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Trainers show you can teach a pound dog new tricks

March 16, 1997

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. - What would you expect to see at Rude Dog Night?

The dog trainers and humane officials who set up Friday night's program sought to prove that dogs adopted from the pound can live full and happy lives with their new owners.

"All the dogs here tonight are dogs that somebody owned and then decided they couldn't live with anymore," said Pat Sutton, owner of the Blue Ridge K-9 Training Center.

"They're not bad dogs. We're here to show what you can do with a second-hand dog."

Nearly 20 dogs of all varieties, ranging in ages from a few weeks to a few years old, began to learn the basics of good canine behavior Friday night at the hands of experts from the canine training center and the Antietam Humane Society in Waynesboro, Pa.

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One-by-one, dog trainers led - or were led by - their animals out onto the rubber-matted training floor as humane society workers read a brief history of each one.

"My name is Hamilton. Please give me a good home,'' read the note found around the neck of an energetic Cairn terrier mix who had been left in a person's yard.

Probably trained a bit before he was abandoned, Hamilton agreed to sit and lie down - thanks to a little food for incentive. Hamilton also learned quickly how to walk on a leash, one of the keys to canine training, Sutton said.

Excited by the crowd and its surroundings, a brown puppy came bounding out onto the floor jumping on its trainer and paying little attention to commands.

"Push the dog away, not to hurt him, but enough so he won't do it again,'' Sutton told the onlookers. "Push enough to insult him."

A few quick tugs on the leash, and the puppy also began paying attention to the person on the other end.

"You can program them to approach and sit instead of jump up," Sutton added.

A beagle named Barney, who practically pulled Sutton onto the floor, needed several quick tugs of the leash, or "wake-up calls," as Sutton refers to them, before he submitted.

"We have to remember that every dog wants a leader. If you show the dog you can be a good leader, it'll learn quickly," Sutton said.

The dog trainers also showed onlookers how to begin training puppies, first by playing with them to get their attention, then walking them on leashes and teaching them how to sit and lie down.

"Every single one of these dogs are highly trainable," Sutton said.

Sutton advised the public against "impulse adoption." Instead, potential owners and family members should spend time with the dog at the pound getting to know it before taking it home, she said.

The canine training center holds four classes, three nights a week for owners and their pets.

Antietam Humane Society receives several dogs every day, most of them strays, said Nancy Cobb, animal health technician at the humane society.

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