My new little adventure this summer was to bring Kate Jackson from Jabula Dog Academy to Italy with me to do a training workshop. For 10 days we stayed at my family’s farm where we taught a clicker and tricks workshop to about 15-20 italian dogs (and owners). For the entire time I followed her around, translated for her, watched her evaluating dogs and giving training tips, assisted on her workshop. Nothing like following a dog trainer for 10 days to learn about dogs! It was an amazing experience and I gained a new appreciation for the different personalities and needs of dogs, and for the patience dog trainers have. Most of all, I reinforced the idea that dogs need not only physical exercise but also mental stimulation: watching them think and tire their brains was incredibly rewarding.
As you can see from the video, one of the central concepts of the workshop was freeshaping. If you don’t know what freeshaping is, please sign up for Jabula tricks class to learn about it. It is a great way to have fun with your dogs, teach them fun and difficult tricks and, more importantly, keep your dogs mentally stimulated and tired. It was heartwarming to watch dogs and owners have so much fun.
One day we left the dogs at home and practiced the clicker by teaching touch targeting to horses. For someone as impatient as I am, this was the most difficult day. I confess that I still like working with dogs more than I like working with horses!
Overall it was a great experience that reminded me why I love dogs so much. Keep working with your dog and go beyond basic obedience to discover how much fun training your dog can be for both of you!
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