Back to School

The Doodlebug is going to school . . . and mama’s going too!

Doodlebug could barely sleep last night from anticipation about the first day of basic obedience class tonight. He’s nervous and excited! He’ll be joining a small handful of fine canines for a six-week adult basics class under the cedar and oak trees at the Canine Center for Training and Behavior. Under the mentorship of his trainer, we hope he’ll learn how to be confident and focused in new settings, solidify and refine his basic commands, and finally learn the loose leash walking that mama has excused him from during his heartworm treatment. He’s nervous about all the homework he’s going to have — it will not only include practicing basic commands, but also establishing and reinforcing house rules about polite behavior and building a stronger relationship with his people.

But the Dude isn’t the only one going to school — I’m in school too. At the beginning of this year I joined the Center as an intern/apprentice, and I’ve immersed myself deeply in the world of dog behavior and learning. On top of observing and assisting in group classes, behavioral evaluations, and private lessons dealing primarily with reactivity, anxiety, and aggression, there’s mountain of reading around here and enough writing assignments and other homework to keep me busy for months.

Luckily, the boys (especially the Doodlebug) are totally committed to helping mama succeed!

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26 responses

  1. That sounds wonderful! I don’t suppose you know of any other center’s like that around the world? I would love to get involved in something like that.

  2. Good for both of you! While you’re deeply entrenched in a subject dear to my heart (dog behavior/people behavior around dogs) I’d love to add to my own store of knowledge by reading along. Feel free to publish the list of reading material so those of us who choose to can follow along.

    I did manage to read one book title even though it’s upside down in the photo. Dog Mirror … ?

    • Kathy, you’re reading the author’s last name as part of the title. The author is Desmond Morris, title is DOGS; looked it up on Amazon and it’s an encyclopedia of breeds. My favorite author on dog behavior is Patricia McConnell: At the Other End of the Leash (how human handlers affect dog behavior) and For the Love of a Dog (on dog emotion and behavior). Another one I liked was Dr. Sophia Yin, How to Behave so your Dog Behaves — lots of good info on positive reinforcement training.

  3. That’s awesome! I’ve been finding that working with other people’s dogs inspires me to go home and work even more with my own… haha, maybe it’s a bit of competitiveness, like, if I can teach five shelter pit bulls to walk on a loose leash, why is our puppy still pulling us down the sidewalk? SHE MUST WIN. Good luck with it all, and I hope the obedience class went great!

  4. that’s awesome! the dude is gonna do great with you supporting him, aleks. and i know you will do well in your role as intern/apprentice. i’m so excited for you, especially since i want to learn moe about canine behavior and training.

  5. Does Snickerdoodle get a new backpack for school?? He’s going to do great! And it’s great news that you’re getting so involved with training, behavior, etc. – you are quite amazing!

  6. That’s so exciting! I can’t wait to hear about all the stuff you learn. I am sure you already know this, but pibbles are amazing study buddies. My Harley-monster helped me pass all law school finals (she cuddled so close, I think she might have absorbed some law knowledge of her own), and during the bar, she so patiently laid near by as I studied hard, and provided me some much needed study breaks

  7. I apprenticed with a PR+ trainer for years and the knowledge and information I gathered from her is invaluable (as I am now the co-founder of a pit bull rescue in Ontario).

    You’re going to LOVE it!

    Every dog owner should read Culture Clash! It is THE best dog book available. Another book is “Bones Would Rain From The Sky” – I can’t count how many times I’ve read it.

    Right now I’m into “Inside Of A Dog” – its a bit wordy, but filled with fantastic information about how dogs see the world!

    Go get ‘em! Can’t wait for updates!

    • I was just going to post the exact same thing. Everyone should be required to read The Culture Clash before getting a dog. It literally changed my dogs lives and my life too. Calming Signals is also a great book but you’ll never watch “funny” dog videos on the internet the same way again.

  8. Wonderful training/learning for you both – and I know you will share with others. There is a training center in town but many of the trainers use old, punishing techniques so I would be hesitant to align myself with them. Have a great time and keep us up to speed!
    BTW, I have 4 dogs now undergoing various stages of HW treatment; egads!

  9. How, oh how, does he make those eyes?!?! it is impossible not to want to love him forever and ever – no wonder you failed to let him go. Doodlebug is too precious, and oh so handsome!!!

  10. Oooo I hope the Dude has his first day of school outfit all picked out! Also, you’re going to be a great trainer- it already shows! You should check out Sarah Kalnaj’s DVD ‘The Language of Dogs’ if you like Rugaas’ book about calming signals- it is pretty remarkable stuff! Good luck to you both!

  11. Pingback: Blog Feature: Love & a Six-Foot Leash | 100 Words On

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