Connecticut Shelter Offers Classes for New Dog Parents

 |  Jan 21st 2008  |   1 Contribution

What an excellent idea!

Thanks to The Advocate for this article.

Operating manual for dogs

By Meghan Muldowney
Special Correspondent
Published January 21 2008

STAMFORD - Puppies make for adorable Christmas presents, but recipients sometimes find themselves at the end of their rope before Valentine's Day.

That's when shelters see an increasing number of dogs arriving.

To help with that problem, Stamford Animal Care & Control, the city shelter, is sponsoring a free 90-minute seminar for humans only at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Ferguson Library's main branch, Broad and Bedford streets.

"Is Your Christmas Puppy Leaving You Presents?" will be taught by Rob Mullin, a dog trainer and owner of K-9 Wizard obedience school in Trumbull.

"As dogs get older and less cute, people get frustrated and we tend to end up with them at the animal shelter," said Lexi Elder of Bridgeport, who has volunteered at the shelter for two years.

The class provides information about correcting problems such as chewing, jumping and housebreaking. It is designed to teach owners how to train the dog before bad behaviors take root.

"The class is to get people to realize that having a dog is a big responsibility," Mullin said. "Puppy training starts when you bring it home."

Puppies can be trained at 10 weeks, he said.

"A lot of dog training isn't very intuitive. We figured it would be helpful to have something for people that are frustrated," Elder said.

Mullin also teaches a free weekly class on Wednesdays at the Stamford shelter that has attracted the attention of other Fairfield County shelters.

"Other animal control officers are showing up to see if they can start a program like it in their town," Mullin said.

Unlike tomorrow's seminar, the weekly outdoor class is for dogs of all ages and their owners.

Most dogs that end up at the shelter are 8 months to 2 years old - the span when owners have the most difficulty with them, said Laurie Hollywood, manager of the Stamford shelter.

"A dog is only as good as its owner," Hollywood said.

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