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Dog Training Class Fetches Praise

Misbehaving puppies of Easton beware: Julie Zbriger of Trumbull is teaching an obedience class at the Easton Community Center on Mondays, helping owners train their canines through consistent reinforcement and praise.

The classes started Nov. 8 and will run until Dec. 13. Zbriger is also teaching an obedience class for adult dogs on the same nights.

"I've wanted to do it my whole life," Zbriger said of working with dogs. "Even when I was little I was always reading dog training books."

During the first class, Zbriger laid the foundation for seven Eastonites to build a healthy relationship with their best friends. She said owners must claim their space when dogs demand attention, and they shouldn't repeat commands more than once.

"If they're jumping on you, turn your back to them," she said. "Try ignoring them and create a space between you. If that doesn't work, you can try putting them in another room for five seconds. The main thing is you want you put a stop to their behavior."

Some participants were interested in housebreaking techniques and teaching basic commands, such as sit. Zbriger said it can be hard to know when your dog needs to go outside, but the sum of your dog's age in months plus two equals an approximate number of hours that your dog can control its bladder.

"For smaller dogs it may be less," she said. "It all depends on the size of the dog and the breed. The trick is to get your dog on a schedule, try and take him outside before he goes. ... If you catch him in the act, you can stop him and take him outside. ... If you don't catch him, there's really nothing you can do."

Zbriger works full time for Best Friends Pet Resort & Salon in Norwalk. The 24-year-old also runs her own full-service pet-sitting business, Pampered Paws Pet Care. For more information about the dog obedience class, contact the Easton Community Center at 203-459-9700 or Julie Zbriger at 203-260-3069.

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