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Instilling A Love of Training: Rory and Gator

There is nothing more satisfying as a dog trainer than when a student learns to LOVE training their dogs.  Carol Hein-Creger of the Canine Training Center shares a letter she recently received from a student who has discovered this joy.

Hi Carol,

I talked to my Mom last night and she was very excited after taking Gator to his Calm & Confident class. I am so happy that she is doing classes with him and I know that she enjoys it.

I am so thankful for all that you taught me about dog training. There was a time where I was very concerned about Gator’s reactivity and wasn’t sure that it would get better. Considering how much he loves going with me everywhere, I knew that this would not be a good fate for him (or me). After Calm & Confident and Agility 1&2 we were able to learn the skills that would help him increase his confidence and increase his threshold. He even was able to go on a date with me at the end of the summer in a busy pedestrian mall in an outdoor restaurant (did I mention he likes going everywhere with me?). Despite many life changes in the past 12 months, the groundwork you instilled in us help give Gator stability that would help him grow into adulthood.

It is also so fun to see how easy it is to train Rory using the same methodology. I felt confident going into puppy training after my experience with Gator’s reactivity – but I hadn’t quite realized that puppies don’t know anything at all. For example, climbing up stairs? No clue! “Good boy!” No reaction. “No!” and Rory would continue his destructive behavior. After my initial moment of panic when I realized what I had gotten myself into, we were able to fall back on the basics I had learned and progress forward. In the first week I had him, he learned to “Sit,” “Down,” “Wait,” “Touch,” and “High-Five.” By the second week, he learned “Kennel,” and “Leave it.” Now, he knows leave it so well that he can be playing with a leaf across the yard and I can say “Leave it” and he will come running. Though it isn’t perfect, I feel confident moving forward and know that Rory has a foundation that will help him grow into a confident adult dog.

Rory and Gator are half brothers – so it will be fun to see how Rory develops. I have seen a slight reactivity in the puppy that we will need to work on, but so far he has done incredibly well in his new home.

Thank you for all that you have taught me. Though my dogs might not be perfect, they are absolutely perfect for me and you have helped us all realize our full potential.

Wish I was back in East Lansing so I could continue training Rory with you! Thank you again!

Take care, Charlsey

Carol Hein-Creger, the director of the Canine Training Center, has been training dogs and their owners since 1979. She has trained thousands of people, including many local dog trainers. Carol is the lead trainer at AnnaBelle’s Pet Station in downtown Lansing. Check out her upcoming class schedule. Do you have a training or behavior question for Carol?  Send an email to with “Carol’s Corner” in the subject line or use the “Contact Us” form.

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