SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – September is back-to-school month for kids. But what about our pets? Should they be going to school too? KCBS’ Jeff Bell talks to Dr. Jack Aldridge, Director of Veterinary Services at The San Francisco SPCA.

It’s never too late to teach dogs new tricks, nor too early for that matter. Part of responsible dog ownership is keeping your dog under control, especially in a public environment.

Some of the benefits of training classes for dogs: behavior issues are the number one reason animals are surrendered to shelters, many of the issues that are problematic are fixable – it just takes some time and dedication and preventing those bad behaviors from developing directly impacts the number of homeless dogs and cats.

Aldridge said it is never too early to get dogs started in school. The San Francisco SPCA offers several classes for puppies less than 18 weeks of age, including Puppy Manners and Puppy Playgroups.

And while pups are perfect candidates for training classes, older dogs can also be trained. When you adopt an older dog, classes will not only reinforce manners and good behaviors, they also strengthen the bond between the dog and guardian.

In terms of a good training class, Aldridge said it should include play sessions and basic commands, such as “sit”, “stay” and “down”, you should learn simple techniques for dealing with common behavior problems such as preventing your puppy from chewing the couch or jumping on people, look for a program that uses positive reinforcement techniques, with rewards for good behavior and stay away from classes that use choke chains, leash-jerk correction or other physical punishments.

Animal Update airs on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM on Sundays at 1:35 p.m., 3:35 p.m., and 9:21 p.m.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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