Good Human! Dog Training Is About Teaching Owners: Expert - NBC10 Boston
Clear the Shelters

Clear the Shelters

Finding Forever Homes Across the Country

Good Human! Dog Training Is About Teaching Owners: Expert

Dog trainer Holly Blakney says some dogs that end up in shelters are there due to behavioral issues caused by inadequate training

Find NBC Boston in your area

Channel 10 on most providers

Channel 15, 60 and 8 Over the Air

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Dog Training Academy of South Florida

    Watch one strategy you can use to train your dog. (Published Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017)

    When it comes to training canines, one South Florida-based dog trainer says it's less about teaching the dog and more about focusing on the pet parent.

    Holly Blakney is a trainer at Dog Training Academy of South Florida, which offers obedience, agility, trick and therapy dog classes. She says most of her clients attend classes with specific requests, such as teaching the dog to respond to a command like "sit."

    However, if dog owners aren’t planning to use commands daily, it might not be worth teaching them, Blakney said. She recommends using training to teach the dog everyday skills.

    "When they’re coming in, we want to make sure we’re training the people to train the dogs," Blakney said. "And make sure they know how to communicate with the dog."

    How to Train Your Dog Like a Pro

    [NATL] How to Train Your Dog Like a Pro

    The most important thing to know about training your new pup, according to Petco dog trainer Chloe Sternlicht, is that dogs respond best to positive reinforcement. So be patient when Fido makes a mistake and smother him with praise and treats when he get it right. Sternlicht gives some tips for getting your dog to respond to basic commands.

    (Published Thursday, June 7, 2018)

    Blakney says dogs can be trained by their owners at home, though she notes that its helpful to implement some variation of training because of the socialization element of formal classes.

    She has experience working with shelter dogs and suggested that some dogs that end up in shelters are there due to behavioral issues caused by inadequate training.

    "Part of the reason a lot of dogs might end up in a shelter is because people are having a hard time living with the dog," Blakney said. "We work on obedience, but I really want to teach them how to live with the dog."

    Shelters are among the best places to pick new dogs, Blakney said, because you get a sense of the dog’s actual personality. And that can be helpful when it comes to training.

    She also says there is no "best time" to start training your dog. Canines are able to learn new skills throughout their lives.

    Nonetheless, Blakney recommends being patient when picking a shelter pet. Selecting a dog with a personality that meets specific wants and needs will prove to be beneficial as the dog develops new habits, she said.

    "If you don’t get those butterflies in your stomach when you meet a dog, it’s OK," Blakney said. "You don’t have to feel bad and take a dog to take a dog. Find something that’s going to match your personality and that you can work with."

    More than 80,000 pets were adopted through the 2017 Clear the Shelters campaign, a nationwide push to place deserving animals in forever homes. Join the conversation on social media using #ClearTheShelters.