Training with the Three P’s

Patience, Persistence and accepting that Perfect-is-not-all-it’s-cracked-up-to-be are fundamental to enjoyable and good positive reinforcement dog training.

When I first rescued Boo, I had many goals for him. But – because of who he was and what he later showed me, I had to adjust my goals and what training for him would look like.

In my book, A Dog Named Boo  we get to journey though the amazing things Boo did in his life in spite of his limitations and training hurdles.

Boo’s story is one of teaching: success in the face of struggle, unconditional acceptance of others, joy in all things, and that Patience, Persistence, and letting go of Perfect lies at the heart of all of these. Everyone who has potty-trained a puppy has used a type of ‘successive approximation’ like this.

Patience
– Cleaning up over and over until puppy begins to learn.
Persistence –
– Getting the puppy out often enough so puppy can be rewarded for ever more successful behaviors.
Perfect is not all it’s cracked up to be –
– Sometimes we all make mistakes.

Boo was patient when he taught me to give him the time he needed to learn things. Patience allows you take your time and let your dog show you who they are. Boo’s physical and cognitive limitations made it difficult for him to answer these questions quickly or at all sometimes.

Together we persisted in his training for his Pet Partner’s evaluation because his working as a therapy dog was the only way he was going to have kids in his life. Each dog will need their humans to persist in training differently. Boo needed extra time to learn new skills and confront fears. When he was afraid in the truck I had shift from convention wisdom to ways that would accommodate Boo so he could learn how to love the truck at his own pace.

For Boo to achieve his goal of visiting kids, it was almost two years of outings that slowly worked on his basic skills and treat-taking abilities in public. I had to craft alternative cues that Boo could follow and understand, much like I advise clients whose dogs are visually or hearing impaired. They can and will learn their basics and maybe even more than one might imagine, but it will have a different shape and form from traditional cues and signals.

And, when it came time for his therapy dog testing, we both let go of perfect knowing that in spite of his bumbling through the skills portion of the test, he would excel in the aptitude portion. Too often we get caught up in comparisons of one dog to another, yet one of the greatest gifts you can give your dog is to only compare them to where they started and how far they’ve come. Each dog will reach their fullest potential once we simply focus on each successive approximation as its own victory.

Boo never did things quite like any other dog, but it worked for him. When I would ask Boo for the paw command he’d swipe his paw in the air as if he were searching for a light switch in the dark. It in no way compared to the perfect easy-going dogs who leisurely reaches out and gently places their paw in your hand.

But when Boo does it, you could see his effort and sense of accomplishment in his simple, wobbly gesture and it always brought a smile in spite of the imperfection and probably more so because of it—like everyone cheering for the little engine who could—or in this case the little dog who could.

Jacques Boosteau

The lessons of Boo can apply to so many elements of human and canine interactions from dogs with special needs like him, to dogs who are reactive, stressed, need remedial socialization, and pretty much any dog who will be destined to work as a service or therapy dog.

As canine advocates and guardians, our job is to patiently observe what our dogs tell us then persistently and at their speed craft a training routine that suites them so they can become the best they can be given who they are.

Like Boo, all dogs have potential. Our job is to find it and nurture it.

September 2019 Animal Assisted Therapy Class Open for Enrollment.

Animal Assisted Therapy Class beginning November 3, 2018, Mahopac NY.

Three Dogs Training’s Animal Assisted Therapy Class is scheduled to begin September 7, 2019

Lisa has almost twenty years of experience visiting with her dogs and teaching Animal Assisted Therapy, Education, and Activities.

Because of her experience, the class starting September 7, 2019 will prepare visiting teams for various populations, facilities, and any testing required for certification.

Visiting dogs can put a smile on the face of a senior who misses her dog, or help someone in rehab work through his therapy projects for the day, or help children sit quietly as they read The Giving Tree. 

Sometimes, a visiting dog might even go for a walk with a person in a wheel chair who never thought they could walk a dog again.

There are a myriad more opportunities for visiting dogs to make a difference in a person’s life, including yours.

If you have ever wanted to visit with your dog, email Lisa, or call 845.228.2546.

Pet Partners Mini Workshop

Have you been considering visiting with your dog but would like to know a bit more?

Join one of the upcoming Mini Workshops either in

  • Putnam County on March 2nd – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  • New York City on March 3rd – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Presented by Lisa J Edwards, Best Selling Author, A Dog Named Boo: The Underdog with a Heart of Gold, these workshops will cover:

  • Basic handling skills for Visiting Animal Assisted Therapy Teams and All pet owners
  • A brief outline of Pet Partners registration, evaluation, and visit expectations
  • This mini workshop focuses on supportive and trust building pet handling skills. It is appropriate for:
    • Individuals wanting to know more about visiting with their animals before their online course
    • Seasoned handlers looking for additional preparation before their evaluation
    • Handlers who took the online course but want a more personal instruction from an experienced therapy handler, evaluator, and instructor

To find out more about these workshops, go to Pet Partners and log into the Volunteer Center. There you will be able to register for one of these upcoming workshops.

A $45 fee will be collected at the time of the workshop.

  • Putnam County on March 2nd – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
    • 411 Route 6N, Mahopac, NY – Church Basement
  • New York City on March 3rd – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
    • 120 W 97th Street, New York, NY – Community Room

Additional questions? Contact, Lisa Edwards

What do Steve Jobs and Boo have in common?

Just as the paperback of the best-selling A Dog Named Boo is starting to appear, the most unlikely pair ever makes an appearance on the store shelf!

Now that the paperback version of the best-selling A Dog Named Boo is starting to appear on shelves, a friend of ours sent in this photo from their local Target that made me laugh.

Steve-Jobs-and-Boo

It’s quite the juxtaposition, but it made me think about just what do Steve Jobs and Boo have in common?

[unordered_list style=”bullet”]

  • Boo’s certainly no computer tycoon.
  • Boo’s only interaction with an apple has been as the occasional snack treat.
  • Boo is clearly a dog and Jobs—well not so much.
  • They do both have a thoughtful kind of mischievous expression on their book covers.
  • They both have the distinguished salt and pepper thing going on.
  • They are both the subjects of best-selling books.[/unordered_list]

In short, they couldn’t be further from each other’s place in this world yet here they are together on the shelf at Target.

Funny old world!

 

Lisa and Boo were on the Marie show!

Lisa and Boo went out to California to guest on the Marie show! Here’s the segment they did!

A couple of weeks ago, Boo and I took a trip out to California.

I didn’t talk too much about why I was going – or that I was taking Boo along – but we went out because we were both going to be guests on the Marie show on the Hallmark Channel.

She read A Dog Named Boo and loved the story so much that she had to have us on her show.

Traveling with Boo was difficult and full of challenges, but I think the end result was more than worth it – and Boo looks as cute as a button!