Archive for October, 2007

Last week I did a training demo for a couple with an out of control lab puppy, just 16 weeks old.

She responded very well to me and impressed her owners.

They commented I had done more with their puppy in the 1/2 hour I was there than their entire puppy class. In fact they had one more class coming up this week & they didn’t think they were going to attend.

On the one hand, I was very happy I could communicate with their puppy in a way that would improve their relationship and the pup’s life.

On the other hand, I was quite sad they were about to graduate from a puppy class no better off than when they started. In some ways, they were worse off than when they started!

One of the things I love about the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP), is we’ve developed standards. Check out IACP to see what you should be able to expect from your puppy class.

It’s one of the reasons I’m proud to be an IACP Certified Dog Trainer!


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Building Progress

We spent a productive weekend working on the Canine Coach Field House, our new state of the art training facility. We had been stalled for quite a few months. Mostly because I don’t like being on a ladder on top of scaffolding reaching as high as I can to hold cumbersome metal panels! I finally worked through most of it and the ceiling is just 6 panels short of being completely sheathed. It takes 3 people to put up the panels on the 16-foot high section. Mark & I need to wait until our schedules match my dad’s until we can finish the ceiling. But that’s okay, lots of other stuff to keep us occupied.

Our Top Dog Rubber Flooring Shipped & should be here today or tomorrow.

We’re so excited. The Northwoods needs a facility where dogs can go to learn to become the best dogs they can be, safely & with their needs in mind.

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“Improving dogs’ lives by positively changing dog-owner relationships through balanced training”. This is one of Canine Coach’s mission directives.                  

Gracie is a young adolescent lab/pointer mix. On Monday we had our last lesson. I chose an off-lead walk thru the woods with some of my pack. It’s so rewarding to see a bunch of dogs running off-lead through the woods, coming back immediately when called, respectfully watching deer as they ran in front us. This is the way dogs’ lives should be. Having fun, but obedient even in distractions.  

When people think of dog training they most often think only of the dog. The truth is often times changing the owner’s behavior will change the dog’s behavior. It’s a combination. A team. A RELATIONSHIP.

One of the most rewarding things is to point out to the OWNER how much they’ve changed. They can see the changes in their dog. They often times overlook the changes in themselves. 

When we started Gracie’s owner was frustrated, doubtful, and almost at wits end. A few weeks later, a confident, happy and grateful owner emerged. Our last lesson ended with a joyful Gracie looking forward to a wonderful life ahead of her & a heartfelt hug from her owner while saying “you saved another one, Sharon”. 

Positive TEAMWORK, Positive Results!!!

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Yesterday was customer appreciation day at Culver’s restaurant. Butterburgers for a buck. Seeing as hubby & a friend were working on the training building, I figured I’d stop and get them something to eat.
As I pulled in, I saw a couple with a cell phone standing off to the side. It seemed a little odd, but I thought they were waiting to meet someone. I pulled around back thru the drive-thru. When I had finished and pulled out, I was what the couple was watching:

Two gorgeous huskies, one red & one chocolate. They were lying on the gravel shoulder of the divided highway munching on a deer carcass.
I pulled over to the couple to get some details. They weren’t theirs. Someone was looking for them.
I got out with a couple bags of treats & a couple kennel leads. I made my way on a diagonal towards them so just the drainage ditch separated us. I shook the treat bags & encouraged them. The chocolate one immediately took a few steps toward me & then sat. The other one decided to stop munching the carcass & barked at me.
My wildlife rescue training kicked in & I thought I’d circle around to the side of them to herd them off the shoulder and at least to the “safe” side of the drainage ditch. As I got to the highway, they started across the ditch to the couple with the phone. And promptly blew by them & paralleled me.
I then made my way back to head them off. I managed to have the chocolate one gingerly eating a treat from my hand as an SUV pulling a U-haul pulled up with a panicked woman shouting the dogs’ names. The dogs were totally disinterested. Two men got out of the SUV and joined the woman. All 3 frantically calling the dogs whom finally went to them.
The panicked woman thanked me, said they were her sister’s dogs. She opened one back door of the SUV to load them in, one of the men opened the other as I stood there just in case the dogs were just going to go in one side & out the other.They didn’t.
I couldn’t help but wonder if the people were scared enough this time to actually train the dogs to WAIT & to COME or if next time they wouldn’t be so lucky.

I went home with cold food & wet shoes. And a warm heart it all ended well.

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We ordered the rubber flooring for our new training facility! Yahoo. That means we’re that much closer to opening! I won’t open without rubber flooring to make training easier on the dogs’ bodies.

We decided on Dandy Products Top Dog Flooring. We should have it in a few weeks.

We also just have 6 ceiling panels left to put up. I’ll be very happy to not have to be on scaffolding holding panels.

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So how’d we get Ky into my kayak? A simple PLACE command, of course. We did a dry run, literally, too. I asked him to PLACE into my kayak while we were on dry land. I had him fetch the paddle. See photo.

Then I moved the kayak into the water and asked him to PLACE from the shore. He stepped right in.

Next was to move him out to deeper water away from shore. This is when I started questioning my sanity and started enjoying the full humor of it. Ky did, too. He has a great sense of humor.

Then, viola! Kyoak kayaks (see last post for photo).
Ky is such a good sport. He truly loves doing stuff like this. The product of a dog-human relationship developed thru balanced training.

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