It’s no secret that having a well trained dog makes life a lot easier, and there’s no better person to help with that than Joanne Small, the Hamilton-based dog trainer from Kool K9 Training. I first met Joanne on a TRONDogs walk, and since then have photographed all of her beautiful dogs. You can see some of their session here.
Those in the agility circles will need no introduction to Joanne. She has been competing in agility for more than 20 years and is a lifetime member of the Waikato Agility Group, member of the APDT (Association of Pet Dog trainers) Australia and New Zealand and the New Zealand Kennel Club. Joanne has also studied the Principles of Canine Behaviour paper at Massey University and continues to keep up with the latest developments in Canine behaviour and training methods through these associations and attending conferences. Here’s a few photos of Joanne and two of her dogs in action at a recent agility show!
She started teaching people how to train their own dogs through instructing at the club and teaching puppy preschool classes, then opened Kool K9 about 10 years ago. Since then it has grown and grown, and she is now teaching three Level 1 and two Level 2 classes a week, each in 6 week blocks.
I went along to a Level 2 class on Monday to see what happens in one of her classes. These dogs have all completed the Level 1 class and are now working on more difficult domestic skills.
The focus for Joanne’s classes is learning useful skills through FUN. She plays lots of games with her classes, which makes the dogs and students really enjoy themselves.
To start off on Monday, the students went for a walk down the quiet lane Kool K9 is based at, working on walking quietly on lead no matter what comes up. Learning to cope with things like this in a class environment really helps to prepare the dogs for what they might encounter in the “real world”, and give them the tools to cope with it.
Next up, we headed into the secure training area to play a game of musical chairs. Most of her classes are held here, though she has just teamed up with the brilliant team at Hamilton Hounds and is now holding some classes under cover at their facility. This will be fantastic, especially in winter when the weather doesn’t always cooperate. She has also been joined recently by another talented trainer, Amy Barker, who will be taking a couple of classes during the year.
One thing that many dogs struggle with in a household situation is greeting people politely at the door without rushing or getting too excited. In this class they were simulating this, using a pen as a door and having the dogs sit patiently while people entered and exited the pen.
Then it was time to work on manners around food. The dogs had to sit patiently and wait until their owners gave them the food – a great tool for any owner to have.
I was really impressed with the way the class was run. The mix of fun games and useful life skills made for an entertaining and effective class. The dogs and owners were learning a lot, and it has made a huge difference for the students in their day to day lives.
To find out about joining a class with your dog or getting some one on one help, get in touch with Joanne through her website, or follow her Facebook page. You can also click on the image below to visit her contact page.
Thank you to Joanne and her students for allowing me to come and photograph this class!
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