Super puppies are trained, not born

Stéphanie Alcaraz-Robinson
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Bringing years of experience home

After Baie d'Urfé's native Jennifer Boyle had two bad experiences with dogs, she decided that her love for man's best friend should be put to good use. Since June 9, she is trying to make the world a better place, one puppy at a time. Super Puppy Education is born.

"As humans, we lack the knowledge of the dogs' instinctive behaviour and needs they may have. That creates the majority of the behavioural problems that we encounter," said Boyle about the experiences that made her want to understand our furry friends.

After having to give her beloved new friend away, Boyle studied in dog education and learned how to communicate with them. She used to be a Curves owner, but decided her energy could be put to better use. For the past 8 years, she has been working as a behaviour therapist and became involved with Mira Foundation dogs 3 years ago.

"Dogs adapt extremely well to humans," Boyle noticed, but they don't react the same way. A lack of discipline, for example, can leave a pooch feeling insecure – thus making him do things that seem irrational to us.

Stop abandoning dogs

Buying a puppy can get very expensive quickly – there's the food, the vaccines, the toys, the cage, the sterilization, the puppy itself. "It is very easy for people to put off the training and wait until later," Boyle said. But that is not such a good idea.

If the relationship starts off right, it avoids problems and helps eliminate the number of dogs found in shelters. "We can fix dogs of any age," she said, but it is tougher to change habits once they are set in. When learning from the beginning, the dog is more receptive and the owner does not need to prove itself to the tail-wagger.

What sets Boyle aside from dog trainers and behaviourists is that she goes directly to the heart of the problem: at home.

"Being at home, I can see what works and what doesn't," she said. And it is easier for her to change the behaviour – not only the dog's but the owner's as well. The house is the dog's environment and the interactions are more natural.

"There's a need for different types of training," she insisted. Dogs can be different and breeds have their own characteristics – which she has to be in tune with. If there is more than one dog in a household, she will also decode the relationships between them and work with that.

"So many people have different opinions about dogs and what is good for them," she pointed out. Some may be right, but a lot are wrong, and that is precisely why she wants to change people's view of dog training.

Boyle does admit that starting her dog training career wasn't always easy and some have judged her. "Wow, you can actually have a job doing that," she has often been asked. But aside from the occasional eyebrow raise, she says it’s a great conversation starter, since so many people love dogs.

"Most people think I am really lucky. I think I am too!"

Super Puppy Education, 1 888 963-1469. www.superpuppyeducation.com

Organizations: Mira Foundation

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