“The first step of this process was to find some dog friends for Arie who would help teach by example,” Russ Stewart, development coordinator for MLAR, told The Dodo. “We found that Arie enjoyed the company of puppies and younger dogs, so we paired him with a few of the younger ones from our playgroups.”
Once Arie was settled in, he started shy dog and home school classes, which help dogs gain confidence through specialized training in a “mock home” setting. Arie learned how to solve special puzzles, and alongside other dogs, got acclimated to sights and sounds that one would typically find in a home — like the noise an empty water bottle makes if someone drops it.
“Home school gives them a foundation to build off of by exposing them to things like microwaves, vacuums, TVs and furniture and connecting them to positive experiences,” Stewart explained. “I personally have adopted puppy mill survivors who spent their lives in a wire cage or concrete cell and this program is a lifesaver.”