The Fur (& Feather!) Flyer

Established in 1965, HAWS assists over 6,000 animals and welcomes more than 31,000 human visitors annually. As an "open admissions" shelter we lead the community in animal welfare and assure sanctuary for all animals in need, regardless of age, health or temperament. HAWS is a non-profit, entirely donor-fund organization with an active humane education program, and both wildlife and companion animal rescue services for Waukesha County.

HAWS License #267280-DS

Know the Signs - Before the Bite Occurs

dogs, behavior, dog training, dog aggression, HAWS, socialization

Many dog owners wonder how to know if their dog’s behavior poses a risk, and how strongly does a dog’s breed factor into the potential for aggressive behavior.  Human behaviors influence dogs - and dogs in turn give indicators that intervention is necessary.  While any dog has the potential to behave aggressively depending on the situation, help is available!  Education and knowledge can help prevent aggressive incidents that may result in physical and emotional injury.  

At HAWS, we stress the importance of all dogs receiving training and socialization, to minimize problems and create the best possible relationship between pet and owner!

A first sign of trouble may be a “gut” feeling:  Anything about your dog’s behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable indicates a need for intervention.  Don’t ignore the first signs of trouble.

Observe your dog:  Dogs displaying non-social, “stand-offish” beavhior may bite if forced to interact.  Dogs that forcefully jump up or against you, attempt to mount, or are “mouthy” are showing their intentions are confrontational.  Dogs that stiffen momentarily in response to eye contact or touch, or when you are close to their food/toy/another person, do not welcome your interference and may bite if their signals are ignored.  Specifically watch for body language like direct and hard eye contact from your dog, the base of tail elevated above the level of the dog’s back, and hackles up.  A warning grow should never be ignored.  These are signs that additional training is warranted.

Behavior depends on individual genetics and the environment in which the dog was raised.  Pit Bulls can be cream puffs and Golden Retrievers can be Godzilla!  Puppies with no littermates or pups that are taken from their mothers/litters before 7 weeks of age may not learn appropriate social skills – increasing the possibility of biting.

If you notice any signs of unsocial or aggressive behavior, contact a qualified trainer, behaviorist, or veterinarian.  Being proactive, doing your research about where you obtain a dog and which breed you choose, and seeking help at the first sign of trouble will increase your chances of fixing a problem before serious harm is done.

By the way:  HAWS’ Behavior Department is available to answer any questions at 262-542-8851, x204, or email our Certified Dog Behavior Counsultant, Dr. Claudeen, at

HAWS to Honor Working Dogs with Two Celebrations

dogs, working dogs, HAWS, shelter, honor, blood drive, adopt, donate

HAWS is pleased to announce two special events this weekend to honor the extraordinary canines who spend their lives in life-saving service to our community. 

This Thursday, March 24, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m, HAWS will hold the Honoring Working Dogs ceremony. Guests of honor include Qai, the recently retired K-9 officer for the Village of Elm Grove, and his handler, Officer Gus Moulas, and canine units from the Waukesha County Sheriff and Menomonee Falls Police departments. Also in attendance will be several area search and rescue teams of canines and their handlers.

The festivities continue at Working Dogs Day on Saturday, March 26, from 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Members of the public will have the opportunity to meet and interact with dogs that work in our community – in law enforcement, search and rescue and service capacities. Handlers will be available to answer questions about the dogs’ lives and their training.

Both events are co-hosted by the Waukesha County Museum and will be held at their facility at 101 W. Main Street in downtown Waukesha, in conjunction with the Memories of World War II exhibit.

By the way - we have another very important community initiative ongoing, our Outdoor Owned Cat Program.  This program is designed to assist those in rural parts of our county who have cat colonies or barn cat populations.  Our SNIP clinic will spay or neuter those cats for FREE and also give them basic vaccinations and an identifying ear notch.  Call our SNIP clinic for info and requirements at 262-542-8851, x109.

By the way, part 2 - please join us for HAWS "4/4 Honoring 4 Paws Blood Drive."  We're celebrating the giving nature of our pets by paying it forward, with a HUMAN blood drive with the Blood Center of Wisconsin.  Make your appointment online at, and come to HAWS on 4/4!  You never know when you'll save a about Monday, 4/4?!

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