Dog-Harmony offering free training advice for rescue dogs

special to GateHouse Media Florida

SANTA ROSA BEACH — Dog-Harmony Inc., a nonprofit that works to keep dogs out of shelters, is offering free training advice for rescued dogs with behavior problems, such as jumping, leash pulling, potty training and separation anxiety.

The training advice is offered on Wednesdays by Nancy Bown, Dog-Harmony’s founder and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer — Knowledge Assessed (CPDT – KA).

Bown can help over the phone, or better yet, after meeting the pet at Dog-Harmony headquarters, 237 Market St., off Walton County Road 393 North.

No shock collars or choke collars will be used. Bown is a force-free trainer. She recently was named a regional director for the Shock-Free Coalition, a national organization working to eliminate shock methods to train and manage pets.

“Training is important,” Bown said, “but it’s crucial to have the correct type of training.”

“Pet problems,” mainly undesirable behaviors and aggression, are the most common reason owners re-home their pet, according to the ASPCA's 2015 National Rehoming Survey. For dogs, nearly half are relinquished for that reason (47 percent).

While most dogs are re-homed to a friend or family member (41 percent), the survey found, the second-highest place where they end up is a shelter (34 percent).

What might have helped keep them in their homes, according to the survey? The second-most requested service was low-cost training or behavior help (34 percent).

The free training advice is by appointment only. Aggressive dogs are not eligible for the program. Call 850-376-4190 to reserve a spot.