Famous animal behavioralist visits Iowa City - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Famous animal behavioralist visits Iowa City

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Adopting a puppy is a big moment in a person's life.

That's why world-renowned animal behavioralist Brian Donovan says it's so important that puppies are ready for adoption when the time comes.

"They're kind of a clean slate right now, and they're in the store anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks, so we want to get the puppies acclimated to the training process," said Donovan, President of DOGstar Productions, which focuses on dog training.

His training involves a few simple but effective techniques to teach puppies obedience and relaxation, and he says more pet stores and vet clinics are catching on that they work. He was at the Iowa City Petland on Sunday. Donovan used a young Shiba Inu as an example; it's well-known to staffers as being especially spirited.

"It likes to talk," said employee Tamra Lewis. "It's one of our few Shibas we've had that makes a bit of noise."

Donovan shows his audience that treats can be used as lures, to get young dogs to sit and lay down. Another exercise involves rolling a puppy on its back, and correcting it when it fights off nail clippers or a brush. After a few quick reprimands, the Shiba puppy is putty in Donovan's hands.

"Sometimes they can be a little rambunctious," explained employee Amy Braun, "so using those roll-over techniques will really really help to make it a little bit easier for the puppy, and for customers when they're taking the puppy home."

Donovan says consistent training like this can make a huge difference in a puppy's transition from shop to home.

"They're learning, and they're going through these developmental stages, and some of these stages are by the hour."

And these employees are learning that using those techniques will mean happier customers, and happier pets.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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