Classes with Good Dog!

May 31, 2011

News of the Up and Coming!

Dog classes at Good Dog are moving along swimmingly. It’s interesting to watch the class progression between the two classes. Both are just over half-way through. I’m intrigued because people have missed classes, so it’s interesting to see how missing a single class affects the progress of the dog and the dynamic of the class as a whole.

Either way, though, everyone seems to be doing super well. I’m excited because I’m integrating bits and pieces from the Dr Ian Dunbar seminar into the classes as well. Like: going for controlled walks where you stop every 25 steps and wait the dog out for attention. A super cool exercise. I’ll detail it later.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it in class, but I should – about hand feeding so that the dogs are less afraid of strangers. It really bothers me that there are several dogs in each class that simply will not take food from me. I’m a small, adult female, extremely non-threatening and I carry good treats. What that tells me is that the dogs were not well socialized at some point. This is not the owners’ faults! I know some of the dogs came from rescues and sometimes you just have a fearful dog. It’s all about desensitization at that point.

So, the desensitization exercise would be: have different people hand feed the dogs. Mom hand feeds for three days, then Dad for three days, then on the 7th day: three strange MEN hand feed the dog. If the problem persists, repeat. Only, I would have them try and have some strange women do it too, the second time around. Mix it up a bit and make it less scary. And make sure that the strangers are hand feeding kibble that has liver or something sprinkled on it. This gives the dog the idea that Strangers Have the Best Candy. Which is generally a terrible thing to teach – However, this is for desensitization. Once the dog will take the food readily and even eagerly from strangers, THEN we can work on who it is and is not okay to take food from (via “Fido, Take It” and “Fido, Leave It” commands – always incorporating the dog’s name in a “Take it” command).

I am hoping that I can get some extra time in the classes – that is if everyone is doing as well as they have been – to teach leave it. Which is and awesome command and not taught anywhere in this curriculum and that drives me nuts. Because people try to use it without ever teaching it to their dogs. So, here’s hoping! It’s all dependent on the progress of class as a whole, though.



I’ve postponed Scruff2Fluff classes for the time being. I’ve been sick, and I haven’t been able to publicize them and I don’t want to hold class for just one dog.

I think what I may do, is either pitch the idea to Ken with Good Dog, or try a little later when I have more time and energy. Or, I could try and get a private training following first and then start offering classes – which would probably be a better idea. We’ll see. Either way, Something will happen soon! I think.

I’m considering borrowing some of Melissa’s equipment just for myself to use in the yard – Gimli would like that. 🙂 And I may be able to do private lessons with it in the yard if I can get my landlord’s approval. 😀 We’ll see.

Spring Has Sprung!

May 8, 2011

Spring on Library Mall

It’s finally getting nice out! Nice as in – warm and not necessarily raining the whole time – Yay!! What that also means is that classes are starting up again!

But first things first: I made a website for my dog training!
And a facebook page!
Go Like it!

Okay! Classes.
What kind of classes? Well – All kinds! First, I’ve finally gotten some things organized and I’ll be starting up teaching group dog classes out at Olbrich park on the east side of Madison beginning on Tuesday May 17th. To begin with, I’ll be holding a Life Skills Clinic class at 6:30 Tuesday nights. It’s rolling – so no beginning nor end (until the end of fall) – and it’s drop in. But email first! Go to my website to register. It will cover basic skills and manners for dog-friendly dogs. Potentially, I’ll be trying to get some shy-dog classes going later on, but that’s going to be based on demand.

Other classes! I’ve started teaching for Good Dog Home Obedience Training again in Arlington (north of Deforest). I’m teaching Pet Dog Manners classes for them, and after this first round, I’ll also be teaching Canine Good Citizen classes. Current PDM classes are Thursday evenings at 7 and Saturday mornings at 9:30. CGC classes will be held at 10:30 Saturday mornings.

One of my favorite things about the PDM classes is the 180 that some of the dogs do! Basic obedience classes are so much fun just because the changes you get to see in each dog are so dramatic. It’s pretty awesome. And! I’m working with a fantastic assistant up there this time around – her name’s Kate and she’s done a lot of work with search and rescue dogs – how cool is that?!

I would love to get more of my own classes going – trekking up to Arlington is kind of a long haul, even from the east side! So, spread the word! I’ll be printing out fliers and things for my Life Skills classes, too. Know anyone looking for a little obedience? New dog? Get ’em over here!

In other news!

I’m excited to be attending the Ian Dunbar seminar this coming weekend! Ian Dunbar is a huge figure in dog training – very influential. I’m actually really psyched about getting to go – so YAY!

So yeah! That’s all I’ve got for now! If you know anyone with a dog or getting a dog that wants training – tell them about me and send them on over! I’m going to be offering both group and private training. It’s gonna be awesome! 😀

In The New Year

February 5, 2011


As fate would have it, I’ve been a bit AWOL as of late. Winter this year has been a time of insanity and general lack of dog-stuff-ness. Which makes me sad. But, I’ve been getting back into it.

