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Dog Obedience Trainer

Since getting a dog – my lovely German shepherd, Zada – 3 years ago, I find a lot of my dog training explanations start with "My dog trainer..." It's somewhat like having a shrink and all your sentences begin with "My shrink says..."

Without further ado:

My dog trainer, Linda Brodzik, is also a friend. Since I first started taking her obedience classes, I've been harrassing her about getting a new website. Ok, so because it's something I'm passionate about – building and optimizing sites – she took it well and finally took us (ThinkSEM, that is) up on the offer.

Her new site is now up and running, and she even (for some unknown reason) allowed me – and Zada, too! – a place of honor on the home page. It's probably my best self-portrait, and a lot harder than you might think to set up a camera on timer and execute a perfect at-attention-heel at just the right moment. Zada, as always, took it in stride (literally) and was a little star.

But I'm not digressing; I was able to set up my camera and shoot an image of my dog heeling at attention (with only 3 tries, I might add, to get the right look and feel) because I've taken Linda's obedience classes and know how to work with my dog.

So many times dog owners will take their puppies through a cursory obedience program but they fail to continue working with their dogs. It's not that you always have to be enrolled in classes; rather, once you have the core fundamentals it's important to keep working on not only your dog's (as well as your own) abilities, but also your relationship together.

Dogs who trust their owners – and vice versa – are the ones who "obey commands" and are "obedient." Case in point: I walk Zada off-leash every day, in unfenced areas near my home. I also do this up at my parents' place in the country. I'm not afraid she'll run off or get lost. Why? I trust her to not only stay close (she IS a German shepherd and VERY loyal, after all), but to come to me when I ask her to. She in turn trusts that I'll allow her to wander, sniff, explore, run and in general, do fun doggy things and she knows when I call her, nothing bad will happen.

Of course, this isn't just about being able to trust your dog off-leash. On-leash, Zada exhibits good behavior, too – no pulling or lunging and she remains in tune with where I'm going and need her to go – again, because I've worked with her and apply Linda's reinforcement methods.

So there it is. If you want to have that type of relationship with your dog – i.e., be able to enjoy an urban walk with your dog on-leash or a hike through the wilderness and your dog running free – then I'd highly suggest you sign up for Linda's next obedience class. I can only take so much of the credit for my well-behaved, well-mannered German shepherd...the rest goes to Linda, for teaching me HOW to do it!