At Homeward Bound we rescue Golden Retrievers, golden mixes and the occasional gold dog masquerading as one or the other. But we serve dogs of all shapes, sizes and spots through our Golden Rule Training program which is available to adopters, fosters and the public. The garden has always been a welcome place to visit on the way to training classes. Thor and Locke –
and Bear and Cooper regularly make their way through the garden before class. It puts them in their happy place.
Lately, the garden has become a destination for training in its own right. Since so many gather here, it is a perfect spot for people socialization training. Sadie visited with us last weekend. She is great around other dogs and gets a lot of hiking and outdoor time,
but people make her a little nervous. When I first walked by, her posture immediately let me know that I was too close and she was uncomfortable.
Our trainers have taught us – avoid eye contact and do not attempt to approach or pet a dog that is afraid. Instead, wait quietly for the dog to approach you – then reward with treats.
It took a little while, but pretty soon Sadie was saddled up to me and turning to mush while my friend Rob took pictures.
Claire is undergoing similar training. Sick as a puppy, she didn’t get a lot of people time – something that is key to a well-adjusted dog.
One by one, visitors approached her in the garden. She is making steady progress. Who says a dog can’t change its spots?
Training, like gardening, is a commitment. It requires patience, consistent effort, and a little bit of faith.
“Properly trained, a man can be dog’s best friend.” ~ Corey Ford