Teaching New Dogs New Tricks

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

SOUTH POINT — House-breaking.

That is the single biggest issue people face when bringing a new puppy into their lives, according to Tressa Williams, a puppy behavior specialist and general manager of Petland at Westview Plaza in South Point.

But, she said, the store is trying to help new owners solve that problem, as well as a number of other behavioral issues, with the help of a training program already used in many pet stores around the country.

Email newsletter signup

When a puppy is bought at Petland, the owner gets a copy of a video training system by dog behavior consultant Brian Donovan, who has garnered nationwide attention for his work.

Williams uses the video, as well as in-store training classes, to help teach puppies tricks such as sitting, lying down, rolling over and going outside to do their business. The training also teaches owners to refrain from using popular, but what dog trainers call inappropriate, means of discipline such as the popular technique of using a rolled up newspaper on a dog’s behind.

The owners also can get free access to training advice through a toll-free number operated by Donovan’s company.

Petland operator Dwight Burk said the program has been a huge success so far and she hopes to continue that tradition locally, with the help of Williams’ expertise and hands-on canine.

“We stress the importance of the human-animal bond to our customers,” Burk said. “This comprehensive puppy training program is an excellent resource that can be used to strengthen the connection between people and their pets.”

Those who do not buy their dogs at Petland can buy the training video for $50 and will also have access to the toll-free number.

Williams said her job may be a little difficult at times, but it is also very fun, especially since she loves the animals she works with — some a little more than others.

“I guess I have my favorites,” she said with a smile.

She starts training the animals when they are about 2 months old and most are eager to learn. According to training guidelines, the best time to train a dog is between the ages of 8 to 16 weeks.

Williams said her job is very rewarding, especially when she sees one of her canine students find a family.

“It’s very exciting,” she said.

For more information call Petland at (740) 894-7387.