Wouldn’t it be fun to take your dog with you to a doggie seminar? What about one that lasts 3 full days? That’s exactly what I did recently by attending Clicker Expo in Nashville, TN. The weekend was full of learning how to use clicker training to help dogs live successfully in our world. It was also filled with 423 attendees who were trainers, dog care professionals and dog lovers from all over the world.
The event itself was truly amazing and I cannot wait until the next opportunity to attend in 2013. That being said, the most fantastic part is that I was able to enjoy the seminar with my best friend, Curly! Curly is an energetic 5 ½ year old Rat Terrier boy who has my heart. I love him dearly, but I was unsure how he’d behave in such a big event in a nice hotel. My goal was just to have fun spending 1-on-1 time with him while learning. The fact of the matter I got so much more.
What I got was an opportunity to practice (and sometimes test) our Canine Life and Social Skills. We recently completed the Master level group class where we passed by other dogs in different environments and distances, loose leash walked with a full glass of water (without spilling a drop) and weaved between “leave it” items that were very tempting. Little did I know how much these skills would come into play during the seminar.
Opportunities abound: The long hotel hallways were sprinkled with shiny room service temptations begging to be sniffed. Curly passed by without making contact and responded quickly to his learned cue to “leave it”. Other attendees also brought their dogs of all shapes and sizes. We passed by these dogs with ease in narrow hallways, which was not always the case before going through the MA group CLASS. The encore was on the last day. During dining times I had crated Curly in our room, but we had checked out of our room prior to lunch and it was too hot to crate him in the car. Our final test…to walk through the Mexican buffet line with Curly’s leash in one hand and a plate in the other. The lunch consisted of tacos that were not pre-assembled Curly was a gentlemen patiently sitting at my side listening to my directions to “wait” and “heel” forward. I kept telling him how good he was doing as we made it through the line. Someone even asked “Do you have a dog over there?” due to his classy ways. We also had to walk to the iced tea station to get a full glass of tea and walk back to our table without a spill. I was very impressed!
I tell my students why Canine Life and Social Skills is so important to encourage them to realize the benefits they will reap. Now I have a personal example of how valuable these skills are to teach and practice with our canine companions!
Paula Nowak is a C.L.A.S.S. Evaluator, K9 Nose Work® Certified Instructor, and Certified Trick Dog Instructor.
Canine Country Academy, LLC www.CanineCountryAcademy.com
New Rattitude Rat Terrier Rescue www.NewRattitude.org