By Lisa Spector, Canine Music Expert, Juilliard Graduate, and co-creator of Through a Dog’s Ear.
In honor of National Train your Dog Month sponsored by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), I have been dedicated my January blogs to dog training, specifically positive reinforcement, science-based training. My previous blog included an interview with veterinary behaviorist Ian Dunbar, the founder of APDT and the first trainer to start off-leash puppy and socialization classes with pups starting at 8 weeks of age.
A local business owner, who sees me often with Sanchez, made a passing comment the other day that really got my attention. He said, “You’re always training that dog.” While he didn’t mean it as a criticism, he certainly didn’t intend it to be a compliment, even though I replied with “Thank you.” A better compliment might have been, “You are always building relationship with your dog.” But, I don’t think that’s what he saw.
Sanchez is seven and was bred to be a guide dog. He loves to socialize, work, and keep his mind active. Recently I read that keeping a dog’s brain engaged is the key to a happy, healthy companion. This is very true with Sanchez. His mind is always working and even though he gets a tremendous amount of exercise, it needs to be combined with mental stimulation. I live in a very dog friendly town and he goes almost everywhere with me and loves all the attention he gets. Most locals know him by name. I work with him whenever we are in line at the bank, the hardware store, and when he needs a break from being in a down stay at the Apple Store (where we are both receiving training).