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  • Behavior expert coming to PACC

    Mar 06, 2020 | Read More News
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    Steffen BaldwinPIMA COUNTY – A very special guest will soon be headed to Pima Animal Care Center. Steffen Baldwin with Save Them Dog Training is visiting the shelter March 9-11 to teach safe dog handling skills. 

    The training is being offered to animal shelter staff and volunteers, along with staff from Pima County Risk Management and the Pima County Sherriff’s Office. This training will focus on teaching effective and safe handling skills for dogs demonstrating aggressive behaviors and dogs that are fearful and have the potential to bite. While there has been no increase in dog bites in Pima County over the past several years, this kind of training is aimed at reducing bite incidents and keeping handlers from being injured. 

    Baldwin runs an organization in California aimed at providing housing, assessment and rehabilitation of dogs with histories of aggression. He travels around the U.S. teaching safe dog handling to shelters, police departments and other agencies, with the goal of reducing injuries to humans. 

    Kristen Hassen, Director of Animal Services, said this training is an important step towards a proactive approach to reducing bites and injuries to PACC officers and other law enforcement in Pima County. 

    “This training is going to provide advanced handling training to our officers, shelter staff and people who handle dogs in stressful situations where accidents are most likely to occur,” she said. “It’s part of our ongoing effort to give people the tools they need to keep them and the dogs they’re handling safe.”

    According to his website, Baldwin says he and his family has been in the dog training business for over 70 years. He said the most important thing is to understand what a dog is telling you with its body language before things escalate.

    “Any dog, every person, has a stress threshold,” Baldwin said. “It’s basically how much stress you can take. Any dog can be pushed to their limit. And when they react, they do it with their mouth. In cases where people are bitten, many of those threat displays are missed. Many people don’t know they are showing signs until the dog begin barking and charging. That’s how we mitigate it. It’s more about what they are saying before they go over the threshold.”

    His idea for training people all started with law enforcement to help them find ways to safely deal with dogs when they see them in the field. Now, he offers classes for rescues, shelters and even children’s classrooms.

    “It’s all about education,” he said. “The more info… the better informed we are, the better decisions we can make.”

    Pima Animal Care Center is located at 4000 N. Silverbell Rd. Anyone interested in adopting can stop by or take a look at PACC’s website. The adoption price covers a microchip, spay or neuter surgery, and up-to-date vaccinations. There is a $20 licensing fee per dog.