After adopting my dog, Sugar, in March, I knew that I needed to be trained on how to raise her. I wanted to be sure that I had a dog that was good around people, other dogs, and could handle children running up to her. I didn't want a dog who would bite, jump, growl, or be aggressive in any way. While I was lucky in adopting a dog who had a naturally kind demeanor, I still knew that without training, she wouldn't feel (or be) safe.
Everyone, I mean, EVERYONE that had a dog told me about a place called Paws-itive Experience Pet Services a few towns away. They said that the shop, the training, and all of the experts, were amazing. People seriously raved. I googled the website, got the number and called. Jane, a woman with an amazing British accent, gave me all of the information I needed for basic training, and I also got information about private training.
|Sugar on my son Johnny's lap|
I also signed us up for Basic Obedience 1, to teach Sugar the basics. In the time between when the trainer came and the first Basic Obedience class, I was invited to call with any question I had about Sugar. Jane always had answers for me, and put my mind at ease. Sugar didn't want to go in the crate, for example, and I had to leave the house. So I called Jane. Things like that. She was amazing. When I finally got to meet her, and put a face to her voice, I was elated.
Anyhow, the basic obedience program is behavior training. We humans are trained how to behave, and our behavior fosters good behavior in our dogs. We must be consistent, confidence, and firm. The word "no" isn't used in training, neither is yelling. Commands are soft and firm.
John, the trainer who taught our Basic Obedience classes, is so good at what he does, that if participants actually do what he teaches (consistently), I cannot imagine a dog not learning. He taught us so much that we are returning for Basic Obedience 2, then 3, then their Out and About class, and their therapy dog class. Basically, we are taking as much training as we can get!
I learned that confidence and boundaries are important, and when I know what needs to be done and I do it with confidence, my dog will follow. I learned that dogs can sense the energy people send out (they sense fear, love, security). Oh, and she LOVES other dogs. Many days a week, I drop her at doggie day care (at Paws-itive) even though I don't need to have someone watch her. I do it because she loves it, she thrives on interacting freely with other dogs. The dogs always have a human in the play space with them -- all the humans there are fabulously kind and great with dogs, which makes me very happy -- and all the doggies maintain good social behavior. Sugar runs to the building, up the stairs, and into the door for both day care and behavior classes. She loves it there (let's face it, we all do). Everyone is so super nice, and they offer lots of great services for our dogs (even a do-it-yourself doggie bath).
Paws-itive has changed the way that I view dogs, my relationship to them, and the understanding of my responsibilities as a doggie mom. Even more, though, I have learned the many ways I can enrich my dog's life so that she feels safe, has fun, and thrives.
As she lays on her bed next to me, I am thankful for the four hours she spent playing at Paws-itive today, and I look forward to her returning. Knowing that on rainy days and in cold winter weather (or hot summer weather), she has a place to play and get exercise, makes me very happy.
If you haven't experienced Paws-itive yet, SERIOUSLY call them right now. They are a life-changing experience.