Ransom, a 7-year-old mix breed terrier owned by the Garrity family, has earned the highest level of achievement where trick dog training is concerned. Ransom was adopted as a puppy from the Humane Society of Broward County for their then 10-year-old son, Beren. The Garrity family immediately hired Dee Hoult, head trainer and owner of Applause Your Paws to help raise their puppy. Every Tuesday at 4:30PM, Ransom, Garrity and Hoult had weekly dog training sessions together at the Garrity’s home on Miami Beach. Through-out the years this dog training trio has taken Ransom from being an AKC Star Puppy to an AKC Canine Good Citizen, followed by earning his AKC Rally Novice Title. “There have been several times I have reminded the Garrity’s that they don’t need me anymore because their dog has long since been obedience trained” says Hoult.
Yet, the bond that existed between Hoult, the Garrity’s son, and Ransom was just too strong to break. “Having Dee come to the home weekly has become a big part of not only our dog’s but our son’s life,” says the head of the house Mark Garrity. Mark Garrity ex-plained to us that he refused to let Hoult go because it was important not only that his son stay actively engaged with the responsibility of dog ownership but also because he saw the results with Ransom and wanted to bring out the dog’s full potential. And so, that’s what Hoult did.
The Trick Dog Champion title (TDCH) is given to top tier dogs who demonstrate a variety of specialty skills. Over a one-year period team Ransom spent countless hours mastering each skill required to submit YouTube videos for review by Kyra Sundance, founder of Do More With Your Dog. Training Ransom to preform the sixty behaviors re-quired for certification became an everyday ritual, but eventually paid off when it came time to prepare the video submissions. Some of the behaviors Ransom was trained to do included skate-boarding, picking up and putting away his toys in his toy bin, preforming obedience commands on hand signals only, rolling himself in a blanket, turning on and off the living room lights, balancing a ping pong ball on a spoon and walking with it, and walking backwards up a flight of stairs.
What’s the point you’re probably asking yourself? Hoult says “why not!?” Hoult shared with us that the relationship between a dog and its owner is more meaningful through trick dog training than when owners train for just basic obedience. The positive attitude that Beren developed towards Ransom, being fully committed to his success, cheering him on and encouraging him every step of the way is how all dog training should be.
Hoult shared that typically owners tend to be more negative when their dog doesn’t master or obey commands on the first try. Yet, in trick dog training when the dog messes up the owner is more likely to encourage the dog to try, try again! There is an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment when you master a “trick,” as op-posed to an obedience command. But isn’t it all tricks to the dogs? Hoult says yes. Teaching tricks establishes a pattern of learning that helps all dogs maintain their focus during training, and throughout their life. Having a dog that learns to enjoy training through tricks means you’re likely to have a more compliant dog for obedience tasks. A dog that likes to work, and loves to learn, is happy to listen to you. Always.
Since earning Ransom’s TDCH the team has been asked what’s next? They don’t have any specific plans, but intend to continue Ransom’s training as long as he continues to love the experience. To see the videos that were submitted for Ransom’s TDCH visit www.youtube.com/thedog-giedeeva
Applause Your Paws is an 8,000 square foot indoor air-conditioned training facility for all types of dogs and is located in Miami-Dade County. They offer reward based dog training through group classes, private lessons as well a board and train program. www.applauseyourpaws.com.