Honestly, it feels so good to be back in the game training with Mary at Lucky Dog Company after a short break. Even though I am with dogs all day, every day...and my entire life practically is revolved around dogs, it stills gives me a wonderful outlet and I truly enjoy working with my own two. While I certainly work solo with my own on a regular basis, being in a class environment surrounded by others with similar goals is not only fun but also inspiring watching everyone else's progressions.
Chesnee is approximately eight years of age, so it amazes me when people think their older dogs are simply just "trained." Why stop working with them? Dogs enjoy pleasing, working hard and it is such great mental and physical stimulation for them. Chesnee started out with agility for fun, but I soon started to get the itch to do therapy work. Mary from Lucky Dog is so passionate about therapy it is such a pleasure to receive instruction from her.
On the flip side, it is not too early to start working on basics with a puppy - basic engagement and rewarding behaviors we like. Chesnee and Settler are very different from one another and were trained very differently from the beginning. Looking back there were things I would change with both, but all I can do from this point on is train the dog in front of me.
These last couple of months I have also been working on training myself and my reactions (staying positive even when the situation is not good) because Settler can be reactive and a handful since he can be very insecure. I have been so inspired by Mary (and Kris!) that I also have looked into the Professional Pet Guild and some additional stress-free and fear-free certifications not necessarily associated just with dog training but also pet care that I can be a part of.
The first thing I became a part of is the Shock Free Coalition. Check it out and educate yourself as well! I am disappointed in the number of people that reach out inquiring if shock collars are a good idea and the lack of education that surrounds them. Looking on the bright side I am glad they are asking before just going out and buying them.....