Public Dog Walking at Austin Animal Center Made Simple!

dog walkiesYou may have seen one of the many pleas on social media for members of the public to come help walk some pups at Austin Animal Center, our city’s municipal, open-intake shelter.

While the shelter is working hard to expand their volunteer program and has rolled out an awesome new staff dog walking initiative, it’s going to take time for the situation to improve to the point where the dogs are receiving the quality of life they need and deserve.

But YOU can help!  And it’s easy!

 Public Dog Walker Guide for Austin Animal Center

  • Members of the public who are at least 18 years of age are allowed to walk dogs with green dots & GO signs on their kennels.
  • Just head to the shelter (7201 Levander Loop) between the public hours of 11am-7pm.
  • Green nylon leashes are provided at the shelter and dogs now have collars, so it’s easy to leash them up and go! You are also welcome to bring your own equipment (higher quality slip lead, martingale collar + leash, harness).
  • If you are not an official volunteer, you can’t leave the shelter grounds but there are large play pens you can take the dogs to.
  • There is a white board on the interior of each kennel row telling you which dogs have been out that day & at what time. When you walk a dog, write the time you took them out in the designated spot on the white board. 
  • There are treats in the “Treat for Calm” stations located between kennel buildings, as well as in a white bin under the sinks of the interior kennel row rooms. The row in the 300 kennels also has a fridge of Kongs you can pass out. Or you can always bring your own treats!
  • Bringing toys (PETCO sells 2/$5 ones) & chews to pass out helps too!  You can often find toys in large bins and storage drawers in the hallway of each interior kennel row.
  • Please only give toys/treats/kongs/chews to dogs housed in single kennels.  They can cause scuffles in the doubles & group housing kennels.
  • As a general rule, keep the dogs about 10 feet apart and don’t let dogs stop in front of other dogs’ kennels or occupied fenced play pens.  We don’t always know how dog social a pup is and, even those who typically love dog friends can be stressed by on-leash or through a barrier greetings in the confines of the shelter.
  • Wear tennis shoes (or other comfortable, sturdy walking shoes) & comfy clothes & have your camera ready to snap photos of cute adoptables!
  • Have a question?  Look for the volunteers in the bright yellow shirts & ask!

orange tagsThe dogs of Austin Animal Center thank you very much for improving their quality of life & adoption chances!  And if you decide you’re ready to become an official volunteer, we’d love to have you!

Now get out there, Austin!!


PS. Check out these great dog behavior cheat sheets before you go to make your time at the shelter even more successful & awesome!



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