Training a dog to go out in public takes a little more effort than teaching ‘sit’ or ‘turn over’, and for those looking to get their new pup started on the right path to polite society, Elena Caudle from Happy Tails Groom & Board may be the person to see.
The trainer said she works with dogs for behavior-based training or to ensure they are ready to go out and interact with people and other dogs without misbehaving.
“I focus on good manners, public manners,” she said. “I want a dog that can be seen anywhere in public, and go anywhere in public, and people aren’t going, ‘Oh man, there’s that dog again.'”
She said the emphasis on behavior training first became important when Caudle got her first Tosa-Inu, which is a breed that can grow nearly two feet tall and weigh up to 200 pounds. . With a dog that could get so big, she said she knew she would have to work to prepare them to go out and meet people without being too rowdy.
“I have such big dogs that I knew they had to be well behaved,” she said. “So it was a win-win for that.”
After taking the training, she quickly fell in love with the process.
“I love watching the learning that happens,” Caudle said. “They are like a blank slate.”
Once she started training her own dogs, Caudle said she started getting calls from other people who wanted her to try her hand at teaching their own dog better manners. She said she does not intend to learn specific techniques or methods that would apply to all dogs, but she works with a group of other trainers who share their experiences and the best methods for certain training areas.
“You have trouble with something and you see something that works for someone else, so you try it,” she said. “And that’s sort of the point of all dog training, it’s what works best for you, you just have to communicate that to the dog.”
After he was successful in training his own dogs, people started asking him for help with their own pets because there was no one in the area at the time who offered it. There were also other groomers and vets in the area who had to deal with untrained dogs, and Caudle said she received recommendations from them as well.
After training dogs in another location for the past few years, she joined Happy Tails in February 2021 to become a full-time trainer there.
Adding training to the list of services offered by Happy Tails Groom & Board is something that has been in the works for a long time, and bringing Caudle into the staff has made it finally happen, says the owner of Happy. Tails, Page Dowdy.
She said that in the 10 years that Happy Tails was open, the biggest request she received from customers was for training services, and when the company moved to its current location a few years ago, she started looking for the right trainer who could come and provide the kind of training the dogs needed.
“I want everything to be perfect here, and you can’t just bring in just anybody to do that,” Dowdy said. “So we waited three years to find the right person.”
Since Caudle joined Happy Tails, training services have continued to grow and the company has converted a storage building into a training area that has space for one-on-one training with dogs and a meeting room for dog owners. what kind of training they are looking for.
“I’m so excited about this, I can’t stand it,” Caudle said.
Dowdy said Happy Tails is also working to incorporate enrichment activities for the dogs that spend the day there for its daycare, and Caudle will be in charge of many of those activities.
Classes start next week, but places are filling up fast. For more information on training services, visit the Happy Tails Groom & Board Facebook and Instagram pages.