A few tips from a puppy trainer

A few tips from a puppy trainer

A few tips from a puppy trainer

By Matthias Lenz

BC&AGD Puppy Training Supervisor

One perk of my job as our Puppy Training Supervisor is that it never boring and it’s never the same.

Case in point, was last week when I was confused for a blind or visually-impaired man with a guide dog.

As a trainer, we spend time taking our puppies and dogs around unfamiliar objects and surroundings. On this day, I was training Tipper, a 16-month-old yellow lab, outside of the Metrotown Mall in Burnaby. As I was walking, I noticed a bus that was just about to arrive at a bus stop.

Let’s see Tipper’s reaction to the bus going by right in front of his nose, I thought.

I sped up and walked to the curb as quickly as possible to put the dog into a sit at the curb. An observant man saw me speeding towards the bus. He saw the dog in the jacket and thought I was blind.

He started yelling at me, “Sir, sir, there’s a bus coming!”

When I turned to him with a smile on my face and told him that I could see, he burst out laughing.

Training Tip: Did you know that I use our volunteer puppy raisers as bait? When we teach the tiny pups to get onto escalators, I take the leash and have the puppy raisers walk onto the escalator. When I do this, it takes the puppy’s focus away from the escalator and onto the puppy raiser. Most of the time the puppies are so used to following their puppy raisers that they just walk on the escalator.

Another tip: Recently I worked with 12-week-old Lizzy who does not like manhole covers and tries to avoid walking over them if possible. Rather than dragging her on it, we made a game out of it – rewarding her first for sniffing the manhole cover, then putting one foot on, then two, three and finally four.