Friday, June 11, 2010

Amazing DogTrainers

I have to rave about the wonderful, incredible people we found who taught us how to train puppies. John and Sue Anderson run Dogs In the Park, a dog training facility in Guelph, Ontario. I've mentioned them in passing before, but this afternoon we were once again blown away by how effective their training methods are.

In the space of about an hour, we taught Lance how to behave around a working lawn mower. Up 'til now, we'd left him inside when we mowed the grass, but it made him (and us) unhappy, so we decided to try and teach him to stay away from it. At first we thought we'd teach him to be scared of it, but then we realized that might mean he'd bolt into the street if someone started a mower right next to him. He needed to respect it, not fear it.

We started out by "popcorning" treats until the noise didn't bother him. This didn't take long. Soon enough, he wanted to "play" with Daddy while Daddy mowed. We took care of this by commanding "Leave It", which Lance knows well, every time he got near it, and by feeding him treats when he moved away from it and when he payed no attention to it. Using this dual approach, by the end of the hour or so it took to do the lawn he was unconcernedly sitting about 30 feet away, content to watch the action.

Lance is pretty smart, but he's not that smart. If Don and I hadn't been taught how to teach puppies from a well-respected animal behaviorist (Sue Anderson), it would probably have taken either all summer or all manner of unpleasantness to accomplish this.

Thank you, Dogs in the Park!


Nikki said...

I have watched the tv show with the ceazar guy and hes awsomw with dogs. he tells you, that you have the be the master and the dog needs to know that you are there as a leader..the dog will have your up most respect.

CousinLinda said...

That show and Dogs in the Park have a different philosophy on dog training. Whereas he wants to be their master, issue commands, and force them to do his bidding, John & Sue want to be their friends, ask them to comply, and reward them if they choose to do so. Of course, there are some things that are of necessity commands, and not open to interpretation, but they try and avoid them whenever possible.