Cadeau, my canine companion, came into my life when she was 15 months old. Before that, she was with a bigger dog who was bullying her up and an elderly woman whose health made it difficult to handle the two.
Already very well trained, she adjusted quickly to her new life. After a few months, however, she started to become a little more persistent in her demands for play and attention. (Hence earning the nickname “Bossy Terrier.”) I grew up around dogs but had limited experience with training, so I thought it would benefit us both to get some professional help. I hoped it would strengthen our bond and keep order in the pack.
We started with some obedience and quickly advanced to agility classes. They were fun, but I got turned off when one of the instructors criticized Cadeau for being “so sensitive” when she tried to use a leash correction with her. As a sensitive being myself, I decided we needed a kinder, gentler approach to training.
We were very pleased to find Andre Yeu at When Hounds Fly. We first turned to him for guidance when we moved into our house and Cadeau started barking at passers-by. He made a house call and set us up with some simple exercises to distract her and reduce her reaction. He also gave us some fun games and tricks we could teach her to keep her busy.
Andre and his team of instructors practice gentle, force-free, positive reinforcement training. We enjoyed his coaching style so much that we took the Foundation Skills class. Cadeau particularly liked “Go to Mat” and will dash to her position and sit politely (hoping for a treat, no doubt) with the merest suggestion.
The next step was Rally Obedience. Rally-O incorporates aspects of obedience and agility, a fun way to practice behaviours and work as a team. It requires a lot of focus, making for a happy, tired dog and trainer too!
If you want to improve your relationship with your dog (of any age) and have fun training, check out When Hounds Fly. I know Cadeau would recommend it; whenever we’re near their Dundas and Ossington training centre, she gets excited and wants to visit. They now offer classes at three other locations making it easier to find one near you.
Cadeau is now eight years old and still working on being a well-behaved dog.