There are so many ways to train our dogs, some formal and some quite informal. In fact, every moment we spend with them, we are training in some way because we are constantly sending them signals and they are responding.
I train formally at Almost Home Boarding and Training on Dorsey Lane in Louisville. Since I have five dogs, it’s difficult for me to decide who gets to go to classes, but Izzy, my little blue merle girl is often chosen. Just because. Just because she so loves to work. Just because she needs to work. Just because she has a fear factor that I am working hard to resolve with her.
Once a week, a group of five owners and five dogs of all sizes and personalities meet for “class” led by Almost Home owner and APDT certified trainer, Katie Peckenpaugh. It is an ongoing class unlike most that are limited to a number of sessions. I have been a member of the group for a few months, but others have been meeting for much longer. We have worked on a variety of activities to stimulate the dogs to think and be a partner with us. On some nights, we practice basic obedience like long sits or stays and recall exercises using both verbal and non verbal signals. Other times, we are greeted with a Rally or Agility course to run through. The variety is fun for the dogs and for us.
Since the weather is now nicer, the last two meetings have been outdoor adventures with our dogs. Last week, we all met at a local walking trail and worked on heel exercises, keeping our dogs focused on us while meeting other dogs, people and even children romping and playing. The treat, however, came last night when one of our members arranged for us to meet at a local restaurant, Selenas, for dinner with our dogs on the patio. What a pleasure on a nice Spring evening to eat a delicious meal and enjoy visiting with new friends while being accompanied by our fur babies!
Dog training at its best is evaluating our dog and our interactions with our dog and giving them the opportunity to succeed. Why do I so enjoy this? Just because. Just because I love to work with my dog. Just because I need to work with my dog to build a better relationship. Just because I also sometimes have factors that I need to resolve which affect how my dog responds and the quality of their life.
Note on picture: Izzy is in trainer’s lap rather than under the table and one owner is our photographer so not pictured. The group consists of Izzy, a mini Aussie; Naylan, a Corgi; Sam, a Collie; Sonny, an Aussie; and Claire, a Doberman.