Updated: Jan 29
A couple of weeks before we brought our new puppy home, we were looking for puppy training programs and were lucky enough to come upon The Grounded Hound. Karin explained to us the importance of early socialization and we started her program when our Golden puppy named Kismet, was 9 weeks old. The program was so comprehensive and Karin was with us every step of the way. We learned that socialization does not just mean to people and other dogs, but just an importantly to everything in the environment, surfaces, ,traffic, bikes, strollers, walkers and the list goes on and on. We also learned about the 2 fear periods that puppies go through and the importance of having only good positive experiences during those periods.
Karin came to our home and with us on walks in various environments including in high traffic areas. With Kismet this was crucial as he was initially reactive around loud vehicles and was way too interested in them. He was showing a tendency to want to chase them! This scared us obviously. When we mentioned this to Karin she helped deal with this at the next session by using techniques to desensitize him by using yummy treats to focus him on his handler when loud vehicles were around. It was amazing to see the transformation that was so quick. The desensitization work continued around ducks at Polson park and was used to assist in Kismet learning calm greeting with people and other dogs.
In addition to this work, this program also addressed all of the basic commands such as sit, stay, come, down, leave it and many more. The look command and checking in exercises were especially helpful as it taught Kismet to be focused on us and really helped with distractions. Karin was wonderful at adjusting training topics to address the individual needs we had. She was available on an unlimited basis through phone, text and email for support and guidance and to listen to our ocassional frustrations with our crazy puppy😊. Karin also gave us handouts on the lessons and a weekly training summary and homework. Her paperwork was comprehensive and very helpful. By the time Kismet was just 6 months of age, he had learned all of his basic commands and was rocking his recall and graduated with honors. The behaviours were set and just needed practice.
Kismet is now a 13 month old boy who is social and confident in all situations. He is not reactive in any way and despite the occasional puppy brain goofiness listens very well. We feel that this program is what made this possible. Karin only uses positive training methods that are force free. Using positive reinforcement and rewarding what the puppy does right and not punishing what they do wrong. The side benefit is the wonderful trusting relationship that grows between the owner and the puppy.