Popular Breeds

Marketing: How to Help a Shelter Dog Stand Out & Find a Forever Home

As a frequent shelter visitor, as well as follower of many on social media, I have seen what amazing things marketing can do to increase interest and adoption rates for shelter dogs. As we know, there are tons of homeless dogs looking for forever homes every single day, so helping them stand out from the crowd, and draw attention is essential in the effort in finding them forever homes!


What’s in a name? Well a lot actually. Names attract people’s attention, but can also bring a negative connotation that may contribute to breed stereotypes or myths. Consider a large Pit Bull mix; naming it Tank, Dagger, Trigger or Monster for example may very well influence a potential adopter by shaping their assumptions, or interpretations about that dog and perhaps their behavior. Even unconsciously, those types of visuals affect us, so walking through a kennel and seeing those types of names on a card; obviously aggressive, or reckless, tend to steer adopters away or towards another dog.

Instead, consider positive or popular names. Think of vacation spots, sports figures, cities, cartoon characters, and other like names that are conversation starters, or invoke positive thoughts or memories as an adopter walks through a kennel atmosphere. There is of course no one name that creates the same associations for every visitor, but by sticking with names that are traditionally positive, you set the dog up for success and a happy experience by those who visit your shelter or website.


A picture says a thousand words, so capturing high quality images of adoptable dogs is an integral part in helping them get noticed. It doesn’t have to be costly as you may have some untapped volunteer talent willing to shoot the pups for you, or perhaps a local photographer in the area they may be willing to donate their time. Either way, we as humans, are extremely visual, so as folks browse shelter Facebook pages, or websites while thinking of adding a new furry friend to the family you want your shelter dogs to make a great impression.


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