Canine Karma’s goal is behaviorally balanced dogsWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Amanda Tindall
When Tina Ferner got her first dog, he had some behavioral problems that limited what they could do together. Even when she tried to take him to classes, Clifford reacted negatively to the other dogs, and some trainers would expel the pair from the class.
But from those different classes, Ferner learned the techniques she now uses in her own Holland-based dog-training business, Canine Karma.
“I found a technique that worked really well with him — using treats, body language, communication,” Ferner said. “Body language is huge. I teach my clients how to listen to their dog, so they can respond appropriately. Often that solves the problems.”
Since Canine Karma first began classes in September, Ferner said she aims to give dogs a voice.
“One of the benefits of training is better communication,” Ferner said. “You get that bond even closer, and it’s helpful for the owner, it’s helpful for the dog. And then you can take them places, so you don’t have a nutcase running around. It enhances the quality of life for the dog and for the person.”
Ferner said just as Clifford was her inspiration for dog training, he was also her inspiration for another program at Canine Karma, called End of Life, for dog owners struggling with the loss of a pet or the decision to euthanize. Ferner offers a guide and a group class, with social worker Sue Carter, to help owners cope with the loss.
“I came from the human hospice care end of things,” Ferner said. “I worked there for 20 years, working with cancer patients and hospice patients, so for me, end of life care is really big. I wanted to provide comfort for my poor dog, and there wasn’t anything around, so I put it together myself.”
In September, Ferner, Carter and a social worker with Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center will host a conference called “When Love Is Not Enough,” which will examine difficult decisions pet owners have to make.
“It’s difficult for people to talk about it, [but] when you’re prepared and think about it, it makes the process easier,” Ferner said.
Canine Karma offers classes for all ages of dogs, starting with Puppy Right Start Preschool.
“It gets puppies ready for a lot of socialization,” Ferner said. “We do a mock vet visit, so they get poked and prodded. I have different textures for them to walk on. I’ll play some sounds. I’ll even play some thunderstorm sounds, so they get used to that. We have people in different costumes. Just a lot of new experiences.”
Cindy Vincent brought her puppy, Trixie, to puppy preschool.
“Tina pays a lot of attention to details and the things to look at in your dog’s behavior,” Vincent said. “I never thought to look at some things. Because those were pointed out to us we recognized things in our dog. That’s essential in setting the dog up for success.”
There’s also the S.T.A.R. Puppy Program, which teaches behavior to puppies younger than 1 year old. For beginner dogs or graduated puppies, Building the Bond teaches skills and tricks, after which the Canine Good Citizen class teaches dogs to be well-behaved and teaches clients responsible ownership.
Ferner said being able to simply go to a park with a previously reactive (or aggressive) dog can be empowering. Vincent said she experienced this with one of her older dogs, Mazie.
“Through Tina, we were able to take her for walks through the park, or have people come to the house,” Vincent said. “It’s just made having a dog a more enjoyable experience.”
Ferner also has a protocol for dogs that are timid and afraid of their environment, other dogs and people.
Scott Chapman took his dog, Duke, to private lessons at Canine Karma because he had behavioral issues with guarding his food.
By using rewards, and with other techniques, Chapman said he’s seen improvement in Duke’s behavior.
“I like to think that we have something from puppyhood to death and everything in between,” Ferner said.
Beyond dealing with pets and their owners, Ferner teaches yoga. Combining these two interests, Ferner will host an event called Down Dog for a Cause on July 19. All proceeds from the yoga class will go to the Toledo Area Humane Society.
For more information, visit www.caninekarma.org.
Tags: Canine Good Citizen class, Canine Karma, Cindy Vincent, Clifford, Down Dog for a Cause, Duke, Holland, Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center, puppy, Puppy Right Start Preschool, puppyhood, S.T.A.R. Puppy Program, Sue Carter, Tina Ferner, Trixie