Champaign County Humane Society (CCHS) believes that the best way to train and rehabilitate homeless animals is through reward based training. Positive reinforcement involves immediately rewarding an animal (with food, praise, toys, or play) when it offers a desired behavior. The beauty of positive reinforcement training is that it increases the likelihood that a good behavior will be repeated.
Through reward based training, shelter staff and volunteers are able to increase adoptability and enhance overall well-being of shelter animals while at the same time decreasing unwanted behaviors. Many animals arrive at the shelter and find themselves surrounded by unfamiliar people. Harsh training techniques and positive punishment are strongly discouraged because they cause unnecessary stress and can be unsafe for both the animal and the handler. Reward based training is a calmer, more gentle approach that helps to promote a bond between animals and people.
At CCHS, environmental enrichment (i.e. food dispensing puzzle toys, auditory stimulation, socialization, etc.) is used to help minimize stress of shelter animals, promote exploration, increase physical activity, and decrease boredom. Studies show that the physical and psychological well-being of shelter dogs can be greatly enhanced through contact with humans and other dogs. It is our goal to have all dogs walked at least twice per day. In addition, staff members and experienced volunteers supervise dog-to-dog playtime when appropriate.
To learn more about how you can help CCHS with training and enrichment for shelter animals, please visit our volunteer page.
Dog Training Classes
The Champaign County Humane Society offers two different beginner-level dog training classes (Puppy and Basic Manners). Both training classes are open to all dogs, regardless of whether they were adopted from CCHS.
Dog training classes cost $120 for a 6-week session (meets once per week). There is a $20 discount for dogs adopted from CCHS or another shelter/rescue. Classes are held at the Prairieland Feeds pet supply store in Savoy.
Dog handlers will learn how to apply motivational training techniques to teach their dogs new behaviors and how to change or manage unwanted behaviors. Most important of all, the classes will be fun and help build a stronger bond between dog and human.
For more information and FAQ's, click here.
Puppy Dog Training Class
If you have an energetic, wiggly, wormy, puppy that needs to learn some basic manners and become properly socialized then this is the perfect class for you! Puppies that are 2 to 4 months old and current on vaccinations are eligible for enrollment.
You will learn how to teach your puppy the following behaviors: sit, lie down, loose leash walking, come when called, leave it, drop it, and stay. Basic handling, grooming techniques, and management of typical puppy behavior such as nipping, house training, and barking will also be addressed.
Owners will also learn how to properly socialize their puppies with other puppies and novel environmental stimuli. Socialization is invaluable in preventing the development of problem behaviors later on.
To enroll in a CCHS Puppy dog training class: (1) view the calendar for start dates/times and (2) Contact CCHS at 217-344-7297 to reserve your place in class. Please note that payment is due in full in order to reserve your spot in any CCHS dog training class. We will accept credit card payment by phone.
Basic Manners Dog Training Class
Do you have a dog that is over 4 months old that needs to learn how to be well mannered at home or while out in public? Or, perhaps you are the proud adopter of an adult shelter dog and want to establish a bond or instill some good household manners right from the start.
In the CCHS Basic Manners class, you will learn to train your dog to respond to his name, sit, lie down, leave it, drop it, and stay. During class we will also discuss teaching your dog not to jump up on people or pull on the leash. Adult dogs in this class must be current on vaccinations and must be able to be around other dogs without barking or acting aggressively.
To enroll in a CCHS Puppy dog training class: (1) view the calendar for start dates/times and (2) download and complete this questionnaire, and email it to Breanne Tabbert at Breanne@cuhumane.org. A CCHS representative will contact you to complete your enrollment. Please note that payment is due in full in order to reserve your spot in any CCHS dog training class.