Top Dogs

This Valentine’s Day, why not make a lasting relationship with someone who needs it the most? Below are some eligible suitors from neighborhood shelters who could really use a companion.
Text by Ryan Jarrell | May 13, 2018 | Lifestyle

Known around the shelter as “Mr. Steal Your Heart”, this Hound/Retriever Mix would be a perfect loving addition to any home. Energetic, adoring and infinitely loyal, he would be perfect for a pet-free family looking to spend some time training this lonely little guy;


A loveable, furry pal who is as sweet and Valentine’s Day-appropriate as his name implies, Hershey is an approximately 5-year-old Rottweiler Mix ready to call you his best friend. Perfectly behaved and completely well-adjusted, this eminently trainable and noble hound is simply looking for a gentle home to spend his twilight years running and smiling into the sunset each day;

Loveable, adoring, great with kids and other dogs, Tonk is an animal you’d have to try really hard to come up with reasons not to adopt. A Labrador/American Bulldog Mix, Tonk’s a large and in-charge canine companion eager to find a partner to workout with;

There are a few steps necessary to teach your pooch to deliver some A+ puppy love this month and all year long. First, use a small dab of peanut butter or cream cheese on your cheek to encourage your dog to lick your face. Have a handful of your dog’s favorite treats nearby. With your dog in a sitting position in front of you, lean in to your dog, offering your cheek. As soon as your dog gets interested in licking your cheek, you should say “yes” and offer one of his favorite treats as a reward. Next, it’s important to repeat the steps until your dog shows a high proficiency of leaning in to lick your cheek. Even as all the peanut butter or cream cheese disappears, your dog should continue to give your cheek a “kiss” in order to earn his favorite treats in your hand. Once your dog is performing at 90% proficiency, you can add the cue “give me a kiss.” It’s important that when teaching a dog any new command you don’t add the verbal cue until after the dog has been reliably demonstrating the behavior you want. By waiting until your dog is performing the behavior at least 90% of the time, you are ensuring that your dog matches his behavior with the word you’d like to use. Have your dog use his awesome new trick to show his favorite human friends some Valentine’s day love!

› Dee Hoult is the CEO of Applause Your Paws, South Florida’s largest privately owned pet dog training company, and Miami’s #1 user-rated dog-training company