Puppy training...from a puppy’s perspective

My name is Apollo and I am a five-month old Golden Retriever. I just graduated from Puppy Training class and I would like to share with you how it worked.Puppy

My humans drive us to the animal humane society for class. At first, I was a little scared and overwhelmed, but by the fourth class, I was initiating play with the other puppies, and playing with them for a longer time. They call this socializing and it is important to help me grow into a well-adjusted dog.

I learned the commands of come, sit, and lie down. I caught onto come and sit right away, but lie down was a bit more difficult. With lots of practice, praise and treats, I did finally master this skill.

One class, we experienced different textures--everything from bubble wrap to walking through tunnels. We also played a game my owner called “red light, green light” to start practicing leash training.

Learning to “stay” is difficult for me. I have so much energy and I just can’t focus for a long time, but my owner was kind and gentle in introducing the concept to me. My owner also learned some interesting things. For example, she is suppose to handle my feet often to make it a positive experience so I won’t be afraid to have my paws handled or my nails trimmed. My owner also learned about how to keep me well groomed so I have healthy skin and a shiny coat.

Puppy circle was a fun game where the humans sit in a circle and pass the puppies around. Some people wore sunglasses or hats, just to get the puppies use to strange things humans wear. My owner explained that puppy circle helps us get socialized to people so we won’t be afraid of strangers.  

I am looking forward to starting my next class, Level One training. My human says it is important for us to both be trained.

A note from Apollo’s human parent: Both Apollo and I learned a lot about proper socialization and training from this class. Apollo gained so many new skills. I watched Apollo become more socialized and gain so much confidence from his class. I highly recommend training classes for dogs of all ages and their owners. 

In the Community

Helping Paws 17th Annual Tail Waggin’ Dinnerdog

We at Rockford Road Animal Hospital (RRAH) love to support exceptional organizations and Helping  Paws is one of them. Mary and Deb of RRAH recently attended the 17the Annual Tail Waggin’ Dinner where 75 dogs attended which consisted of service dogs and dogs in training. It is one of Helping Paws largest fundraisers of the year with a silent and live auction.  The organization helps to further people’s independence and quality of life through the use of service dogs.

 “Helping Paws is a great volunteer gig where you get to give a piece of your heart,” said Mary. And, she should know. Along with serving as Vice President of the Board of Directors, Mary is currently training her third service dog—Elska, who will celebrate her second birthday in October. Mary, as the foster trainer, gets the privilege of giving the puppy her forever name. She chose Elska which means love in Norwegian. 

“It is remarkable to watch this crazy puppy turn into a service dog,” Mary said.  When you are a foster trainer, you receive a puppy when they are 8 weeks old. You are responsible for training the puppy until they are about 2.5 years old. During this time the service dog will learn over 80 commands.

“With the training, the dogs become little helpers around the house, with amazing abilities from opening doors to picking up items,” Mary explains.

After the extensive training is completed, the service dogs graduate. This is where the foster trainer presents the service dog to the person who needs them most.  Graduation for the service dogs that have completed their training will be on October 9 at 7 p.m. at Hopkins High School Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served following the program.

For more information about Helping Paws, visit www.HelpingPaws.org