Training shelter pets and working with any behavior issues they may have goes far further than, âSit! Stay!â Enough dogs and cats relinquished to shelters and rescues have been abused or simply neglected and need socializing and special training to make them suitable for a good home instead of a euthanasia chamber.
Sara Taylor, CPDT-KA, is the director of animal behavior and training for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles. Sheâs had extensive training herself in the areas of behavioral consultancy and animal training; sheâs also accredited by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. She created a âbehavior planâ for dogs brought into protective custody by spcaLA humane officers; the plan addresses the diverse and often complicated behavioral needs of dogs whoâve been through hell.
âItâs essential to understand the canine mind and the language that theyâre using with each other because if we donât know their language, we canât understand them,â said Jojo Stanford, the head behaviorist at Trots Dogs in Long Beach. âWith training, if needs such as exercise, structure and love are fulfilled, theyâre going to be happier, healthier, and more balanced mentally and emotionally. Those are typically things that people want in a dog.â
Stanford has been in business as a dog trainer for nine years and agrees that behavior training makes a scared, anxious or recalcitrant dog calm and confident.
âThis way, they can be taken out on a leash, taken places with their owners, which in my opinion is the ultimate gift for a dog,â she said.
This week, Sara Taylor has the honor of presenting at the sixth annual conference of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, the largest association of professional dog trainers worldwide. The conference takes place in Memphis, Tennessee, on Friday, Oct. 19. The topic of Taylorâs presentation will be âTraining Shelter Dogs for Adoptionâ and will feature techniques for developing good social behavior in dogs who are in various states of stress and how to tailor the training to individual canines. Conference attendees will also learn how to provide enrichment and remedial socialization, particularly dogs who have been under shelter care for long periods of time.
âI am honored to be selected to speak at such a prestigious conference and excited to share techniques used daily at spcaLA,â Taylor said. âThese methods work, and sharing this knowledge will undoubtedly improve the lives of dogs in shelters and otherwise.â
Or as Stanford put it, âmaking this dog-friendly city a city of friendly dogs.â
Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.~ Agatha Christie
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