I was just voted into Badger Kennel Club as a full member, which rocks my socks kind of a lot. The BKC is a pretty nice organization and one of the only kennel clubs in the area, so it’s really a great opportunity to connect with other dog people – trainers, breeders, groomers, sitters and general dog enthusiasts. I’m pleased to be a full member now so I can be lead instructor instead of just an assistant. However, I have been assisting their Canine Good Citizen classes with Kay Scholl and Dave McGuire for two years now and I just love working with them. I actually really like the classes through the BKC a lot. There’re usually a fair number of dogs in every class and it makes things interesting to see so many different breeds come through. Plus, it’s always fun to watch the dogs come in with little to no training and watch them progress – many do complete 180’s which is just awesome. 🙂

Speaking of lead instructor, guess who’s teaching classes for Good Dog Home Obedience in Deforest again? Oh yeah, it’s me. I’ll be teaching Pet Dog Manners (basic obedience) and Canine Good Citizen for Ken Wedel again this summer – and I’ll more than likely be helping with Agility classes, too – Fun!! I’m pretty pleased. Ken usually ends up with a good spread of dogs coming through his place, and I just love teaching basic obedience-esq classes. The progress that the dogs make is just fantastic to watch when they’re in the beginning stages of training.

The other fun part about working for GDHO is that Ken’s most likely going to be borrowing Madison Mutt’s agility equipment. Which means we’ll have some really nice stuff for the dogs to use – and hopefully it means that Melissa (of MM) will be able to help teach the agility classes – because she’s awesome at teaching and I think it would be phenomenal to assist her classes again.

And the OTHER new thing is that I’ve finally started getting into grooming :D! Which, at this point, just means job shadowing groomer friends and asking a bazillion questions and practicing on Gimli and my dog-sitter’s two poodle mutts. At the moment, I’m hanging out with Rebecca Haglund of Diamond Dog Grooming in Oregon Wisconsin. Her business is relatively small and based in her home, but she’s very good and super awesome for letting me hang out, observe and study. I met her through the BKC, too – so, like I said, it’s an awesome way to make connections. 😀  Now if I could find a day that works for my other dog grooming friend, I’d be set. 😛

My work with Tabby & Jack’s is kind of on hold at the moment, but that’s what I expected for the time being. With the weather being less than ideal and us not having any kind of indoor facility, it’s difficult to get things going for training. Hopefully, in the spring when the weather clears, we’ll get that up and running again. In the meantime, I have some organizing to do.

AND! There’s a seminar coming up in May featuring Ian Dunbar! He’s kind of a big deal in the dog training world and I am Stoked to go see him. It’ll be rockin’. And hopefully super useful/educational. 😀  WOOT!

A Good Dog

October 15, 2010


Last night marked the end of the season of group classes at Good Dog Home Obedience Training (in Arlington, just north of DeForest). Which I would say is perfect timing because we were holding classes exclusively outdoors and I think we’ve exhausted our share of nice weather and sunlight on weeknights for the year.

The end of group classes sometimes makes me a little sad. I’ll miss some of the dogs; like this class had a little 5 month old shih tzu puppy named Tula that I just adored – she was SO CUTE! (Yes, I’m a sucker for small dogs 😛 ). And there will always be one or two people/couples that I just wish I could have done more to help or showed them a few more tricks for dealing with whatever issue they were having.

Class can be hard – after all, it is set up to be ridiculously distracting for all involved parties. I can be your best cheerleader and coach, but I can’t move you the way I need you to move to make things work as well for you as they do for me. All I can do is demonstrate. I love using class dogs as demo dogs. I already know my dog can do it, if I just show you how awesome my dog is, then I’m kinda just showing him off. I want to show you that your dog can do it. I can borrow people’s dogs and prove over and over again that their dog will do what they want him to do. Their dog can pay attention in the face of tremendous distractions; their dog can stay for them to walk 20 feet away, but sometimes it’s just hard to convince people that I’m not the only one who can get their dog to do whatever it is they’re asking. You can do it too! It just makes me wish I could do more.

On the whole, GDHOT has a lot of really cool advantages as a dog training business. Ken Wedel is the owner and the business is based on his farm. He’s got acres of space, plus barns and it’s mostly fenced in and open. Even the trees in one of the fenced areas are planted in such a way that they make great tools for stuff like heeling. If his barn was just a little bigger, it would be perfect for winter training, too. But! Maybe next year for that.

But: Good News Everyone!
In the new year, I’m going to begin to take on private training for GDHOT in addition to teaching group classes! I’m TOTALLY STOKED! The way that it’ll work is I’ll be splitting my week up, working certain days at GDHOT and other days at Tabby & Jack’s. I am so hip to this jive. 🙂

I think this may call for a move back to the near east side in the new year. Rock on.