Wednesday, 19 December 2018
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Program assists with large dog adoptions | News | – The Morning Sun

Bigger is not always better.

Especially when it comes to trying to adopt out large dogs from local animal shelters.

But now there is a program being offered locally that could help.

“Canine Good Citizen Training & Testing” is a 10-step program backed by the American Kennel Club.

It will certify that a dog has passed the course and present a certificate to the owner and a tag to hang on its collar.

Marilee Matelson of Shepherd is working in conjunction with the Gratiot County Animal Shelter to promote the program.

The former Virginia resident, who previously trained horses, has rescued and trained greyhounds for years and was one of the first to use them as therapy dogs. She became interested in canines when her late husband started training them.

Matelson is especially fond of the larger breeds.

“Bigger dogs have a much more difficult time getting adopted,” she said. “They are always put down first. We are focused on (changing) that.”

The Canine Good Citizen Training & Testing program is offered locally by Alex Godinez, who operates Alma Dog Sitting.

“He takes the dogs right into his house,” Matelson said.

The first step is a free evaluation to make sure the canine is a candidate to become certified.

Not all are due to behavioral issues.

The 10 steps dogs will be trained in include accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, appearance and grooming, walking through a crowd, sitting and staying in place on command, coming when called, and its reaction to distractions or another dog, among others.

Depending on the dog it could take from four to six weeks to become certified in the 10-step process.

“Puppies might take a little longer because they have a harder time focusing,” Matelson said.

People can also conduct their own training program by following the course outline, which can be downloaded from the AKC website, she added.

Free evaluation coupons are available at the animal shelter.

“We’re promoting this to get (the information) out there and getting them some training,” Animal Control Officer Emily O’Boyle said.

For more information call the shelter at 875-2221 or go to the American Kennel Club website at and click on training programs.


The Bark Box

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