Monday, May 14, 2012

Halo graduates!

Halo graduated from beginner level school on Tuesday night at PetSmart! The evening started off with an exam: Halo had to show off all that’s she’s learned, including sitting on command, coming when called, and walking nicely on a leash. I’m pleased to say she passed with flying colors!  Of course, the real students in this type of training class are the humans.  My boyfriend, Chris, took lead of taking Halo to training classes and learning how to work with her at home.  Of course I helped, but Chris led the charge and he did a wonderful job with her!
I am a huge advocate for training classes. Whether it be a puppy, newly adopted dog, or old dog you’ve had a long time, I believe that training classes are always beneficial.
For dogs you’ve already had a while, training classes are just a lot of fun. They’re a chance for your dog to get out of the house and do something interesting and new; its good mental stimulation, which will help your dog stay sharp and be happy.  It might also be a chance for you and your dog to work on some of the bad habits they might have developed over the years.
For new dog owners, taking your dog to training classes is a great way to bond with your new furry friend. Training classes are fun—for you and your dog, and are therefore a positive experience that will help form a positive relationship. Training classes will also give the dog owner some understanding of dog psychology and behavior, providing insight to how your dog’s mind works and why it’s doing the things it does. Understanding your dog and helping your dog to understand you is a great foundation on which to start a doggy-human relationship. Training classes may seem like they might just be a way to teach your dog “tricks”, but what you’re actually learning is how to communicate with your dog and how to teach your dog to communicate with you.
Halo receives her certificate of graduation!
Now, I’ve been through beginner classes with Leopold.  And not long ago I even started training to become a pet training instructor (before landing my job at the emergency vet clinic), so I feel confidant that I can teach a dog a thing or two on my own. However, I insisted that we take Halo to training classes despite. I insisted on classes because Halo needs socialization, and doggy school is a great way to help socialize a dog. Being in a class with other doggy students means a chance to interact with those dogs (and their owners!) in a positive setting. Better yet, taking classes in a busy store (we took Halo to PetSmart) means that there are also a lot of other people and dogs around besides those in the class.  When class is over, you can walk around and continue to meet new people and their pets.
Training classes may seem like a lot of money for some, but I find the money to be well spent.  Its a small price to pay for a happier, better-behaved dog!

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