Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Dog Training Done Right: Dogs In Harmony teaches the human and the dog

When I first got my Aussie Shepherd puppy, Corben, we had a week of blissful quiet. He was adorable and confused and shy, and still very young. After that first week, though, he realized that everything the light touched was his…and he became a typical crazy puppy. Well, with the exception that he was startling bright. This meant that he was double trouble.

And so Lynn Hyndman entered my life.

Lynn, who is owner and trainer at Dogs In Harmony here in Ottawa, Ontario, came to visit before Corben even arrived. She helped us puppy-proof the house, prepare a crate, and talk about puppy maintenance. By the time his first training day came around and he was being a nutbar, I was honestly convinced I couldn’t handle this whole puppy thing at all. He wouldn’t listen, wouldn’t sit still, wouldn’t stop chewing things, and wouldn’t stop running around.

Lynn came in, pulled out her bag of tricks, and within ten minutes she had that 10 week-old puppy doing perfect ‘sits’. He was housetrained within a week, and stopped chewing non-toy items within a month. She made it look effortless, the way someone else might tie a shoe or chop a carrot—like it was nothing at all. Indeed, compared to some of the small-brained breeds she undoubtedly works with, Corben was likely a treat to teach.

Lynn has been our constant cheerleader and teacher as Corben has met and exceeded all his basic obedience and manners training, and is now well into his specialized training for his ‘day job’. However, Dogs in Harmony does not usually do the specialty work Corben gets for his job; indeed, you can hire Dogs in Harmony for your own dog anytime, at any age.

Lynn is a Professional Dog Trainer and a member of the Canadian Association for Professional Pet Dog Trainers. You may recognize her from her segments on Rogers Daytime, as well. On top of all this, she volunteers her time with various doggie non-profits, and is a Mentor Trainer for the Animal Behaviour College, testing and training novice dog trainers as well. All these credentials aside, what makes Lynn so incredible is her genuine adoration for her field.

Lynn teaching Corben to ignore
birds and squirrels.

Lynn has a natural way of explaining how a dog works, and this is key in dog training because the majority of the education happens to the owner, not the dog. I haven’t found a behaviour yet that Lynn can’t figure out how to retrain. She’s a steadfast professional, never breaking stride even when Corben does the cutest bad things—though we often laugh about them afterwards. Watching her work is like watching a fish swim: it’s as if she was born with a clicker and a leash in her hand. Lynn focuses her practice on positive, rather than punitive, behaviour correction techniques, and the results are proof-positive that you don’t ever have to whack a dog with a newspaper to stop a troublesome habit. Indeed, she gets much better results by not doing such things.

With Lynn’s guidance, Corben has become the most well-behaved dog I have ever known. And thanks to her help, he’s also one of the happiest, well adjusted dogs, too. I feel like I’ve learned how to communicate with my pup in a way that he understands and appreciates. Everyone leaves a training moment feeling accomplished; it’s like my dog and I are a team, one built on mutual respect and patience. I truly wish I’d met her when I adopted my rescued pug many years back, as I understand now how it’s never too late to teach even an old dog a new trick.
Lynn LOVES dogs, and it's apparent in her wonderful
training style.

This is my unsolicited commendation of Dogs in Harmony and Lynn Hyndman’s work. It’s also my very public way of saying thank you to her for all her work, research, and support as I’ve swung from, “Please tell me how to restrain myself from stuffing this puppy in the blender,” to “Okay, this dog is awesome and I can’t wait to see him every morning”. Thank you, Lynn, for your hard work with us. Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful you found your calling.

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