· Always reward a correct response. Praise, i.e. the signal, the paycheck, the tug, the toy, follows every obedient response to a command. Remember my “Taking for Granted” article in this column. We should never take desirable behavior for granted. Let your dog know when you are pleased appropriately, consistently, and frequently.
· Match your tone of voice to the command. My classes are flush with reminders on our tone-training. I tell my students that I can train a dog faster with a tone differentiation than they can with monotone words (i.e. low voice for stationary exercises such as sit, down, stand, stay, wait, etc. and upbeat tones for let’s go, get it, and that’s right, etc.) I use an offset, sing-song tone for motivational commands like the recall (come) track-it, and leave-it. There’s no doubt in any dog’s mind that you are happy when you’re singing! Verbal corrections (and they do exist) are sharp and harsh (phooey, A-A-A-H). Warn your dog with a low voice if they’re ready to commit a faux pas. Dogs can read if your verbal praise is mundane, mediocre, etc. You can’t mistake enthusiasm, and neither can they. Does anyone want to work for a boss who’s hard to please and doesn’t seem to care about our efforts?
· Timing is everything. Absolutely this is my mantra. I’ve done two columns on this training absolute. Dogs need to know the instant they have done it right, or that they have erred or been misguided in their interpretation of our directions. Your timeline on this one is no more than two seconds. Remember, we don’t live in the instant. They do!
To be continued… but first, the shelter is alive with the patter of little feline paws! We have gorgeous adult residents, in addition to an animated group of kittens. We always have a number of lovely Staffordshire and American Staffordshire Terrier crosses for adoption. We also can refer families to homeowners insurance companies that do not discriminate based on breed. TURKISH has been with us for too long. He’s exuberant and happy, and needs the right person to come along to play with and call his own. HARLEY is an awesome dog who’s great with kids and could adjust to a household with any ages. He was a smash hit at the County Jail New Leash on Life Program, and all that preliminary training is just waiting for someone to take it home in a fully-loaded package deal. BRANDY, our big-boned female St. Bernard, was actually an unclaimed stray and is gentle as a mouse! She walks and loves like a gentle giant, and a giant she certainly is. A must-see if only to admire her (but hopefully more than that!).
Got a hankerin’ for BBQ and lookin’ for a kickin’ good time? Mosey on down to the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA for a Howlin’ Adoption Hoedown Saturday, June 22nd from 11:30 am to 4 pm. (We're located at 125 Humane Society Road, Hudson NY 12534). Join us for a fun filled afternoon featuring Bill Williams and the Spinnin’ Prize Wheel, Bake Sale, Chili Cook-Off & FREE Hot Dogs & Sweet Tea! Call (518) 828-6044 to find out how you can take your pet home the same day! (All animals are sent home up to date on vaccinations, spayed/neutered and microchipped.)
Feel free to call us with any questions at 518-828-6044, or visit our website at www.cghs.org. Stop down and see us at 125 Humane Society Road, off Route 66 (about a mile south of the intersection with Route 9H) in Hudson. Our hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed on Wednesday and Sunday. The Food Bank is open to any from the public in need of pet food or for those wishing to donate food anytime during business hours. All of our cats and kittens are “Furrever Free” with all expenses paid. Spay/neuter clinics for cats are $65 male or female, including a rabies vaccination and a 5-in-1 feline distemper combination vaccination. Nail clipping services are available every Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Shelter, no appointment necessary, for a donation of $5 for cats and $10 for dogs. Charlene Marchand is the Chairperson of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA Board of Directors. She may be contacted by email at email@example.com.