A Snuffle garden for shelter dogs in the Carl Hildebrand Animal Shelter in Kaiserslautern!


Read the exclusive article about Snuffle garden in Tierheim Carl Hildebrand Kaiserslautern here.

Friends4ever has spoken with Anne Knauber and Jessica Bende in August 2020.

Anne Knauber is Chairman and veterinarian of the shelter.

Jessica Bende is a dog behaviourist at the shelter


Hopefully the animal shelter in Kaiserslautern is an inspiration for other shelters!


The animal shelter in Kaiserslautern:

The Carl Hildebrand animal shelter in Kaiserslautern was built in 1932 and was renovated in 2012 according to the latest requirements. The shelter is a way build that dogs cannot get stress from other dogs, but also not from visitors. The dogs can be observed from a higher observation point instead of walking right past the dog kennel.  In December 2020 they had 19 puppy’s, 11 dogs, 30 cats, some rabbits and birds, turtles and other exotic animals.

In total there work 15 employees plus volunteers.


Since 2020, a Snuffle garden has been added

About the Snuffle garden:

The Snuffle garden is 950m2 of size and is secured with a wooden fence, so that there is no view from the outside and the dogs are also not distracted by things that happen outside the garden. The Snuffle garden will be expanded in the near future, so that there will be an exciting 1500 m2 of sniffing fun.

The shelter received a lot of donations from grants like MUEEF (the German ministry for environment, food, Agriculture and forest), animal lovers, a crowdfunding campaign, the German Animal Protection “Tierschutzbund. The design and labour of the planting of the green sections of the garden was sponsored by Nathalie from her company www.wildes-gartenherz.de.


What does the Snuffle garden look like?

The Snuffle garden has a garden with different herbs, a path with different surfaces such as molars, wood chips, sand and large stones. There are straw bales, bushes and an exploration platform. Occasionally, an enriched environment such as cardboard will be realised.



What do the employees think of the Snuffle garden?

The garden has already exceeded their expectations. Not only when it comes to mental well-being but also the physical health. Dogs that have to rehabilitate just after an operation benefit greatly from, for example, the different surfaces to strengthen their muscles and bones.

 They have to think when they walk over certain stones and at the same time they benefits from building their physics.


Advantages of a Snuffle garden for dogs in shelters:

- Dogs can become calmer by sniffing

- More self-confident

- Walk around freely in a safe environment

- Mental challenge

- Own pace, without pressure from others

- Sniffing reduces the stress level

- More variety in their life in the shelter

- Dog relaxes

- The dog can get over fears (eg noise / foreign objects) because curiosity overcomes

- follow natural instinct (Dogs are nose animals)

- It arouses their curiosity

- Stimulates natural movement

- Stimulates learning ability


How often do shelter dogs come to the Snuffle garden?

Most dogs that are in a training program come into the Snuffle garden every day.

However, this depends on the tailor-made program for the dog, which is different for each dog. The dogs do not stay in the garden for more than half an hour. Sometimes the visit to the Snuffle garden is part of a training, but the dogs are also allowed to browse all alone and freely, so that they can do their thing.


About the dogs in the shelter:

Many dogs are brought to the shelter for the following reasons

- Unfortunately, there are many biting incidents nowadays and people bring their dog to a shelter.

- Dogs or puppies that are confiscated are also taken to the Carl Hildebrand shelter in Kaiserslautern, among others.

- *Dogs with “problem behaviour” from other shelters are sometimes also placed in this shelter. These dogs follow a special program at the shelter that is also called HUKO. Before the dog can participate with the HUKO program are they first fully checked to see if they are healthy. Often there are also behavioural problems because a dog is in pain. Then they start working with the certified dog trainers in the specially equipped training centre at the shelter. People who adopt a HUKO dog are very well guided. A program is tailor-made for this dog with adopter. The people are then also guided at home. 

Last year the shelter won an award from the MUEEF (the German ministry for environment, food, Agriculture and forest). They received the animal protection award because of the “HUKO” project*

The Snuffle garden also helps the dogs with this.


More great projects in the Carl Hildebrand shelter:

A hall is currently being built on the site with the aim of:

- For more welfare for the shelter dogs, so that they can train in a low-stimulus and quiet environment.

- Educational holiday programs with children, the kids are taught body language of dogs, dealing with animals, etc.

- Prevention training: Provided training with the aim of preventing dogs from returning to the shelter. People who adopt a dog through the shelter can come to the dog school for free.

- Outside people can also participate in the many courses that are given for a very reasonable rate.

Due to their exceptional achievements and work, the shelter will receive a new donation / gift from the MUEEF ( German ministry for environment, food, Agriculture and forest)


You can read more on their website:  www.tierheim-kaiserslautern.de

Please read more about the Snuffle Garden and their projects in their magazine





Do you want to help this shelter? Do you want to support this great example of how you can help dogs?

Book a workshop "how to build your own snuffle garden" a part of the amount will be donated to the Shelter. 


You can find via http://www2.tierheim-kaiserslautern.de/helfen/ several ways how you can help the shelter.