Local dog trainer says pandemic offers some benefits for new puppy owners

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Because of COVID restrictions, Dogsmartz Unleashed had to get more creative with how they can effectively train pets

POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing businesses to change their day-to-day operations, and DogSmartz Unleashed in Poland is no different.

DogSmartz Unleashed is a local training with a few different locations. Workers have seen a 40 percent uptick in people in the Valley who have gotten puppies during the pandemic.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, workers have had to get more creative with how they can effectively train pets as efficiently and safely as possible.

They still offer in-person training during normal business hours, but they have now started offering virtual classes over the last few months. They’ve received a lot of great feedback from customers who say training your pet in the comfort of your own home certainly has its perks.

“Teaching our dogs to say, you know, be polite when people are eating, we can do practice run-throughs right there,” said owner Jenny Falvey. “I think it’s been fun and effective. Those are really big bonuses to going virtual.”

Some puppies may have separation anxiety because they’re home now with their owners. Falvey said there are ways to safely and slowly introduce the dogs to new people or environments, however.

She recommends sitting in a parking lot with your pup and letting it watch other people.

“Go online and download sounds of random things like traffic sounds, fireworks, thunder, do exposure work at home,” she said.

It could come in handy. Falvey expects a second wave of new puppy parents now that we’re past the holidays.

“It’s really important people, at least this time around of getting puppies, do the things you should to expose them so these guys don’t become fearful or reactive to things,” she said.

DogSmartz Unleashed has locations in Poland, Hermitage and Warren.

You can check them out at www.dogsmartzunleashed.com for more information about training sessions and business hours.

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