#HandsOnFirst: A movement that encourages responsible rescues, responsible shelters and responsible breeders to have families meet dogs prior to acquiring them. These groups can brand themselves with #HandsOnFirst to spread awareness of responsible acquisition of pet dogs.

#HandsOnFirst does not promote or advocate for shipping dogs directly to owners by train, truck, van or airplane. If transport is required, owners should meet their dogs in person first, and travel with their new pet back to their home. Alternatively, #HandsOnFirst encourages rescues to ship dogs to partner brick-and-mortar shelters and foster homes where people can get to know their pet before signing on the dotted line.

…a dotted line that has support in place, including returning the dog if something isn’t working.

Supporters of #HandsOnFirst recommend trainers, behavior consultants, applied animal behaviorists and veterinary behaviorists that follow a humane hierarchy (like this one, or this one). Reputable professionals are certified in science based methods for training and behavior modification (like the PPG, CCPDT, IAABC and KPA).

Why is #HandsOnFirst is important? Please watch this 10 minute segment of Melissa’s presentation to the Massachusetts Veterinary Technicians Association in July, 2015 speaking out about the Petfinder Loophole.