Now that I've got a few months of volunteering under my belt, I've become more interested in helping the dogs learn and improve their behavior. There are plenty of dogs in the shelter whose manners are a little rough around the edges, which can make adoption more difficult. As dog walkers, one option for us is to take a BACS pittie to Bad Rap Pit Ed classes. Currently the drop-in class happens every Sunday from 11:30 - 12:30.
The Bad Rap staff asks that before bringing a dog to class, you first observe a session on your own. That’s what I did this past Sunday. It was cold and wet, but enough dogs showed up for a full class. Jody was the only BACS dog in attendance on this day, although paparazzi have reported other shelter dogs at the class in recent weeks. The instructor led several exercises with the dogs and their owners. There were some especially good drills where the dogs had to come in relatively close proximity to each other without reacting.
The full class in action
Jody and volunteer Aaron display picture-perfect BACS form
An added bonus is that the classes are good learning for the people as well as the dogs. If you’ve got your own dog like I do, you get the benefit of learning some drills that you can use with your pup. If you’re interested in taking a BACS dog to Bad Rap, ask at the desk the next time you’re at the shelter. You can get all the information you need. The 11:30 classes are drop-in, meaning that it’s not necessary to come every week. However, it is preferable to attend with some degree of regularity and with the same dog.
The next step for me is to determine which dog might be a good partner for a few Bad Rap sessions. The temptation is to pick a dog who needs behavior help the most. However, the Bad Rap instructor cautioned that a dog who has not yet learned any of the basics might not get very much out of class - especially with someone who is new to the class such as myself. So I’m going to try to do a few of the exercises with our rawer dogs while we’re on a regular walk (this means you, Will and Rudy), and I’ll ask at the desk if there is a dog that might benefit from classes and currently is not attending.
Hopefully I will be able to report after class in the near future!