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Humane society helps dogs put best paw forward for new home

POSTED: April 6, 2010 11:31 p.m.

Obedience classes

An obedience session at the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia.

SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Volunteers at the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia get help Tuesday evening training a few of the shelter's dogs. Officials at the shelter say dogs that are better trained are more adoptable.

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The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia believes if dogs are well-behaved, they may have a better chance of finding a good home.

The humane society has been giving its adult dogs obedience classes once a week to teach them basic skills such as sitting, leash walking and polite greetings.

It is generally more difficult to find homes for adult dogs, said Kelly Uber, director of education and volunteer
development.

Tracy Schowalter, owner of Puppy Adept Inc., has conducted a four-week training course for the shelter’s dogs that will hopefully make them more adoptable.

“It’s a two-part goal — for the dogs’ benefit as well as the volunteers’ benefit,” she said.

On Tuesday evenings, Schowalter instructs volunteers on how to work with the dogs to teach them good behavior and commands. She said when the humane society’s volunteers are consistent with training, it is easier for the dogs to learn.

“It goes without saying that a dog with some manners is more likely to get adopted,” Schowalter said.

Uber said behavior training was one of the priorities for humane society after they split from Hall County Animal Control in October.

Previously, the humane society had a contract with the county to accept into its shelter any animal brought in by Animal Control.

Now, the humane society is a selective-admission shelter that does not euthanize animals. Hall County Animal Control operates out of its own shelter on Barber Road.

“As soon as we switched over, we were working on enrichment for them while they’re here,” Uber said. “These guys are here a lot longer now.”

Uber said the training has worked well. The dogs are learning to sit when they are handed to someone on a leash and are rewarded for sitting when greeted, instead of jumping.

“We’ve seen a big difference,” Uber said.

“When people take a dog out and immediately it’s jumping on them, they’ll put them right back.”



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