“I have an amazing job,” said Ann Greene of A Tail Above. “I act as a benevolent leader when training my own dogs and others.”
Greene is a certified professional dog trainer who works in Annapolis and surrounding areas. The dogs she trains range from puppies to mature dogs with behavior issues. Classes are held in Greene's dog training room that was once an apartment in her Severn home.
Patch was invited to attend a puppy training class with a new client, Raine, a 10-week-old chocolate Labrador retriever. The Kellners of Bowie adopted Raine after their other chocolate lab passed away.
The family had a good experience with their other dog without any formal training. Yet, they opted to get training for Raine. Puppy training classes cover a lot of topics including review of basic commands, collars, leashes, crate training and much more. The Kellners clearly had been working with Raine, who promptly responded to the “come” command on the first time from Greene.
“Establishing a 'look' from your dog when you call [his or her] name is an important step for further training,” said Greene, while instructing the Kellner family.
A look consists of a dog making eye contact when called to receive more direction. This can be especially important when mastering more focused training for agility or other disciplined programs for dogs.
One of the biggest complaints that puppy owners have is chewing — some pups will chew shoes, the leash or furniture. Greene was able to demonstrate an effective way to teach dogs the "out" command, used to tell dogs to take something out of their mouths. A bitter apple spray, which is harmless for dogs and non-toxic, usually discourages continued mouthing. While using the spray, the command is repeated to provide association for the dog and is followed by either praise or a treat.
“Alternate between food rewards and praise to mix it up,” suggests Greene.
Raine was chewing on her leash during the class when she should have been learning a loose leash walk. With the Kellners' permission, Greene applied the spray to the leash and Raine quickly stopped chewing it.
Greene recommends the use of treats during a training session to help keep the stress levels of the dog lower and for families to be consistent with the commands that are used.
In addition to classes, Greene hits the road and locations vary depending on the training plan. She has run training sessions in local dog parks, Main Street in downtown Annapolis, and on boat docks.
A Tail Above even offers a residency program for intense training with Greene, followed by a “go home” training session that teaches the dog owners how to reinforce what the dog has learned and another session a week later to keep the dog and owner on track.
For more information on dog training by A Tail Above, call 410-774-4575.