Harold, enrolled in our Comprehensive Obedience Board and Train Program to improve his manners (of course), but more importantly, to help him feel more confident in the big, scary world around him.

When Harold arrived, his biggest fear was immediately apparent: hardwood floors! It actually isn’t terribly uncommon for dogs to have fears associated with floors or surfaces they have never seen before. Usually, this is a result of a lack of exposure during a puppy’s critical developmental stages. Harold was a shelter pup, so it makes perfect sense that he wasn’t used to standing or walking on slicker surfaces. Poor Harold was so scared at first, he would freeze up like (I’m dating myself here, as these probably don’t exist anymore) one of those toy plastic army soldiers. All of Harold’s muscles would tense up, and he would simply freeze in place, and not budge.  By design, our academy has a multitude of different surfaces which allows us to help the dogs we work with overcome their fears and discomfort.

Jamie, our head trainer, began changing Harold’s negative association with the hardwood floors using a technique called “counter conditioning”. Essentially, by coupling incremental exposure to the slick surfaces with a lot of treats and affection, Harold slowly began to realize that the floors weren’t as scary as he originally thought! It took several weeks, a lot of treats, and even more encouragement, but by the end of Harold’s stay with us, he was confidently walking on our hardwood floors like the brave boy he is.

We are so proud of Harold, and can’t wait for him to show off his new skills on his graduation day!