My Experience with Online Training course -- Michelle Lennon

  • Before we got our basenji, "Sanji," I started this online training course with Michelle Lennon. To be sure, with my last dog I went to a local pro, Linda Aloff, but this is more detailed and better organized and you can do it at home.

    It takes a month for a person to get through the rich course and all the material that one uses, including a provisional daily schedule. That's the easy part. It's really a lot of work everyday to train as much as ought to be done. Most people won't have the time; it helps if you're retired or working from home. But, I have to say, the pay off is big if you can.

    It's called "30 Days to a Dream Dog" but that means thirty days of training you to learn to train your puppy over the course of the following year or so. But really for life because one learns in detail the mechanics and logic of dog training. It's very comprehensive, covering everything. I found this course to be super helpful and worth every penny. There's a DIY course $167 and a "pro level" ($397). The best deal for me was going with the DIY level and buying, pro-level access for one month ($75), rather than pay ahead for it for 3 months. The "pro" level gets one access to three weekly zoom meetings with her and moderator, where they take questions from customers for an hour or so (usually about 10-15 people in the sessions) and one can also get any questions answered 24/7 via their facebook interface, and see what others are dealing with and interact with them. For what one gets, it's a real bargain. I used it for a month and found it very helpful.

    She also offers a lot of free content, including many YouTube videos and a free and helpful "puppy starter kit."

    Search "How To Train A Dream Dog" on YouTube

    To be sure, I don't agree on every detail. For example, I incorporate many no-leash walks in the woods; they don't recommend that. Also, her course is not really designed to train an active "outdoor" dog, but more for an "indoor" dog. I'm training mine for mountain biking. She opposes electric fences and doggy doors. I've had great experiences for 9 years with both and will continue to use them (started electric fence training last week and making good progress). I like the combination because my last dog could go out when he needed, and he liked to watch the squirrels and chase them (never caught one). And of course, he loved to go on mtb rides in the woods and jump in the creek. (I hear basenji's don't like water, but I plan to take him for dock jump training at a local pro training place). Regardless, her course lays out solid foundational work. She trains you to be a puppy trainer and provides all the real-time help you could need. We're so glad we went this route.

    At 13 weeks, Sanji is crate trained. Last night he went in voluntarily! We follow the recommendation to pick up the water at 7 pm, when we feed him, and he sleeps until 5:30-6:30 when we wines to go out for a pee and poo. He rarely has a pee accident in the house, rings the bell to go out, and I can't remember the last time he did #2 in the house. He fetches for 5-10 minutes, is biting less every day (due to distraction training), can do "stay" for 30 seconds, is doing great on "heel" walking with short leash, etc. In another 3 months, he'll be a dream dog.

    Happy training!

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