How I Became a Dog Trainer – Part 2

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Bev Maahs KPACTP

Don’t forget to read Part I!

After a long recovery from her surgeries, we continued to take Breezy out, and socialize her to new places. This was not  letting her go meet dogs, but showing her new places!

We moved to a city because we bought a house, so she had to learn to adjust to new yard, house and a cross provincial trip.

I graduated May 2011 from the KPA course and less than a month later, took her for a 3 day trip across the country to visit families, and this turned out to be a great way of showing her the world.  Staying in hotels at night for the first time with a dog.  She did spectacular!

I brought Nina Ottosson games with us, and kept her busy.  She was very tired from the traveling in the car, and the breaks we took showing her new places.

We left on our trip almost 2000 km’s 23 hours one way, but longer because we made many stops.  She travelled well and she did very well considering we had an accident early in the trip going north, when a deer hit our car.  This was in one of the National Parks in BC.  We reported it, and carried on, I do not know what happened to the deer! It did walk away from the accident.

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This picture shows Breezy and myself going down some stairs to a very loud raging river. People had to stop upstream and carry their canoes around this area, as they would be smashed against the rocks. Very dangerous water.

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On a farm in SK.

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Meadows in the Sky, Mount Revelstoke, BC

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Harlee very graciously, and patiently let her sleep on her bed with her.

Back at home on Vancouver Island we had Great Dane visit us. She stayed for 6 weeks. Harlee was  9 years here and very patient with Breezy, who thought she was the best guest ever! 

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Jan 2012, meeting a stranger on the trail, with a walking stick. Here she is handled by my husband.

There is no barking or lunging just here, and she is much more relaxed meeting people. Before this would have set her off in unrestrained barking and trying to run away.  Now she watches, gets Clicked and treated, and knows she is safe and won’t be harmed.

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A nice sit shot of Breezy with waterfall in the background. She has matured here.

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Wolfy in the background, here Breezy is jumping over the log in the water. 

We have since then done this trip once more in 2013, taking our other dog Wolfy with us.  Taken her to a Behavior Adjustment Training Class (BAT) and taken her on many walks in the city.  This is a small city, more town like than city.  She has been to theocean many times, and have Breezy matured into a nice dog!  She has had visitors to the house, and likes people, she does need to be kept busy.

This was a journey I did not set out on making with a dog that needed so much help.  I was very lucky before that the dogs I had before were socialized. We took them everywhere  even though we did not do it on purpose like I did with Breezy.  There are so many more opportunities to help dogs with issues, and many just need to be shown the world is not going to hurt them.  There are many cases for, and against getting a shelter or rescue dog.  Go in with your eyes open.  You need a lot of time and commitment to do this!  It was worth every step for me, and I have many more skills than I did before.  If you have a reactive dog, there is hope, but it takes many steps, and sometimes you will get frustrated, but there is hope, if you take one step at a time!

I am not frustrated like I used to be sometimes going for a walk I would come home crying, as she lunged and barked and I felt I handled it badly.  This was the first dog I had that my emotions got in the way, and she would not be the last.  I think a subject for another post!

If you have a dog that is difficult, the best thing you can do is look for a trainer that uses modern positive dog training.

There are so many resources out there, and going to watch a dog trainers class, and talking with the trainer is one way to make a decision about whether or not to take a class.  If a trainer won’t let you watch a class, then don’t sign up.  Use common sense when choosing a trainer!  Ask questions, how do you teach the class, when, how many dogs in class?

Don’t use just one technique, dogs are individuals, so are you.  Be aware of what is out there for dog training for reactive dogs.  Some dog resources are Click to Calm, Emma Parsons, Behaviour Adjustment Training, Grisha Stuart, and Dr. Sophia Yin, Skills for Handling Your Reactive or Hyperactive dog.

One of the best things you can do, if thinking of getting a puppy, is be proactive, educating yourself is the key!