No Lion, no Witch, no Wardrobe, just a wonderful weekend with some of the nicest hosts I’ve ever had the privilege of spending time with. They took me out for delicious dinners both Saturday and Sunday evenings, and we laughed so much my stomach hurt. The trip started on my favorite plane with my favorite airline (Cape Air) out of my favorite airport (Hagerstown, MD). I was the only passenger on the 8-seater propeller plane – I love the feeling of having my own private airplane – and it sure beats driving to the Baltimore airport in rush-hour traffic.
Flying in to Chicago provided a stunning view of the Lake Michigan shoreline, and miles and miles and miles of unbroken city. Chicago is huge! I lived there as a kid (1413 E. 57th St.) but when you’re a kid, wherever you are, the world isn’t much bigger than your own neighborhood…
Narnia Pet Behavior and Training (www.narniapets.com ), located in Plainfield, Illinois, just outside Chicago, boasts a long list of talented trainers. Owners Katie and Sarah took over the business several years ago when the original owner retired, and have continued on with a fine tradition of positive-based dog training services, including hosting seminars with some of the top trainers and speakers from around the world. They are also very committed to ongoing education for their staff, as evidenced by the numerous seminars listed in each of their resumes. What a fun, talented, enthusiastic, organized and capable group! Narnia joined with Puppyworks to offer the first of my 2-day seminars based loosely on my latest book, “Do-Over Dogs.” We were delighted with the turnout – a total of 80 attendees ranging from dedicated dog owners and trainers new to the field, all the way to long-time, experienced dog trainers and old friends, including Laura Dorfman of Kona’s Touch, who I see regularly, and Debbie Bickford of Debbie’s Dogs, whom I hadn’t seen since an APDT conference many years ago.
On Day 1 of the seminar, titled “Solutions to Everyday (and Not So Everyday) Canine Behavior Problems” I discuss the basics of behavior (reflexive, classical and operant behaviors) – a review for some, new learning for others – and then applied the information to non-aggression behavior challenges including barking, digging, jumping up, escaping, leash training, housetraining, and more. We review actual cases; first several of mine, and then several submitted by the seminar audience.
Day 2 focuses on aggression, with an in-depth look at CAT (Constructional Aggression Treatment) and CC&D (Counter Conditioning and Desensitization), complete with video footage from my Reactive Rover workshops and Juni’s Cat Procedure. We also discuss the BAT procedure (Behavioral Adjustment Training) which is a take-off on CAT, intended to take more care to keep the subject dog below threshold (although a good CAT procedure keeps the dog below threshold as well, as does CC&D). This morning discussion is followed by an afternoon of case examination, again some of mine and some offered by the attendees.
(If you’re sorry you missed this seminar, I’m doing it again in a couple of weeks, December 4-5, for Wags ‘n Woofs Dog Training in State College, Pennsylvania. Join us! Contact Puppyworks for more information.)
I’m usually too wiped out by the end of Day 2 to go out to dinner, but I wouldn’t for the world have missed one more chance to spend time with the delightful Narnia group. At dinner, they broached the idea of doing a caravan to Maryland with 6 of their dogs for a Narnia-PPaws Reactive Rover workshop. Wouldn’t that be a blast!
As much fun as the weekend was, it was beyond wonderful to fly back to my own family. Doing barn chores with Paul that evening was a classic “There’s no place like home!” moment. There’s nothing like hugs and kisses from Paul, happy greetings from the dogs, the warm puff of horse breath on my hand, the raucous braying of Joan the donkey, the gentle snorting of Sturgis the PB pig, and a soft cat paw to my face, to reaffirm for me that there’s nowhere I’d rather be than right here on the farm.
Hope you are all gearing up for a happy Thanksgiving. Paul and I will be dining on Tofurkey with all the trimmings. PPaws is offering this holiday special to help your gift-giving for your dog-loving friends: You will get a 10% discount on all books (signed!), booklets and DVDs, now through December 31, 2010, from our web store, with this coupon code : HO1210