Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 31, 2004
classes to increase dogs’
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The Natchez Democrat
NATCHEZ &045;&045; Earlier this month, German researchers announced the discovery of a border collie named Rico who they say understands more than 200 words and can add new words to his vocabulary as easily as a toddler.
While dog obedience trainer Jennifer Curran may not guarantee as much for the pooches attending her training course, she hopes her canine students will come away knowing a few additional commands while assisting the Natchez Humane Society in the process.
Curran, a vet tech at the Natchez Veterinary Clinic, recently moved from Omaha, Neb., to Vidalia, La., to prepare for veterinary school at Louisiana State University. She brought her Shetland sheep dog Emma and golden retriever puppy Midas.
Looking for training classes for Midas, Curran discovered not only a need for an obedience instructor but also a financial need at the Natchez Humane Society.
Having attended both obedience and agility classes with Emma in Omaha, Curran knew how important good training is for both dogs and their owners.
&uot;It makes for a happier dog, which makes for a happier home,&uot; Curran said Monday afternoon playing with her dogs in Duncan Park.
Realizing the need, Curran decided to offer the classes herself with the proceeds going to the Human Society.
&uot;Every little bit helps,&uot; Curran said.
Last week ended Curran’s first series of courses, and by all accounts it was a great success.
&uot;One puppy started out aggressive. He would bite and not let anyone put a collar on it,&uot; Curran said. &uot;By the end of the courses he was letting everybody pet him.&uot;
With three puppies and seven adult dogs, Curran taught the basics of obedience, including commands like &uot;sit,&uot; &uot;lay down,&uot; &uot;stay&uot; and &uot;heel.&uot; For fun she helped owners teach their dogs such &uot;parlor tricks&uot; as &uot;shake,&uot; &uot;wave&uot; and &uot;play dead.&uot;
Although the dogs added a few words to their vocabulary, Curran thinks the important lessons were left for the owners.
&uot;You have to practice,&uot; Curran said. &uot;Just coming once a week is not going to do it. You have to incorporate what they learn into the daily life of the dog.&uot;
Curran plans to start a new six-week course Aug. 9. For more information e-mail Curran at
or inquire at Fideaux’s pet supply store on Canal Street in Natchez.