Thursday, May 26, 2011

About half way through

The kids and dogs are progressing nicely.  Yesterday, the kids got to experience a Rally course. Rally is an AKC approved obedience competition where the handlers and their dogs walk through a series of skills that are on cards posted on the ground.  Everyone did very well for their first time.  Our Rally instructor, Karen, was very impressed.

Mark working with Valory and Tia

Benny running the course. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ending of Week 3

This is the 3rd week of our program. So far the kids have been teaching the dog sit, down, stay and heal.  Some have come a long ways some have not but everyone is working hard.  Yesterday, we had Heather from the Point Defiance Zoo come to the school and talk about careers that are available through the zoo.  She also brought Fern, the skink , Honey the screech owl and Scooter the 3 ringed armadillo.  The kids were fascinated and asked some great questions.  Next week we will be continuing to work on the basic skills but will also be adding some agility skills. 

Scooter the three-ringed armadillo.

Honey was very interested in the kits hanging from the ceiling.

Fern and Tatyana (in the background)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Week 1

Yesterday concluded our first week of Laws and Paws.  It was also the first real training day. There was some shifting of student trainers and dogs. Our goal is to match the right trainer with the right dog so they will both be successful.  This year we have a total of 9 students.  We decided to welcome 3 non-shelter dogs into our group that need work.  One is Annie. She is a cute little Samoyed whose confidence level is on the low side. We matched her up with a young lady whose is out going and confident. That energy radiated through the leash and within just a couple of days Annie's tail came up and you could see the confidence raise in both dog and handler. 

This is Annie and her student handler. 

We also have a young man whose has some dog handling experience but is at risk and needs something that connects him to school.  Chinook's Assistant Principal shows Samoyed dogs. She came up with a plan to train the young man with one of her Samoyed dogs in show ring handling. Then if he stays in school, has academic progression and stays out of trouble we will facilitate his showing a the dog in a June dog show in Puyallup.  In just a couple of days, the teachers were already commenting on how much more engaged this young man was.  He was thrilled and told everyone about it.  Our Assistant Principal goes out of her way to help her students and this is just an amazing opportunity for one of our young people.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 1 Team Building

May 3, 2011. Today was the first day of Laws & Paws. Stacey Dow, our L&P dog trainer, taught the kids some name games and then went on to a team building activity. The mission was to get everyone through the lava field aka soccer field by stepping across stones aka towels Stacey brought. The twist:: everyone had to hold hands and if someone burned themselves in the lava they had to start over. The goal was to show the kids how to depend on each other to accomplish a goal.  As we start working with the dogs, it will become a team effort.  It reminds me of the saying "it takes a village to raise a child" or in our case to train a dog.  These kids may get frustrated when the dogs are doing their own thing, they will get grossed out when they have to pick up poo, they will laugh together and in the end they will cry together when they have to let the dogs go to their forever homes. They will learn to have patience, compassion, empathy, and respect for the dogs. By being a team and depending on each other they will also learn to have patience, compassion, empathy and respect for each other and others.

Stacey placed 4 small towels on the ground. The goal was to get everyone across the towels without touching the ground in between. Twist: they had to hold hands and if anyone stepped between the towels they hade to start over. Stacey's instructions were to think outside the box.  It took them awhile but they finally figured it out.

Monday, May 2, 2011

2011 Laws and Paws Schedule

Tomorrow is day 1 of the 2011 Laws and Paws session.  On day one we typically work with out the dogs. We work on getting to know the kids and doing some team building exercises. We also have a train the trainer seminar to teach the kids how we will be training the dogs, what positive reinforcement and why treating at the moment is so important.

 We will introduce the kids and dogs on Wednesday. This year is unique because we have 3 smaller dogs and only 2 larger ones. All dogs will be available for adoption once they are through their 6 week training session.  If you see a dog your interested in, you are welcome to email Homeward Pet at and let them know what dog your interested in. Additionally, if you would like to see the dog in person please contact me at and we can set up an appointment for you to come to one of our training sessions.