Dog trainer uses paddleboard to help with obedience and relaxation

HELENA – Bark 4 Joy, a dog training company in Helena, encourages pet owners to sit back and relax while teaching their dog obedience skills on the water.

“A friend of mine from Texas is a coach and she’s actually the one who started a paddleboard class and I thought that was the most amazing idea,” said Madie Sanford, owner of Bark 4 Joy. .

Sanford decided to start her own class to encourage a healthy learning environment not only for her students but also for her own dog.

“I love paddling with my dog. My second dog has never swum until we moved here a few months ago so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to teach and learn with my students because I think it creates a different atmosphere for them not just like, look at my dog ​​who can already do this, but let’s learn together, let’s go through this process together,” Sanford said.

Sanford uses positive reinforcement with treats for dogs and says it will be helpful for dogs to have basic commands.

“It’s definitely a work in progress. What I do is just give them tons and tons of treats, basically it’s really helpful for them to have that basic obedience base to home,” Sanford said.

The class begins on land first, then moves slowly through the water.

“I start with paddleboarding on land just teaching the dog to get up there and lay down, rock him back and forth so he kind of gets used to that motion, then transfer him into the water.” said Sanford.

The peace many feel when paddling – Sanford says dogs feel it too.

“They definitely find it to be peaceful like us, so you’ll have a lot of dogs that end up paddling, but they’re calm like us, and it’s beautiful and it’s just very peaceful,” Sanford said.

Sanford says she hopes to fill her last class before the end of the season, with catering and even music in late August or early September. Click here to visit the Bark 4 Joy website.

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