24850 Aurora Rd, Bedford, OH 44146
After it being on my mind for a long time I finally decided to pursue training my dog Harley as a therapy dog. He is a Great Dane, and due to his size, we worked very hard training him as a puppy. Everywhere we go people are often amazed at how well behaved he is. Because of this I debated on just attempting the CGC and TDI exam without any professional training. I sent an email as a feeler out to Canine University and they responded immediately, recommending that I enroll my guy in the 6 week CGC class, which tests out for both CGC and TDI at the end. I agreed because I thought Harley could use some ‘fine tuning’ (and honestly I wanted a mom and pup night out once a week). I am SO glad I decided to take the course!
The classroom is like a big open gymnasium, and there is agility equipment available, the floors are a nice cushy rubber and there is A/C (a must for Harley and I). All of the dogs were spaced out in a huge circle at least 10 feet apart and we were not to allow them to run free or meet each other. At first Harley didn’t get this since every where else there are dogs he gets to play, but by the end of the course it made sense to Harley that he was there to work, not play.
Our first class I was stunned to experience my well mannered and mild tempered dog pulling, acting nervous and just generally nowhere near as well behaved as I thought he’d be! Had we just shown up to take a test, we would not have passed. Harley’s biggest challenge was the ‘supervised separation’; which I was sure would be his undoing. The trainers took it in stride, adapting the way we rehearsed the supervised separation in class, which generated a much improved response immediately. However after the 3rd class I was still very hesitant that he was going to be able to come far enough in just a few more weeks to pass either of the tests. I called Canine University and plead my case, asking if I could purchase some extra training sessions to help tame the beast, to which they replied to keep practicing and depending on his behavior in the next class we would go from there. During the next class, the trainers Amy and Barbara told me he was making improvements, but recommended I ramp up the at-home training. I took their suggestion very serious and spent at least 2 hours a day walking my dog all over the place and leaving him with strangers. I looked a fool, but it was what we needed to do to make Harley comfortable.
The final tests were no small feat and I am thankful Harley and I passed. There were very well behaved dogs there that did not. Taking the course is not a guarantee that you pass, but it definitely gives you the tools needed to pass, you just have to choose to use them. I would recommend Canine University to anyone interested in working on improving their dogs’ behavior. If we ever get another dog I would like to take additional training courses through them. They also have Dogessori Day School, which they said you can bring your graduated dog to just to work on training around other dogs and trainers. Definitely something I plan on doing!