September 27, 2008

Peninsula Humane Society Offers One-on-One Pet Training

By Doug Jastrow

Sometimes dog owners struggling with their canine's behavioral issues feel they have no other option but to give up. Loretta Hoffman was about to join their ranks.

"There are certain issues associated with every breed of dog," Hoffman said. "And bull-terriers have definite issues."

Hoffman, who works for the Humane Society, adopted Spanky from the society two years ago. But as Spanky grew older, he started barking at other dogs and exhibiting aggressive behavior that threatened to spiral out of control.

Fortunately, Hoffman didn't have far to go for help.

Beginning this month, the Peninsula Humane Society kicks off a program offering one-on-one behavior consultations for dogs and their owners. Though there are for-profit trainers that offer similar programs from anywhere between $85 and $125 per session, the Humane Society program costs less.

An initial 75-minute consultation is $70. Each additional follow- up session costs $40 each.

"Problematic pet behaviors require much more guidance than someone can get from a helpline or a quick Internet search," said Maria Eguren, who heads the Behavior and Training Department for the Peninsula Humane Society.

For the last several years, the Humane Society has offered group obedience classes for pet owners who realized their pet needed professional help. But the organization lacked the resources to offer private classes for dogs that required a little more attention.

After the success of the Humane Society's group obedience classes and a recent increase in staff, the time was right to launch the individual consultation program, Eguren said.

"We knew this was something the community needed," she added. "We would have people call in requesting a private trainer and they would have to go somewhere else."

All appointments take place on site at the Peninsula Humane Society with weekend, weekday and evening appointments available.

For Hoffman of the Humane Society and her bull terrier Spanky, the program has already made a big difference.

"The classes gave me invaluable tools in working with my dog," she said. "It gave me the confidence to deal with any issue we come across."

For more information, contact the Peninsula Humane Society at 650- 340-7022

Originally published by Doug Jastrow, San Mateo County Times.

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