Training tips from Capital Area Humane Society

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Humane Society staff work hard to get their dogs adopted, but what happens once they find their new home? These tips from Capital Area Humane Society employees will help your new pet transition smoothly into the home, and outline why training at home is so important.

“If you don’t do anything with your dog, they’re going to get destructive, they’re going to get anxious, they can develop some anxiety issues,” said CAHS Behavior Manager Samantha Miller. “You have to work with them so they can stay happy.”

Miller says setting rules for your new dog before you adopt and ensuring that everyone in the household knows and agrees with them does a lot to ease a dog’s transition.

“Make sure everybody’s on the same page,” said Miller. “Are we going to let him on the couch? Are we going to feed him table scraps? Are we not? There can be some issues with people in the home if they are not all on the same page, and they might think the dog is stubborn or doesn’t listen, when it’s the person that’s not following through.”

This consistency helps a dog adjust to the home not only better, but more quickly.

“Getting a routine down and staying consistent with the dog is going to help them adjust into the home best, and it helps them know what to predict next so they are more comfortable,” she said.

It is also important to keep your pet exercised, whether through walks or active play in a fenced-in yard. Even playing fetch for a bit every day helps.

“It’s important for them to get out and run around,” said CAHS volunteer Lisa Burch. “It keeps them physically fit and gives them an outlet.”

“If you find something that they like, whether its agility, or running outside, or doing scent work and playing fetch, and you do that at home, it creates a bond with your dog and gets their minds working and relaxed, so they’re not chewing the couch,” said Miller.

If any behavior problems arise, Miller recommends that owners call CAHS.  Trainers there have worked with your dog and know him well, so they can give training tips.

“We can give them some advice, whether it’s going to an obedience class geared toward the problem, or some methods we use. If it’s easier stuff we can just talk over the phone and figure things out.”

CAHS recommends obedience trainers with some of these issues, and many are specialized toward issues like anxiety and poor manners.

“There are a ton of trainers out there, you just have to make sure they’re using positive techniques,” said Miller. “They can help a lot.”

CAHS also offers two training classes of its own-Puppy Socialization and Household Manners.

“Our puppy socialization course is for anybody under six months of age. Household manners is anyone over six months of age,” said Miller. “It’s all of the basics-sit, stay, down- leash walking. Puppies get to socialize with other puppies, too, which is always good.”

Each class consists of a four-week course held once a week in the evening. The next session for each class begins May 1.

“It’s a fun experience and the first step in the rest of your training,” said Miller. “If they are having issues, there are trainers they can talk to, and there’s a lot of support.”

Owners find information on CAHS’s obedience classes here, or call 517-626-6060. A discount is given to owners who have adopted their dog from CAHS.

“A lot of people think they can just bring a dog home and that’s it. You have to work with them,” said Miller. “They need to be active, mentally and physically.”

Brooke Kansier

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