Our Dog Park Education Committee has been hard at work designing a safe environment for socializing and exercising our dogs. The committee has been tasked with creating the park rules, developing a park logo, designing all of the parkâ€™s signs, and hosting free educational programs. Â We have consulted with Kirklandâ€™s Park Director, Jennifer Schroder in this process, and in September the committee will present their work to the Park Board.
One of the members of KDOGâ€™s Education Committee is Sandy Dain, owner of Metamorphosis Pet Training. Sandy has been a long time supporter of KDOG through sponsorship of Go Dog, Go!, as a recent auction donor for our fundraiser, and as a dog park sponsor. Sheâ€™s hoping to get to know many of you at our work parties at the park site this year.
Sandy will be presenting our upcoming Kirkland Dog Park Seminar (prior to the opening of the park), and future educational workshops at the park for KDOG. Our educational programs will be a great opportunity for dog owners to become familiar with our parkâ€™s rules and how to have a successful park visit. Weâ€™ll also be revealing a sneak peek at the park logo and announcing the name of the park at the 1st event.
I asked Sandy some questions to learn more about her background as a dog trainer and why she became involved in helping KDOG create Kirklandâ€™s first dog park:
How long have you been working with animals and pet owners?
I launched Metamorphosis Pet Training in March 2008. I worked for a Humane Society in Oregon for a few years prior to starting my own business and have been volunteering with shelters and rescues my entire adult life. Iâ€™ve been assisting the Seattle Humane Society with assessments and by training their volunteers for the last 4 years.
What kind of approach do you take in training your clients?
Iâ€™ve found that I can set my clients up for success by making sure that I understand their goals, customizing a training plan that will work for their lifestyle, providing very clear instructions, teaching them the skills they need to be successful, and checking in with them weekly to make sure things are going as planned.
The training techniques that I teach owners to use are the ones recommended by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. They have been designed by animal behaviorists and have been proven to be both safe and effective. This is often referred to as â€śpositive training.â€ť
Why did you become involved with KDOG?
While dog parks arenâ€™t appropriate for all dogs, they can be wonderful places for many dogs and their owners to exercise, socialize, and play. Dog owners in Kirkland who want to spend time with their dog off leash are faced with either traveling to another city or letting their dogs off leash in areas that havenâ€™t been designed for that purpose. I got involved with KDOG to help the organization establish rules that would make our park a safe place for residents to enjoy.
Do you think all dogs can enjoy dog parks?
When visiting dog parks I often see dogs that are engaging in a lot of avoidance behavior because they arenâ€™t comfortable playing with other dogs. I also see some dogs acting poorly because they are over aroused.
When my clients are considering using a dog park for socialization and exercise I explain that dog parks are appropriate for adult dogs that 1) enjoy playing with a variety of breed types, 2) enjoy playing with multiple dogs at the same time, and 3) will come to their owners when called. For dogs that donâ€™t fit that description I can recommend a training program to develop a strong recall and/or suggest that they find a couple dogs that can go on long walks with their dog or that they can have over for play dates.
Dog parks are only as good as the people and dogs that use them. If you arenâ€™t sure a dog park is right for your dog contact a trainer for advice.
How can dog owners contact you if theyâ€™d like some help or brush up training with their dogs? You can find out more about Metamorphosis Pet Training by visiting http://www.mettrain.com.
Sandy Dain, Owner of Metamorphosis Pet Training