On the front page of the Training Center portion of the web site, they have their Training Philosophy:
"Our training program focuses on developing a well-rounded, social, driven dog capable of excellent detection work. We believe in utilizing positive training methods and incorporating real world scenarios. A unique combination of intense daily training combined with full-time family living makes our program the only one of its kind."So that's cool; the things they list are ideal for any working dog, really. A well socialized dog makes good decisions. A well rounded dogs has many skills an experiences to draw from. A driven dog wants to work. And "detection work"? Well, that's what dogs are doing when they're involved with search and rescue missions. NPR covered the opening of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, which occurred just this past September. It makes sense; many of the dogs are named after dogs who worked in the rescue, wreckage, and landfill operations during and after the evens of September 11, 2011 in New York City.
But anyway. According to the original article that led me here, the classes that the Penn Vet Working Dog Center are for Tricks, First Aid, and preparation for the Canine Good Citizen class. I frequently wish that resources like this were closer to where I live; I would jump at a change to attend a training center such as this one.
That's right. I have training envy, I admit it.
Last year, we went to Albany to attend a friend's wedding. We arrived at the park where the outdoor ceremony was to be held, earlier than everybody else. It was a beautiful day, and we got out of the car to enjoy the sun and admire the river, and I noticed somebody walking a Doberman! Of course I wanted to go see him. Who cares if I was in heels and a cocktail-ish dress? The owner seemed surprised when I approached, and at something of a remove I asked if it was all right to say hi. I explained that I had a Doberman myself, though she was home. His dog (whose name I forget; isn't that horrible?) wasn't interested in me in the slightest, a rarity, but I didn't push the issue with him. They had a club they were attending later in the day, where they trained for French Ring Sport. The dog's "down" cue was "couchez". If I didn't live an hour away from Albany, I could attend a working dog club with my Doberman. Some Googling reveals a few clubs of that nature, though I'm not sure which one this gentleman was discussing. There's another club in the other direction, too, in (or just past) Binghamton. An hour as well, of course.
Of course, some people do things like that. They make the time. My non-working hours are pretty full as it is, though, without travel time like that added in. I've thought about doing the online course for the Karen Pryor Clicker Training Academy, either Dog Trainer Professional (the long one, which is the actual "certification" one so far as the academy goes) or the Dog Trainer Foundations one, which is online and gives you the basics. I think if you continue onto the "long" class within a year of completing the "short" one, there's a discount. But still. There are any number of excuses. My current full time job, for one. I don't know if I'll like the online learning style, for two, and tuition is non refundable once enrollment is complete (you pay upon enrollment). The cost itself (though people in groups of 5 or more, or people who work with shelters/rescues get a very discounted rate, which is nice).
Maybe my excuses come from a lack of motivation? I talk about how maybe I'd like to be a dog trainer "when I grow up", but it's an item on the list. I want to be a published author, too, which I can do a bit more easily from my couch. I don't have to drive anywhere to write and edit a novel, look for agents, email a query letter. Granted, if I attended a writer's conference, there are a number of opportunities there as well (categorically similar opportunities to if I attended BlowPaws, really). I'm mostly comfortable here, on my couch. My motivation comes and goes; it's better in the summer (and when we really have a spring...things are looking up, but I'm still suspicious).