Friday, August 7, 2009

I Learned it all at Dog Training!

The past week has been spent learning the basic commands a canine companion needs to do his or her job. I've witnessed amazing intelligence and strength in these big lovable labs. I'm in Santa Rosa, CA at Canine Companions for Independence. This organization has placed over 3,000 teams of dogs and their skilled leaders.

My son Gabe has been given a beautiful dog. We can't share the details quite yet until the match is confirmed and the puppy raiser is notified. That should happen on Monday. But I will say the match was made in heaven and Gabe is delighted.

It has been so fun to watch this dog do things Gabe has difficulty doing. Like turning on lights or retrieving dropped items. But more than that she is a companion - a friend who will love and snuggle him for the next ten years.

Check out the facility at CCI on their website at During this training session we have experienced what this organization is all about - changing lives one dog at a time. I've been taking notes on the whole process and hope to write a story or blog about the amazing process of correction and praise that successfully gets an animal to do what you want.

It's so human like! What I've been most intrigued by is the fact that most of the trainees are having a harder time praising the dog than they are correcting it. Aren't we all like that? Isn't it easier to tell someone or something (a dog) that they are doing something wrong vs praising them for getting it right?

The instructors are constantly reminding us to motivate with praise. I think we need to take this rule home with each of us every day. I know I'm much more motivated by praise than I am by correction.

So tomorrow I'm going to take more time to praise than I do to correct. Oh yes, I will probably need to correct to teach but I'll definitely follow it up with a "Good Girl!"

Check back on Monday and I'll post a few photos of this beautiful dog who is Gabe's new best friend. (Well - Jesus is Gabe's best friend but this dog will stick closer than a brother just like Jesus).

I can't wait for you to meet our new friend.....