Photo Credit: Zbynek Pospisil / Getty Images
No one likes to think of any dog as “unadoptable,” but the sad fact is that some pups need help in the behavior department before people feel motivated to provide them with a forever home. In Ohio, a groundbreaking new training program is giving pups the skills they need to find caring parents.
Creating a Unique Training Program
Stark County Sheriff George Maier, who oversees the county’s shelter, told FOX 8 that the program was launched due to the number of pups returned to the facility due to behavioral problems.
“Usually it’s something minor, you know, they couldn’t properly train a dog, house train the dog or something like that,” Sheriff Maier said. “We like to do a good job to try and get these dogs into a home.”
The sheriff teamed up with Eric Stanbro, a trainer and former Canton Police K9 officer, to implement the program. Though Standbro is now retired, he owns Ridgeside K9-Ohio, a dog training and boarding facility.
“He’s like, ‘hey, do you think you could help us give some free training to try to get these dogs adopted?’ and I asked my training staff and they looked at me like, ‘yes, of course we’re going to do this,’” Stanbro recalled of forming the partnership with Sheriff Maier.
Each dog that participates in the program is provided with two weeks of intensive training. At the end of the program, the dogs are considered “more desirable” to potential adoptive parents.
Training Program Sees First Success Story
The first canine recruit for the program was McKinley, a 3-year-old Bull Terrier who was found roaming the streets. The pup was trained every day from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for two weeks. He was very receptive to the training techniques, which included mastering multiple commands. Stanbro said McKinley is a “great dog” – as are many pups when given proper nurturance.
“A shelter is a stressful environment for the dogs,” said Stanbro. “They just need out of there and to be trained and with a family.”
When McKinley was made available for adoption, a family of four snatched him up immediately.
“We knew it was a match,” McKinley’s new dog dad, Josh Gibbs, said. “We just want many more years to make his life as good as we can. He hasn’t had a good life up to here so we want to change that.”
The family also partook in training to learn commands.
“They did a really good job,” Gibbs said of McKinley’s training. “He’s very well behaved.”
This unique program is the first of its kind in Ohio, and possibly the United States. Stanbro is currently comping his training services, but Sheriff Maier hopes to secure funding for the program so more dogs can receive services.
“We’ll just perpetually keep going,” says Stanbro. “As long as this is successful and we can get dogs adopted, my personal opinion, I think every dog we get will get adopted.”
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