Read Connor’s great post below but I had to sneak in a few updates as well about classes and more!
After five wonderful years, we say goodbye and good luck to Tiffany Kellogg as she embarks on new adventures in central Massachusetts. For those of you who relied upon her for pet-sitting, we are referring folks to Molly Coddle and Walks of Nature. For boarding, hopefully the new PBC kennel will be up and running soon! Tiffany – we will all miss you!!!!
Group Class Information
The PBC training center is still a work in progress (you know how construction always takes twice as long as planned) but Connor is starting group classes thisOctober over at Exercise Finished. Join him for a fabulous fall session! All classes start SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1st!
- Puppy class
- Level I obedience (basic manners)
- Level II obedience (intermediate manners)
You can register or learn more about Connor’s classes at Exercise Finished (located in Chicopee, MA).
We are so excited to be launching a new service – puppy raisers! This amazing service is ideal for people who want to have a dog from the time he’s a young pup but need some help with the challenges of house-training, crate-training and the other not-so-fun parts of raising a puppy. A beautifully designed program incorporating boarding with a trainer, bonding time with you, and lots of training, socialization and other awesomeness. Spots are extremely limited so if you are interested, email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
USE IT OR LOSE IT!
Guest post by Connor Grenier, CPDT-KA
When you were in high school, did you learn how to diagram sentences? What
about factoring a quadratic equation? You probably spent countless hours on these
or other similar tasks—algebra, lists of capital cities, conjugating French verbs… If I
were to have you sit down at a desk today, how much would you remember?
Chances are, you’d be a little rusty if you haven’t practiced since high school!
Your dog is no different. Maybe when you were in puppy class she was really good
at sit-stay, and a total rockstar at leave it. But when class ended and time passed,
maybe you noticed that her ‘stay’ was becoming more of a ‘pause’. Maybe ‘down’
started to mean ‘sit and stare at you’. Maybe even ‘come’ turned into ‘in a second,
My oldest dog, Red, has learned probably a hundred tricks over his lifetime. He’s 11
now, and since I practice about 3 of them with him, that’s pretty much all he
remembers. I don’t ask very much of him besides snuggling on the couch with me
and going for short walks, so all of the flashy tricks he learned when he was 4 have
gradually faded away. Of course, he’s got his favorites he’ll always remember
(anything involving barking or rolling around). And if he knows there’s food
anywhere in the house that he might have a chance to eat he’s the very model of ‘sit
to say please’. But if I asked him to ‘spin’ or ‘play dead’, he’d look at me like he’d
never heard those words before—since for about 7 years, he hasn’t!
Just like humans, dogs need regular practice to keep their knowledge fresh. When
we teach our dogs to respond to our cues, they are learning a foreign language so
that they can understand what we want despite being a completely different species.
Whether your dog is a lovable couch potato who just needs to be reminded not to
jump on guests, or an agility superstar who’s mastered complicated courses, when
they don’t have a chance to practice their skills they start to forget—just like those
The good news is, it doesn’t take much practice to keep your dog’s memory fresh.
Once she learns a new skill, it takes much less active mental energy (and therefore
training time) for her to maintain it than it did to teach it in the first place. Often,
just a few minutes a few times a week is enough to keep simple behaviors strong.
Try setting aside some time for practice, whether it’s 5 minutes a day or 15 minutes
three times a week, and you’ll see what a difference it makes. One simple way to
keep track of what you want your dog to remember is to make a list of everything
your dog knows. Do this on a whiteboard or in a notebook: ‘sit’, ‘wait at the door’,
‘leave it,’ etc. Put this somewhere easy to see, and every time you practice one of
these skills put a check mark next to it. At the end of the week, you can glance back
easily and see—did everything get practiced? Try to make sure all the important
behaviors get a check mark every week.
These practice sessions are a great way for you and your dog to spend time together.
It’s bonding time, mental exercise for her, and a great source of enrichment. Your
dog feels more fulfilled and happy, and you get a better behaved
Need a little more help? Send your dog back to school with us this September! Use
the code “BACKTOSCHOOL” for 15% off a day training package or the first month of
a subscription service. Our subscription service is a great way to make sure your
dog remembers everything you spent so much time on—you can choose your
number of lessons, from 2 per month all the way up to 16. One of our skilled
trainers comes to your house and spends an hour each lesson working with your
dog to keep them fresh and learning!