UTAH

Tooele dog trainers urge pet owners to retrain instead of surrender

Feb 28, 2024, 1:54 PM | Updated: 2:39 pm

Brent Warner works on training and obedience as he helps Rudy over the ramp. Smokey waits his turn....

FILE: Brent Warner works on training and obedience as he helps Rudy over the ramp. Smokey waits his turn. (Kristan Jacobsen, Deseret News)

(Kristan Jacobsen, Deseret News)

TOOELE, Utah — Pet owners who are struggling with an unruly dog face a dilemma that may be solved by retraining.

For example, the Tooele Animal Shelter refuses to take in surrendered animals, and many owners don’t want the stigma of having to let go of a pet.

Consequently, some owners give wild reasons for letting their pets go.

“People are faking death to move a dog along because they don’t want to face the backlash,” said Mikayla Belden. She and her husband run Belden Haus K9 in Tooele.

Dog owners and hard choices

Belden says many of the owners and dogs they meet don’t need to risk those feelings.

“People will say ‘my dog is aggressive, my dog has separation anxiety’ … things along those lines,” she said. “But we go over there, and we’re like, ‘You have a great dog! You just need very basic, minimal training, and you can turn this dog around so fast.’

“Every time, it’s exactly what happens.”

Accessible resources

Belden encourages pet owners to look into spending time with a trainer. If time and money are issues, she says training is available through free resources like YouTube.

And Belden along with her husband often volunteer to help.

“We do what’s called a ‘pack walk’ every Saturday at England Acres Park at 11 a.m. It’s basically just a free training session. We have people who drive out from Layton, Pleasant Grove, and all over just to come walk their dog and get the training.”

She admits it’s not as one-on-one as in-home training lessons, but it’s a free resource which she believes will stay around.

“We’re dog lovers. We want to help as many dogs and people as we can. There’s nothing more fulfilling than being able to watch people enjoy their dogs again.”

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Tooele dog trainers urge pet owners to retrain instead of surrender