Mitigating Kennel Stress with APA’s Enrichment Program

At the APA, we’re committed to creating an environment for our furry friends that is as stress-free as possible. In our effort to prevent or alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress, which is common in animal shelters, every one of our staff members is required to complete Fear Free training, which teaches techniques and strategies that help reduce these negative emotional states in the animals we care for. Our Behavior and Enrichment team works closely with the pets in our care and provides insight on how we to best address the individual needs of the animals, allowing them to thrive and remain both engaged and content.

Understanding Kennel Stress

Kennel stress can take a toll on dogs when they’re confined in close quarters with fellow canines. This overwhelming environment, filled with fear, stress, anxiety, and noise, can lead to various stress behaviors, such as pacing, panting, barking, and reactivity. To tackle kennel stress, enrichment is the key.

The Power of Enrichment

Enrichment is the process of stimulating an animal’s natural instincts and behaviors. At the APA, we employ a variety of techniques and activities to keep our dogs mentally and physically engaged. Some of our enrichment methods include:

  • Snuffle mats and sniffing activities
  • Peanut butter Kongs and licky mats
  • Broth, pumpkin, and wet food pupsicles
  • Busy bones and a diverse range of toys
  • Multiple daily walks combined with playtime
  • Snuggle sessions and doggie dates
  • Bubble-blowing sessions and introducing new scents
  • Weekly pack walks at both locations. Sign up here.

However, for some dogs, kennel stress can be especially challenging, impacting their mental well-being. In such cases, the best strategy is to remove the dog from the kennel area altogether. We implement this through:

  • Housing the dog in a quiet shelter area
    • Often times in APA’s office where they can be with other people.
  • Seeking foster homes, apply now
  • Sponsoring adoption fees
  • Strategic marketing to reduce their length of stay


At the APA, our mission is to provide the best care for our dogs, ensuring they’re happy and healthy while they await their forever homes. Kennel stress is a challenge, but with our comprehensive Behavior and Enrichment program, combined with support from our volunteers and team members, we’re making strides in mitigating its impact and ensuring that every dog’s stay with us is as stress-free as possible.

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