Expert Dog Trainer Offers Seminar to Benefit Animal Shelter

Marnie George works with canine friends. Courtesy/FOS

FOS News:

Does your dog jump up, bark and lunge on the leash when other dogs approach or cower when your spouse comes home? At the seminar, “Positive Changes for Challenging Canines,” Marnie George, dog behaviorist, will help your crazy canine become your best friend, using only positive techniques – the carrot, not the stick, so to speak.

“Positive reinforcement is the most powerful tool we have to change dog behavior,” George said.

George’s seminar is intended to change fear and aggression to confidence and calm, control impulsive and frantic behavior, and teach dogs to greet people and other dogs politely. She does this by balancing the dogs’ emotional state, so the dog can learn. 

George holds a BSC in Animal Science from Leeds University, and also is a graduate of the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy, which is on the cutting edge of positive reinforcement training.

The seminar will benefit Los Alamos Friends of the Shelter and runs  9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 22 at the Los Alamos Horse Arena.

The cost for a handler and dog is $84, which includes a 45-minute individual lesson with George to pinpoint specific problems and learn how to solve them. Handler/dog slots are extremely limited. Persons without a dog may attend morning lectures and demonstrations, and observe afternoon training for $49. 

To register or obtain more information, contact Leslie Sherman at theknittingwoman@hotmail.com or Melissa Bartlett at 505.670.1087.

George has worked with Friends of the Shelter to rehabilitate some of the most problematic dogs at the Los Alamos Animal Shelter. She owns a boarding and training center in Pagosa Springs, Colo., where she has taken in seemingly hopeless cases – dogs that were about to be euthanized for behavioral issues.  

She calms their anxiety, meets their security and exercise needs and turns around their aggression, to the point that they can be sent to a home as loving pets. She also has been teaching Los Alamos Animal Shelter volunteers positive ways to calm and provide mental stimulation for dogs in the shelter. Her positive reward based techniques help a dog to feel less anxious, and allow them to learn more functional behaviors that will make them more adoptable.  

Weegee, a cattle dog mix picked up as a stray, hid in the corner of his kennel at the Los Alamos Animal Shelter. He seemed to never have been on a leash before and cowered when people tried to pet him. George chose him for a demonstration for Friends of the Shelter volunteers.  

Using a small device that makes a click sound and rewarding Weegee with cheese, she was able to enter his kennel and bring him into the lobby of the shelter. 

By having all the volunteers sit on the floor, avoiding eye contact, George slowly got Weegee to take treats from the nine volunteers, who were strangers to him. After George’s visit, the volunteers continued to work with the dog with the clicker and treats and he made rapid progress. Happily, he was adopted last week by to a family who fell in love with him.

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