behavioral issues.
PPC's Adopt & Stay program is one of 12-13 recipients of the Pedigree Foundation's Innovation Grant nationwide, said PPC/Tennessee Humane Animal League Executive Director Kerry Moyers-Horton.
"The Pedigree Foundation is amping up grant programs focused on behavioral modification, or anything that will help the animals' well-being while in the shelter," she said, adding that the return rate for dogs at her shelter, while lower than average nationally, is 18 percent. "We want to get it to less than 10 percent."
Most behavioral problems, such as jumping on humans or refusing to be walked on a leash, can be fixed with obedience classes, she said.
Through the grant funds, PPC will offer those who adopt designated Adopt & Stay program dogs a free six-week obedience class at Play Dog eXcellent on Dayton Boulevard. The certificate for the class is good for up to two months following the adoption, Moyers-Horton said.
"The [pet] owner is in charge of choosing the class," she said, adding that four classes are available to choose from, all of which are held one day a week. "PDX is a great place. They're really up to working with people and they have really good trainers there."
The grant provides funding for 105 dogs to go through the program. All the money must be spent by the end of the year or be returned to Pedigree. Moyers-Horton said 14-15 dogs will be selected for the program each month, and the dogs chosen will be marked as such on the Pet Placement Center website.
Those considering adoption can look at photos and find out information about each dog in the program before visiting the shelter.
"Why not take advantage of something that's free that's going to benefit you and your dog?" she asked in regard to why potential pet owners should consider a dog in the program. "When you have a trained dog it's better for you and your family."
According to Moyers-Horton, the average number of dogs adopted at the shelter each month is 20, so roughly three-quarters of those in custody will receive training. They were selected based on factors such as age and ability to learn.
The average cost to adopt is $90 for an adult dog or $125 for a puppy, though the cost depends on the dog. Every dog adopted is spayed or neutered, treated with flea and heartworm preventative, micro-chipped, heartworm tested and vaccinated.