By Ashley Bradley
Is there anything cuter than a puppy? I am a self-proclaimed dog lover, but I think most will agree that it’s hard to find anything more adorable than a soft, clumsy, loving puppy.
After bringing your adorable puppy home with its new toys, fashionable collar and comfortable bed, you feel happy and content. Then reality hits. You wanted to sleep through the night? Think again. Oh, you really liked those shoes? I hope you still like them with the leather missing from one side. Always thought it would be cool to go on a daily walk with your new best friend? Turns out your dog thinks it’s more fun to walk to you.
If you’ve ever adopted a dog or had a puppy, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I adopted my now three-year-old dog at eight weeks. I am not exaggerating when I say he changed my entire outlook on the capabilities of dogs and their destruction (think Marley & Me). So when my boyfriend brought up the idea of another dog, I was more than a bit hesitant.
After some research, scouring rescue websites and spending hours on Petfinder.com, he found his new furry best friend, a yellow lab mix at The Grace Foundation in El Dorado Hills. The Grace Foundation is primarily a large animal rescue, however, they believe in compassion for all animals, large and small, and ended up with a small dog rescue as well. Odie, our new nine-month-old yellow lab mix, is adorable. Though he isn’t the handful that my dog was at eight weeks old, he still has some work ahead of him.
Like most dog owners, I didn’t think too much about dog obedience courses and went with the standard PetSmart puppy class. The PetSmart classes are offered at a convenient time for a competitive rate. However, I had no idea that there were other more fitting options available. My boyfriend is actually the one who discovered that City of Sacramento Parks & Recreation Department offers competitively priced obedience courses for all levels at local Sacramento parks. The obedience class is actually taught by Alan and Renee Miller, owners of Albree Dog Training.
This tough duo teaches everything from basic obedience courses, to competition dogs, and even trains police dogs (in French!). The leash is the main tool they use to teach your dog to walk with you (not walk you), come back, sit, stay, lay down, stop barking, stop jumping, and well, just about anything your dog does that you don’t want him to! They make it look incredibly easy by giving the dog a quick, sharp tug on the leash. They equal this action to tugging on someone’s T-shirt to get their attention. Getting this short, quick tug down seems to be the hardest part for me, but Alan spends one minute with our puppy and he won’t leave his side.
We signed up for the beginning dog course, which is held once a week at a Sacramento park for four weeks. However, what they don’t tell you is that after taking the Albree beginning course, you can attend any and as many of their classes for free. And, if your four weeks is up but your dog still needs work, have no fear, you can keep taking him to the weekly classes at no charge. They will even make house calls and come to your house to work one-on-one with your dog for a discounted hourly rate if you’ve already completed the beginning course. After we are satisfied with Odie’s behavior, I am going to have Alan and Renee come out and work with my stubborn dog who will not come back when off-leash for the life of me.
If your dog has any behavioral issues you’d like to work out, I would highly recommend Albree Dog Training. They don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach, but approaches each dog as the unique personality they are. And even if you have a perfect dog (no bragging now), you might want to teach your dog a few new tricks!