29 June 2013


This week I had my first training class down in Kalispell. Kinsey thought we needed a little professional instruction. The trainer is Ellie Bell at Best Friends Dog Training. Kinsey keeps wanting to call her Nellie Belle. Kinsey had a huge stuffed cow when she was a kid. The toy was given to her by her grandmother who's name was Eleanor but family and friends called her Nell or Nellie so she named the cow after her. That was no insult. Kinsey loved her grandmother and her toy very much. Sadly, her grandmother passed away when Kinsey was only 11.

When we arrived there was a big board at the door that said "Welcome Molly Montana". I thought that was a nice touch. My photographer was AWOL so I don't have any photos to show you.

Ellie's style is what she calls "positive training" and that's what we were looking for, not just for me but for Kinsey too. Kinsey felt she needed positive re-enforcement that the things she was doing to help me with my personal growth were the right things. It's been nearly 14 years since she last raised a puppy and the old gray mare ain't what she used to be. Hope she doesn't read that.

Ellie offers both private and group classes. We chose the series of four private classes because Kinsey has undiagnosed ADD and gets lost in a group. Hey, she says it about herself.  The nice thing is, we can drop in on group classes anytime we want as long as we live for just six dollars. We think it's the best of both worlds.

I think Ellie was impressed with all the stuff I already know how to do but clearly there's still much work to be done. The most important thing Kinsey wants me to learn is to stop or wait on command no matter how far away she is or how big the distraction, like a deer I want to chase. I showed I was real good at that in a building with no distractions. But, Kinsey knows all those disciplined thoughts fly right out of my little head when a deer appears.

Some things I didn't know because nobody told me. For instance, Kinsey is supposed to go through the door first. Well, pardon me, it's the first I heard of it. I'm getting the hang of it but what am I supposed to think when Kinsey forgets? So, do you see what I mean about both of us being in training?

I have the habit, as most dogs do, to want to jump up on people and pull on my leash. Ellie recommends the Gentle Leader Dog Collar . Personally, I don't. They tried to get the thing on me and I would have none of it. But hey, this stranger gets in my face with this strange thing to put on my nose? I don't think so. Ellie, gave up and told us to work on it at home. At home Kinsey got the collar right on but I got it right off. So now we are practicing just wearing the collar a few minutes at a time. I'll have to get back to you on whether or not this is going to be the no pull solution for me.

Anyway, we had a real good time and were sent away with tons of homework. I'll keep you up to speed on our progress.

©Kinsey Barnard

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