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The Train to Adopt techniques help shelter dogs appear both smart and attentive! Shelter dogs who have received some training are often viewed by the public as ‘special’, rather than victims of abuse and neglect. This training scrubs away some dirt and silt to reveal the pearls underneath. The issues facing animal shelters today are a far cry from the issues we dealt with in the 1970’s. Back then, animal shelters were euthanizing an estimated 23 million dogs and cats a year. It was the peak of pet overpopulation. A massive spay neuter campaign was launched which we believe has drastically reduced the dog overpopulation problem. Most significantly, this spay neuter campaign has reduced the number of litters of puppies entering the shelter system nationwide. And while populations vary depending on geography (the rural southern U.S. still gets litters of puppies and has a pet dog overpopulation problem, the northeast is experiencing a drastic reduction in dogs overall yet sees a large percentage of fighting and guarding dogs) the overall reduction in numbers of dogs entering our shelters is undeniable. According to current estimates, U.S. shelters are now euthanizing somewhere between two and five million dogs and cats annually. As a result, since shelters see the unwanted portion of the population, more dogs now end up in shelters due to behavior problems rather than overpopulation. This change in the profile of the shelter dog is occurring during what seems to be the peak of the public’s desire to adopt or rescue. Today, we have more adopters than ever, but we have fewer behaviorally adoptable animals. With fewer dogs overall, and a higher percentage who are problematic and difficult to place, shelters are holding dogs for longer periods of time than ever before.