The Second Chance Program started in April 2005 and since that time, 403 lives have been saved through the program (as of December 2021). You can visit the Twin Cedar K9 Second Chance Alumni web page to see some of our happy and very lucky graduates. If anyone is interested in coming out and meeting our Second Chance kids, you can give “Auntie Marge” a call at (209) 223-3194, or e-mail her at Margaret@twincedark9.com. We would love to hear from you.
Many dogs are euthanized every day just because they are not wanted. That is both their only crime and their legacy. I have seen this for many years during my work in area shelters. I professionally perform temperament testing and have seen too many good, happy dogs meet such a tragic end. So an idea was born: Using my current board and train program as a model, I put together a program to give a few lucky dogs a second chance at life.
In cooperation with the Calaveras Humane Society, Amador County Animal Control and through donations from the local community, a kennel was built to house the dog to be trained. We started with a 10’ X 10’ Magnum kennel with a dogloo and roof for each dog. As the program has grown, so has the Second Chance facility. The lucky dogs now get to stay in 100’ X 100’ runs that have calf houses bedded with straw and shavings to sleep in, swimming pools and lots of trees and shrubs to…… well, you know!!
The plan is to choose a dog from a local shelter that has reached death row and bring him/her to the kennel where they will stay and learn all the necessary skills to be a great pet. The training starts with basic manners. Walking on the leash and not bolting out the door are first, then accepting strangers in a calm and friendly manner. As they learn these manners, the program continues on to basic obedience. The lucky parolee will learn to heel, sit, lie down and stay on command. The sit and down commands are taught both on leash and off lead from a short distance away. Depending on how long the dog is in the program, some have even been started on off-lead obedience. In addition to the training, each day includes lots of play and exercise. Socialization and behavior around other dogs is learned and practiced during the group classes at Twin Cedar K9. During the informal visiting before and after a class, the second chance dog gets to come out of the kennel and say hello. Through the play and interaction with people he'll learn how to play nicely without jumping or biting. It is very easy to get too excited, especially for a former shelter inmate, but with consistent encouragement they learn quickly.
A key part of the program is that the dog is still owned by the local agency from where they started. The objective is to help these poor guys blossom into adoptable and sought after pets. While they stay, they are trained and taught to trust people again. When training and finishing school is complete they are ready to meet potential families to take him to his new home. The agency will have all the information and the adoption process will proceed as it would ordinarily. When a Second Chance dog is adopted the new owner will get a Go Home Lesson so they will know what their new dog knows and how to maintain the dogs training. All Second Chance dog owners are encouraged to come back for the group classes that are held every Saturday and Sunday to help maintain the dogs training and socialization.
Margaret Blair, owner of Twin Cedar K9, is a certified dog trainer who has been training and problem solving professionally since 1991. Margaret trains at her ranch located east of Jackson, California, in rural Amador County. She also breeds and trains working-line German Shepherd dogs for search and rescue, law enforcement, obedience, therapy work and as great family pets.
Twin Cedar K9