by Ann Fowler
The Canine Center for Training and Behavior (CCTB) held its second annual Open House at its Old Bee Caves Road facility on Saturday, February 4, from 1 to 6 p.m. to introduce dog owners to the facility and its variety of classes and seminars.
The Center is known for the help it provides owners of troubled dogs, but the Center has classes that can benefit all manner of dog and owner. The founding principle of CCTB is: ‘You own a dog to make your life richer, more rewarding and more fun.’ The staff at CCTB has more than 30 years of experience in working with puppies, working with abandoned, rescued, neglected and abused dogs, and working with all dogs in between.
Classes are held both during the week and on weekends and include Agility, Night Search Air Scenting, Yoga with Your Dog, Fieldwork, Proper Play and Fetch Skills, Basic Training, Tracking and Confidence Building for Reactive and Fearful Dogs. Seasonal offerings include Kayaking with your dog and the upcoming Skijor week in Colorado from February 29 to March 4.
The trainers use a three-step approach:
- Invest in the relationship with your dog by developing communication techniques and fun ways to gain basic good manners and social skills.
- Keep your canine relationship interesting by incorporating your dog into your life with hiking, yoga, agility training and kayaking.
- Push the envelope by challenging yourself with the Canine Adventure series that allow people to vacation with their dog.
The training team includes Shari Elkins, Jane Del Re, Paul Mann, Jyl Hershman-Ross, Jess Forte, Jessica Jourdan, Richard Taglienti and Lynne Perry.
Del Re told the Gazette, “We want to introduce people to our idea of life with their dog. We want people to have a dog they want to take everywhere, including on vacation. We will show them how it is possible, and how working with your dog is fun and rewarding. Everyone can have that if they go down the path with us to canine adventures.”
Del Re said of the Open House, “Families with their reasonably well-behaved dogs are welcome.” She stressed that dogs should not wear pinch or choke collars, and said non-flexi leashes are preferred.
Elkins, the director of training programs, evaluated a senior rescue dog adopted by Gazette reporter Ann Fowler. The 9-year-old dog had been neglected and abused. She was plucked off the city’s euthanasia list by Austin Pets Alive. “Xena” was apprehensive of other dogs, but during the evaluation last April Elkins noted that she had the right communication skills to signal whether she wanted dogs to approach. The problem was not with Xena, but with the owners who let their dogs approach without approval.
During subsequent Confidence Building classes, a trainer noted that Xena did not react when she heard her name — although she reacted positively to the term “good girl.” Unsure if her name was used negatively in her previous home, Fowler changed the name to GiGi – short for Good Girl.
Fowler said, “GiGi had so many fears when we adopted her a year ago. It was a relief to get Shari’s advice on how to work with her to build her confidence.” Fowler has also taken GiGi on several of the CCTB local hikes to enforce the dog’s confidence that she can walk by dogs without fear of attack.
The Open House will benefit Austin Pets Alive. For more information and a full listing of classes, see www.morefunthandirt.com.