Two employees interacting with a dog and chatting, while a woman in the background plays with another dog. They're outside on a grassy patch.

Animal Services Continues Enrichment with Addition of New Training Class

Community & Services

Orange County Animal Services has now entered its 50th year in operation. Animal sheltering has drastically evolved since that time, when initially the sole mission was to round up and house stray animals. Animal Services has made several progressive changes to benefit the animal community in the recent decade and the addition of the obedience training class is another the shelter believes will result in substantial change.

The new four-week course is designed to provide quick results in the participating dogs and teach lasting training techniques for the handlers, focusing on commands, motivation, leash handling and consistency. The overall goal for the program is simple, to foster a positive and trusting relationship between the dog and new pet parent. By establishing this bond early, the shelter aims to position the pet as a lifelong family member, reducing any risk of return for behavior reasons.

“There’s no such thing as the perfect dog,” said Dil Luther, manager of Orange County Animal Services and developer of the training program. “The transition from shelter to new home can be challenging for any pet, which is important to recognize, and what we’re providing here is an opportunity for owners to spend quality time with their new pet while they’re introduced to a motivational training regimen. This is an outlet for adopters and their pets to start their relationship on the right foot, and paw.”

The program just celebrated its first graduates. For the past four Wednesday evenings these dedicated owners and their newly adopted companions met the Animal Services training team at “Oreo Field,” the grassy area adjacent to the shelter affectionately named for a long-time resident. The training team is comprised of skilled and experienced volunteers who spent the weeks prior to the program’s launch learning training maneuvers from Luther, who has acquired nearly 45 years of dog training knowledge.

“The training has helped both me and my dog gain some confidence,” a new student said. “This is my first medium-sized dog, and I’m her first real family, so we both had some learning to do. It was extremely helpful to expose Zola to other dogs because it’s important she focuses on me regardless of who’s around.  This class can help you better connect to your adoptive dog and teach, reinforce those much-needed commands that can help you and your dog stay safe.”

For more information about adoptions and to enroll in the next training program, visit Animal Services online by following You might just find a friend waiting for you.

Photo Caption: Orange County Animal Services Manager Dil Luther provides advice to a new pet owner at a recent dog obedience training class.

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