My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Your Dog's Friend, Rockville, MD, USA
I can't ever repay this non-profit for the valuable life changing knowledge they have so freely imparted upon me. I am exactly the person that this organization was created to help and I am grateful every day for the opportunity and resources that have been provided to me.
Though I come from a long line of pet owners (horses, dogs, cats and rodents) without exaggeration I can say we knew nothing about what the needs of the animals were or how they learned.
Because of the high caliber of guest speakers and the range of experience they bring to the workshop participants, we are equipped to help our animal family be the best they can be. Even though the workshops themselves are free, I would easily invest $100 a session, and depart knowing every single penny of that fee would pay for itself ten times over, in less stress, less time trying outdated and dangerous training methods, in searching through tombs of information on pet care or problem behaviors and how to correct them. After every single workshop both the guest speakers and volunteer staff stay afterwards to answer every last question!
I have learned to read, interpret and understand a dogs body language. To understand the subtle differences in a dogs behavior: the difference between a tolerant dog from one that's is screaming STOP. If only it's human caretaker recognized the signs, the visiting grandchild might not get bitten and the dog removed permanently from the family. I can read the signs of when a dog wants to be approached and when the dog is really not comfortable and wants no part of this confrontation.
I am particularly grateful for understanding that when my dog desperately needs me to intervene or needs a change that her growl is her way of communicating to me, that fear or anxiety. I wouldn't think of correcting my dog now for growling, after learning from experienced handlers that the dogs is simply seeking my help, I would thank her for telling me that something is bothering her and as a responsible owner I need to take the next time of correcting the situation, or removing ourselves to a safer place. This is a win, win situation for everyone.
Until attending a workshop orchestrated by YourDogsFriend I never paid any attention to how intimidating it could be to a dog for someone much taller than they and a stranger at that - to reach down and touch the dog on the head! I would never have known, if it weren't for the guest speaker Debra brought in and that challenged the participants to participate in the 'experience'. What a learning opportunity that was for the 50 or 60 people in attendance. Everyone had an ah hah moment!
And positive training or clicker training, why on earth would I do that! Duh, just pull on the leash to make the dog slow down or sit. Well let me tell you what I (I mean Miss Daisy, a GSP rescue of about 18-24 months) has accomplished in about five months time using the clicker method, I was introduced to during one of the workshops.
The standard sit, down, shake, come. Yep she does all that.
She also spins to the left, spins to the right, walks a circle around me, both ways! she does the army crawl, she does a high five and a two pawed high five! she practices her bow for when she meets royalty and she knows how to give the best butterfly kisses! She can walk a raised 10" platform (at 80 lbs) can turn on it and walk backwards as well. She can dance with me using her front paws and legs, she can stand like a circus elephant on a platform and she can put her paw on the can that has the treats, no matter how much you switch them around!
All these tricks and more are due to the experienced trainers and guest speakers that continuously empower me to provide the best for my dog.
I know what I'm speaking of because I have utilized the free workshops for myself. I have attended training sessions with my dog at the training facility and I do intend to attend many more.
I appreciate the many resources and handouts that are printed for workshop participants and are available to us free of charge. I have often grabbed handouts for my neighbors and of course I share my excitement with everyone. Because I always share what I've learned in a workshop or the dogs accomplishments, I've even become a small resource for others.
Oh did I mention these workshops are held twice a month, in a location where everything must be carried in, setup and dismantled after each session. The dedication and commitment these volunteers have made to the animals is beyond measure.
To Debra Ekman, all the giving volunteers, the trainers and guest speakers "You have made a difference in the lives of animals" and it goes further for me because "you have made a difference in my life too"!