Where to start…we’re so happy that we found Sarai to help us train Arty! We adopted Arty at 3 years of age from the Animal Foundation. It was the first time either of us had an indoor dog, and our ability to communicate with Arty was limited because she is deaf. She was super clingy when we brought her home, and she did not like the crate or being left by herself. Night time was difficult because we had to chase her off the bed multiple times, and then she would whine. In addition to this, she was very pushy on walks and would drag us along, occasionally choking herself with a flat collar, or becoming unwieldy with a harness.
When Sarai met Arty, Arty was friendly but very stubborn. Sarai had to modify her usual training style to incorporate hand signals rather than verbal commands. It was definitely a process, but she established a bond with Arty, and then taught us how to reinforce the obedience skills. We started with leash work and then moved on to E-collar, since a primary goal was to be able to go hiking and biking with Arty off-leash. I was afraid to give corrections initially, but Arty was able to learn quickly with a balance of corrections and praise. We were also impressed at how much Arty loved being around Sarai. In fact, when we went to group events, it was so fun to see the excitement of each dog as Sarai came around to greet them. You can tell that she loves dogs, and they love her too!
Thanks to the basic obedience training, Arty gets to participate in just about everything we do as a family. We’ve taken her biking and hiking in Sedona and Utah, to the beach in San Diego, as well as dog-friendly stores and restaurants close to home. Out in public, many people have commented about how impressed they are with her behavior. A couple of our neighbors have told us that she’s the best behaved dog in the neighborhood. Since Arty did so well with obedience, we also pursued retrieval training for her. It was amazing to see Arty learn more complicated tasks. Sarai had to come up with new commands for Arty, since she was her first client with deafness to undergo retrieval training. Arty is now a certified service dog, and we are excited to see if someday she can volunteer to be a therapy dog.