German shepherd, Siberian huskies are most often surrendered to shelters

Staff Report

A new effort has been launched by Santa Barbara Humane to provide dog training to families with German shepherds and Siberian huskies, or any mix of these breeds.

According to Matt Chan, KPA CTP, the certified trainer leading the classes, these are two of the dog breeds most likely to enter Santa Barbara County animal shelters. In fact, at the Santa Maria Campus there are currently six in the care of the shelter team.

“Owners fall in love with these cute furry puppies who look like stuffed animals,” Chan said. “Then they grow and are very strong in their physique and in their temperament. This causes frustration for the owners and the dogs.”

Without professional training and understanding of the behaviors and common breed tendencies, these dogs then are often surrendered to shelters. Some of the most common traits include excitability for huskies, and overprotectiveness for shepherds.

Through the donor funded Confident Canine School of Behavior, Santa Barbara Humane offers affordable dog training classes that improve communication between humans and dogs to cultivate healthy, happy and lifelong partnerships.

Using modern, force-free, reward-based training techniques at the core of Santa Barbara Humane’s behavior program, the new specialty class will help husky and shepherd owners understand and manage these breed-specific traits and will lead to less relinquishments

At any given time, shepherds and huskies comprise about 50% of the dog population at Santa Barbara Humane’s Santa Maria Campus. The class aims to teach owners the skills to increase confidence and trust, ultimately keeping huskies and shepherds in happy homes where they can thrive. 

“We want to keep families together,” said Chan.

The Shepherd Training Class began in September, and SB Humane officials said there will be more classes in October and following months. Each class will include five sessions. Families can sign up at, and scholarships are available.