Teaching your dogs simple commands is as easy as putting on your shoes each day.
Puppies as early as six weeks can start learning the "sit" command which is normally the first trick a dog learns. Start by saying "sit" while holding a treat a little higher than your dog's head. Most dogs are forced to look upward with treat in mind, automatically sitting on their hind legs. If not, move the treat straight back over your dog's head. This will cause their nose to point upwards and their rear to drop. The instant their rear touches the floor, release the treat and praise them by saying "good sit."
After your dogs have mastered the "sit" command, they should then be taught "stay." Follow these instructions: Use the dog's lead, attached to her collar, and then tell your dog to sit. Praise and give her a little treat, then hold your hand out, palm facing your dog, and walk backwards one step, saying "stay" in a firm calm voice. If your dog stays where she is, then reward her again. If she moves, then simply ignore this behavior and start again, taking her back to her starting place and telling her to sit.
Once she has successfully stayed when you take one step back, you can gradually increase this to two, three and four steps. Take it slowly and be patient -- it can be very confusing for your dog if you rush her or get frustrated with her. Repetition is the key to success, but make training sessions short and always make sure your dog is happy and having fun. They'll learn much more quickly that way!
Lastly is "down." This vital command can help avert dangerous situations as unsafe road crossings. Start with your dog facing you, hold a treat to her nose and lower it slowly to the floor. If you're lucky, your dog will follow the yummy treat and lie down, at which time you can release the treat and praise her. Only release the treat if she is in the correct "down" position.
The tone of your voice and body language will be a big part of getting your messages across to your dog. Be firm and consistent, and it won't take many sessions before your dog begins to understand. I recommend 101 Dog Tricks by Kyra Sundance and the many other books she has published for help with these tricks.
The dogs featured this week are all entitled to one free basic obedience class after adoption. We want to ensure that you will be starting your life out the best way possible with your new adopted dog. As for cats, well that's another week!
This sweet young man was returned by his owner because of the simple fact that his owner decided to also get a puppy. Like getting rid of an old pair of shoes, he felt the puppy was more important than Kodi. Whatever the excuse may be, we now have Kodi and need to find him a home. He is gentle, mild-mannered, good with kids and cats and rides well in the car. His new, shaved haircut is very comfortable on him, but as it grows out, it will need regular grooming to prevent itchy skin and mats. To help you prepare for life with Kodi, we will arrange and pay for one free basic obedience class. Come take him on a stroll and get acquainted.
Cheerful Chica is a gorgeous 4-year-old red Chow mix resembling a teddy bear. She was brought to us by her owner as she was escaping from the yard, but with a good, high fence or dog run and a little training, Chica will make a wonderful pet. She may be uncomfortable with small children and some dogs, but otherwise Chica would be a good choice for someone with the time and patience to show her the fine dog she most certainly can be.
This sweet little 3-month-old girl was surviving on fish at the lake when caught and brought to the shelter as a stray. As usual, her owners never came for her, so we have treated her with medication and placed her up for adoption. She is sweet-mannered and full of energy. She will need a secure yard with lots of activities. If you currently own a dog, please bring it in to meet her before adopting Whinnie, to be sure everyone gets along well.
Pooch is a pretty 2-year-old spayed female shepherd mix dog. Her short, sleek tan coat is the color of honey, and her eyes are golden amber. She minds well on leash and plays amicably with the dogs in her play group. Pooch is the kind of dog whose trust you have to earn. She is great with staff, but is wary of strangers. She will need a family that is willing to work with her on this issue. She did, however do great in the May 2008 Rodeo Parade. She walked just like a lady and showed her best manners with enthusiasm. Come in and give her a treat and remind her of how wonderful she is!
Brought in as a stray on July 3 is this cute, medium-sized Lab mix. With his cute ear posture we've appropriately named him Radar. He is very good on a leash and tries to understand voice commands with great enthusiasm. He has a happy personality and we feel he will make a great life companion, so please come meet him soon. And remember, we will provide one free basic obedience class to help you start your lives together.
Ozzy is a friendly 1-year-old Chow mix. He walks proudly on a leash but still needs to learn basic commands. Ozzy can be somewhat of a leaper, so having a secure yard or proper training will be very important when considering to adopt our sweet Ozzy. He likes to be on the move, and he would do best in an active home with plenty of exercise. He has spent time with young kids and tolerates them very well. Come on over and meet this cute guy!
Other shelter news
Payson Humane Society recently introduced the official color rendering of its proposed new animal shelter. It will be built just south of Main Street, behind the current shelter property at 812 S. McLane Road on property recently occupied by an automobile salvage yard. If you are interested in seeing this rendering in person, please visit the shelter during normal business hours or call us at (928) 474-5590. We can also be seen at wwwPaysonHumaneSociety.com and www.DogsInDanger.com
The next photo shoot for the 2009 Pet Calendar will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, July 12 at the Off-Leash Dog Park, across from the library on North McLane Road.