Dog trainer uses paddle board to aid obedience and relaxation

HELENA – Bark for Joy, a dog training company in Helena, encourages pet owners to sit back and relax while teaching their dogs obedience skills while on the water.

“A friend of mine from Texas is a trainer and she was the one who created a paddleboard course and I thought that was the most amazing idea,” said Madie Sanford, owner of Bark for Joy.

Sanford decided to start his own class to encourage a healthy learning environment not only for his students but for his own dog.

“I love paddle boarding with my dog. My second dog never really swam until we got here a few months ago so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to teach and learn with my students because I think it creates a different atmosphere for them, not just like watching my dog ​​who can already do it, but let’s learn together, let’s go through this process together, ”said Sanford.

Sanford uses positive reinforcement with dog treats and says it will be helpful for dogs to have basic down commands.

“It’s definitely a work in progress. So what I do is just give them tons and tons of treats wholesale, it’s really helpful for them to have that basic obedience base. at home, ”Sanford said.

The class begins on land first, then moves slowly through the water.

“So I start with the paddleboard on land by simply teaching the dog to stand up and lie down, rock it back and forth to get it used to this movement, then transfer it to the water. . ” Sanford said.

The peace many feel while paddleboarding, Sanford says dogs feel, too.

“They definitely find it peaceful like us, so a lot of dogs end up paddleboarding, but they’re columned just like us because the groundwater and it’s beautiful and it’s just very peaceful,” said Sanford said.

Sanford says she hopes to complete her last class before the end of the season, with catering and even music in late August or early September.

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