Sunny the Golden Retriever can’t wait for obedience school.
For the last two years, Sunny has been attending obedience training with her owner Karen Brown twice a week at the 100 Mile Agriplex. Although they initially signed up for obedience lessons, they have since joined the dog agility courses as well.
“She lives for this. When I say ‘dog training’ she’ll be outside, races to the car, jumps in the crate and, as I’m driving, she’s always whining with excitement,” said Brown, a former teacher who retired to the 108 Mile Ranch from Abbotsford and is a member of the 100 Mile House Dog Club.
The weekly training sessions, which run Mondays and Wednesdays, were started by the club 15 years ago as a way for dog owners to have some fun with their pets and provide them with a social outing. Although they are kept to under six people right now during the pandemic, new members are always welcome.
Peter Reid, club president and unofficial head trainer who has been working with dogs since the 1960s when he started with English Cocker Spaniels, said the training is done without the use of any force or bad words and is instead based around fun and challenging the dogs’ intelligence.
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When he first got started Reid said the approach to training was very harsh and he prefers a “less is more” approach.
Sunny was unmanageable when Brown first brought her in, he noted, but has since developed a strong bond with her owner and is ready for agility competition.
“A dog can learn 100 words in training which proves how intelligent they are,” Reid said, adding he feels bad for dogs who don’t develop those closer relationships with their owners and spend most of their time sitting around in backyards. “(I enjoy) watching dogs learn. You can see the expression on their face when they get it right, it just brings out their whole personality.”
Brown said the obedience training will help ensure she can trust Sunny in all situations. If there’s a deer in the yard or geese on the lake, Sunny will come when called, which helps Brown keep her safe. Unfortunately, the pandemic means Sunny has yet to attend any competitions for obedience and agility training. Brown had planned to enter her in an event at the end of May but that’s since been cancelled. When it does become available she said they’ll enter for fun. She advises any dog owners who want a deeper bond with their animal to give the training a try and see how they like it.
“It’s great fun and good people, it’s a fun thing to do.”