Epic came to Detroit Dog Rescue (DDR) with very severe wounds, the dog’s neck had deep gashes around it, likely from having a too-small collar on for too long. There was old scar tissue indicating that this dog had suffered for some time.
Kristina Millman-Rinaldi founded DDR and made a promise to Epic as well as the other dogs at the no-kill shelter, their lives will be filled with calm, loving experiences — but first, they need a bath.
Detroit Dog Rescue’s dogs, who’ve often endured abuse and struggle before coming into the shelter and bath time can be stressful, even for dogs with the most luxurious lives.
Millman-Rinaldi and her staff do one simple thing to help Epic and the other dogs learn to enjoy their baths: smear lots and lots of peanut butter on the shower wall. This program is called “Peanut Butter Bath Time.”
The dogs get so distracted by their tasty treat that they often forget to be terrified and begin to associate bath time with delicious rewards.
“Oh my gosh, we go through so much peanut butter at Detroit Dog Rescue! Over 40 jars per month,” Millman-Rinaldi said. Jif is the preferred brand: “the largest jars we can find.”
DDR uses peanut butter, as well as other treats, like cheese, to make every activity and training session, even medical procedures, as fun as possible.
“Detroit Dog Rescue’s whole entire animal care program is centered around positive reinforcement and force-free handling,” Millman-Rinaldi said.
“I’ve been right where these dogs are, a lot of people on our staff have felt like these dogs, so we do everything possible to make them feel confident and loved,” Millman-Rinaldi said. “It takes patience, it takes enrichment, it takes thinking outside of the box. And a lot of peanut butter. So much peanut butter.”
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