Treat Pails for Shelter Dogs

Treat Pails for Shelter Dogs

If you have visited either of our domestic shelters lately, you may have noticed the shiny, silver treat pails hanging from the dogs’ kennels. These buckets contain treats that people passing can hand out to the dogs.  The buckets have a sign on them that tells you to give the dogs a treat when their feet are on the floor.

As you can imagine, being in a kennel most of the time can be hard for dogs. Although our volunteers and staff take the dogs out of the kennels a few times every day, our goal with the treat pail program is to ensure that the dogs are as happy as possible during the time they need to be kenneled.

Giving the dogs a treat as you pass helps them (and us) by:

  • Creating a positive association with people passing the kennel: some dogs are either fearful or overly excited by people passing their kennel. If people passing the kennel usually hand out a yummy treat, the dogs are happier and less stressed.
  • Making their kennel a fun place: if time in the kennel is accented by occasional treats, it’s not so hard to wait for their forever family to find them.
  • Teaching them good doggy manners: once they learn that they are more likely to get treats if they are quiet and their feet are on the floor instead of jumping around and barking, they will be quiet and calm more often.
  • Giving adopters a fun way to interact with the dogs as they look for a pet to add to the family: seeing how happy the dogs are to receive their treats can help families decide which dogs may be a good addition to their family.
  • Giving them a little interaction even when volunteers and staff are busy: it only takes a second to drop a treat into a kennel!

How can you help make this program more effective the next time you visit us?

  1. Never give out treats to a dog that is barking, jumping, or behaving aggressively.
  2. Always give treats to dogs that are standing with their feet on the floor or sitting politely.
  3. It is not necessary to say, “sit”, as most of our dogs are still learning and don’t know what that word means yet.
  4. Turn your side to the animals, and don’t stare at their faces. This helps them trust you.

If you’re interested in participating in our kennel enrichment programs, sign up as a volunteer!  We have a number of ways you can help ranging from making sure the treat pails are filled every day to training shelter dogs and cats.  We would love to have you join our team!  To become a volunteer, email: Volunteer@humaneanimalrescue.org

Consider donating soft treats to help fill our Treat Pails!


Written by:


Kellie Snider
Director of Behavior Services
ext. 214