LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Essential behaviors class offered by Suncoast

June 26, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

To the Editor:
Gone are the days when we demanded obedience and taught parlor trick commands to our canine best friends. Today, as dogs are viewed as our family members, nannies and adventure companions, dog obedience training is transforming. Instead of wanting our dogs to comply with what we want them to do, we see a sentient being. We want to learn why they do what they do and how they feel.
On June 27, we are launching webinar-style lessons for dog owners: “Essential Behaviors” with our Sr. Animal Behaviorist, Jeff Joyce.  
“Essential Behaviors” consists of four lessons overall. The cost of each lesson is $20.There will also be virtual one-on-one sessions that will help dog owners form a stronger bond with their pets, resulting in improved behavior. Those who sign up for “Essential Behaviors” will be able to book a separate virtual 1 hour session for $50.
Benefits of forming a better connection with your pet:
Positive reinforcement and constructive guidance promotes trust, loyalty and companionship.
You will build a unique language between you and your dog.
You will be able to recognize certain behaviors and actions, and reassure your pet with appropriate and result-driven cues such as sit, stay, watch and more.
Your dog will feel heard, and in return, will follow your guidance to be a good dog and to make you happy.
Communication increases sociability and boosts the dog’s confidence in environments outside of your home.
Behavioral training teaches your dog important life skills, such as: how to live in a home environment and get along with other humans or animals in the home.  It also teaches you different ways you can enrich their lives through mental and physical exercises.
On first “Essential Behaviors” lesson, you will learn:
1)Principles of Learning: Human and Canine
2)Getting Started: Structure and Deference
3)Obtaining Attention, Focus and Engagement
4)Default Behavior of Deference
We will also offer “Foster Support,” a virtual one-on-one session with Jeff Joyce, for those who are currently fostering SHS’ animal(s). These sessions are a way of offering support to those experiencing behavioral issues in the home setting. “Foster Support” sessions are offered free of charge and all fosters are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to learn and help their pets get settled in.
Go to humane.org and click “events” for more information.
Maureen O’Nell
Chief Executive Officer of Suncoast Humane Society