Identifying potential behavior problems or assessing a dogs temperament is critical to finding the right fit in a new home. Lacking that information can result in high return rates, or potentially releasing an unstable dog to the public.
One of Wishbone’s priorities soon after taking over management of the Allegan County Animal Shelter, was the development of a temperament assessment program.
Enter Leah Will, a Wishbone Pet Rescue volunteer and Allegan Animal Shelter’s new trainer and behavior specialist. Responding to an advertisement in Cats and Dogs Magazine, Leah attended a New Volunteer orientation class in January, and soon there after began walking dogs on weekends.
It wasn’t long before her talents became known, and she quickly agreed to help temperament test our shelter dogs. These days you’ll find Leah at the shelter most Sunday mornings with her training partner Buddy, a nine year old shepherd mix.
Leah lives in the Gun Lake area with her husband Galan and four year old son Eli. When not tending to her horses, cats, dogs, and guinea pigs, Leah provides one-on-one dog training and behavior modification classes through her business “The Balanced Dog”.
Leah has worked with dogs in one fashion or another for nine years, including a two year stint managing a boarding facility, and five years with Pet Smart, where she was first introduced to behavior modification methods. Eventually Leah followed a co-worker to Kent County Humane Society (now Humane Society of West Michigan ), where she learned how to use the S.A.F.E.R. temperament test to identify potential behavior problems in dogs.
Two years ago Leah moved her family to the Gun Lake area and started The Balanced Dog. I asked her what was the most common problem she found with new dog owners. “Failing to set boundaries early on for their new dog. It’s so much harder to undo bad habits. Set their boundaries early”.
Leah shows new pet owners how to set those boundaries. Her weekly one-on-one classes address socialization issues, basic commands, health & nutrition, leash training, and walking, culminating in a “real world field trip” to test what fido has learned.
Leah is offering a free training class at the Allegan Shelter on Saturday April 28th ( 10am-noon) for volunteers and new adopters. She’ll cover the basics, loose leash walking, sit, stay, etc.
How fabulous would it be for all our shelter dogs to receive one-on-one training by our trained shelter volunteers !
If your interested in joining Leah’s shelter class, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org