October 18, 2011

Michele’s Tuesday Training Tip – Buffy?

Author: Michele Hatley

What Does Buffy have To Do With A Weekly Training Tip?

In honor of October being Adopt a Shelter dog month, I wanted to share Buffy’s bio and how together we have promoted the use of positive reinforcement in dog training.

I was attending college in southern Indiana when I fell into volunteering at the local humane society. In a back room reserved for the littlest of puppies, was where I first noticed Buffy. She was definitely older than the other puppies kept there and unlike the others who had torn up their newspaper bedding and decorated their space with poopy paw prints, Buffy always seemed to be patiently waiting. She was calm, quiet and appeared to be house broken and I could only think that this seemingly great dog was being passed up for the younger puppies in the room.

Each fall, the humane society helps organize and run a haunted house that raises money to operate the facility. In order to keep people entertained while waiting in line to get inside the attraction, shelter volunteers would bring adoptable dogs to walk along the lines of people outside. The dog that I was planning on bringing got adopted before the event, so I decided to take Buffy. Since the event was taking place after the hours that the humane society was open, I had to keep her with me overnight and in that short time I got attached and here she is with me today.

Around the same time I adopted Buffy, a trainer I worked with at Shedd Aquarium, named Chris Dignan, was starting up The Dog Saving Network. The goal of the organization is to promote shelter adoptions and the use of positive reinforcement training. Knowing Chris for several years he knew my history of training dogs and doing agility, he asked if I’d like to be a part of a stage show with Buffy. So, very quickly Buffy went from the shelter to the stage and we haven’t turned back.

In 2009 and 2011 we performed in Chicago with other dogs that auditioned to be a part of the group and we’ve been teaching and inspiring people to use positive reinforcement ever since. Buffy has been a great ambassador for positive reinforcement and shelter dogs. Together, we’ll keep increasing awareness about training and about the millions of great dogs out there that need homes.

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