on Wednesday, May 23, 2018
The ARL is known as a national leader in animal behavior, but a first-of-its-kind partnership has given us a chance to pass on our knowledge to help street dogs overseas.
Dimitrije Radanovic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) began interning at the ARL in early December with the goal of learning everything he could about dog behavior and training. Next month, he’ll take that knowledge back with him to BiH to help animal shelters working with the large population of street dogs in the region.
Dimitrije was hand-picked by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) because of his compassion for animals and his talent in working with dogs. He has been trying to help the street dogs in his hometown since childhood, and was the first there to adopt one. IFAW reached out to the ARL because of our experience in behavior work with multiple species, and we jumped at the chance to work with Dimitrije.
Since he arrived, Dimitrije has been shadowing all aspects of dog behavior and sheltering at the ARL, including behavior assessments for shelter dogs, canine body language, dog training classes and canine enrichment.
“If I ask, they have an answer for every question,” Dimitrije said.
He said his work here as opened his eyes to dog behavior and body language, making it easier to understand how to help behavior-challenged dogs. He said he came to the ARL with the idea that dog training needed to be a mix of reward and punishment, but now after working with dogs in the shelter, he sees how reward-based training alone is just as effective.
While he is loving the experience at the ARL, he’s excited to put that knowledge into action, helping change culture in his own country to help both the street dogs and people of BiH.
“Almost every day I think of things at my own shelter and know how to help the dogs I remember that were struggling. I can’t wait to go back and start working.”
(Pictured: Dimitrije working with a shelter dog at the ARL)