The story of a boy living with Type 1 and his family's journey to raise and train a diabetic alert dog.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hair Stylists, Estheticians & Dog Trainers

I've always thought it would be great to be a hair stylist or esthetician because you work with clients who are happy to see you. (I mean really, who doesn't look forward to a salon or spa appointment?) And now, after seeing Bo interact with our obedience and public access trainer, Helen Nicholls, CPDT-KSA, CDBC, I realized this holds true for dog trainers as well.

Bo got treats for going into the tent.
Last Friday, Bo had his first training session with Helen and it was great. He LOVED her and and so did I. Not only is she professional and incredibly knowledgeable, she has a gift for explaining concepts in a way that is understandable to a novice dog owner. Combine her professional skills with her friendly personality and her quick wit and you have a truly positive and fun learning experience for both human and pup.

Our training focused on teaching sit and down with verbal cues and hand signals. Our neighbor Sylvia joined me for the session, so she got to see and hear first hand Helen's teaching instruction. Bo did really well figuring out what it was we wanted him to do and when I didn't give the command correctly, he was very forgiving to my mistakes.  Our homework this week is to practice these two basic commands and continue with socialization activities. Next week, we will learn the command for "go to your place."

Following the instructional session, Helen took us all into her gym where she had set-up a child's tent, soft tunnel, baby gate and crutches. Bo got treats for exploring each one and Helen explained to me and Sylvia how each aided in his socialization. She also explained to us what it meant to be a temperamentally stable dog, as well as answered my questions about the stage of a pup's development know as the "fear period."
Bo was interested in the umbrella.

Helen walked with crutches and Bo was inquisitive; Helen opened an umbrella and Bo was interested; Helen lured Bo over a horizontal-orientated baby gate and Bo bravely walked across the uneven footing. Bo was having a blast and I totally loved watching him play. The last toy Helen brought out was her horse lunge whip, with a soft toy tide to the end. She demonstrated for us how we could exercise Bo while sitting in our living room or standing outdoors.

That's right... a simple piece of tack equipment can provide entertainment and exercise for Bo, while at the same time protecting human hands and feet from the mouth of a teething puppy. Bo loved the play so much, and the idea of letting him get his energy out in a way that didn't involve my hands, feet or other body part, was enough for me to go out and buy a whip. We purchased two one for Sylvia's house and one for ours  at Griffinbrook.  They have been a hit with both boy and dog.


  1. Fantastic... loving catching up on all the details in his progression!

  2. Glad to have you following the blog MC! Thanks.