[Note: This is a continuation of columns profiling local rescue dogs. We’ve handpicked these dogs in the hopes of finding them loving homes. We encourage you to ask questions and add your own parenting tips in the comments.]

Bow-Wow Bio

Sheila is a sweet, family-centered, softhearted pooch in search of her forever home. She loves spending time going on car rides and giving kisses to those who want to snuggle. Folks who have been fortunate enough to spend time with Sheila report she is brilliant at minding her manners at off-site adoption events, including getting along with kids and other dogs.

Although Sheila can come across a tad reserved upon first meeting, she soon warms up, showing her true playful, affectionate personality. Staff and volunteers confirm this loving pup will make a wonderful addition to any family who will give her time to adjust to life outside the shelter.

Canine 411

» Name: Sheila
» Breed: Pit bull terrier/Labrador mix
» Gender: Female (spayed)
» Age: 3½
» Weight: 45-plus
» Location: Santa Barbara County Animal Services

From the Dog Trainer’s Notepad

Want Sheila as part of your family? Try these tips:

» Establish expectations: Initially, decide what you want and what you expect from Sheila, then develop a plan of action to teach her what you’d like her to learn. Keep in mind it will take some time for her to adjust to life within a home environment and outside the conditions of a shelter. We encourage adopters to be realistic when determining what they want.

» Know your animal: Sheila is young and energetic, but is old enough to have developed her “dogginess,” establishing patterns, likes and dislikes. This includes car rides, social outings and snuggling. But, being more of a wallflower, she’ll need to be around people who are patient and understanding, as well as encouraging when it comes to confidence building.

» Figure out a behavior baseline: Having experience spending time with dedicated volunteers, attending off-site events, and socializing with other dogs and people of all ages, Sheila has had the opportunity to develop a nice arsenal of good manners. She enjoys learning, which means it’ll be easy for her new family to teach her what they want, and where and when they want it!

» Reward with recognition: To assist in maintaining and teaching Sheila about her new home life, we encourage those in her care to focus in on and acknowledge everything Sheila does that they want and like. Whether it’s going potty in the No. 1 spot (no pun intended), snuggling on the couch, or showing interest in new people and situations, it’s important to show acknowledgement when Sheila has made good choices and displayed acts of bravery. Developing a list of wanted behaviors will make a big difference in the training process.

» Create a safe haven: Managing Sheila’s environment will help ensure she has a better chance of making good choices, while at the same time showing that you are mindful of her personal space. This will be extra important as she settles in to her new home and learns all about new routines.

Pawsitive Mutt Match?

If you think Sheila is the gal for you, please contact Santa Barbara County Animal Services to arrange a meet-and-greet.

Currently, Sheila’s adoption fee is waived (savings of $110), but microchipping ($30) and licensing fees apply. To find out more about Sheila, check out her Petfinder Pet Page by clicking here. You may also call the volunteer adoption hotline directly at 805.681.4369.

Sharing Is Caring

We’ve got a whole bowlful of training tips. We’re happy to help you achieve your own dog training goals, so click here for a free download of our Top 10 Training Tips.

Community TalkBack

We’d like to hear from dog people in our community. Fellow pet parents, dog lovers and forward thinkers, what do you recommend for Sheila and her family-to-be? Add your comments below.

— Dear Inquisitive Canine/Tails from the Doghouse is written by Joan Mayer and her trusty sidekick, Poncho. Joan is a certified professional dog trainer and human-canine relationship coach. Poncho is a 10-pound mutt that knows a lot about canine and human behavior. Their column is known for its simple common-sense approach to dog training and behavior, as well as its entertaining insight into implementing proven techniques that reward both owner and dog. Joan is also the founder of The Inquisitive Canine, where her love-of-dog training approach highlights the importance of understanding canine behavior. If you or your dog have questions about behavior, training or life with each other, advice@theinquisitivecanine.com.

Joan Hunter Mayer

Joan Hunter Mayer

Joan Hunter Mayer is a certified canine behavior consultant, certified professional dog trainer, and founder of The Inquisitive Canine. She and her team are devoted to offering humane, pawsitive, practical solutions that work for the challenges dogs and their humans face in everyday life. Joan offers training and behavior consulting services both in person and online, dedicated to strengthening the human-canine bond. If you are feeling inquisitive and have dog training questions, email advice@theinquisitivecanine.com and click here for more training tips. The opinions expressed are her own.