What Happens In Vegas…Comes Home to Coddle Creek (Dog Training)

Episode II – Mikkel Becker

Dog Training

Mikkel Becker with Interested Dog

January is “Train Your Dog Month” and we are delighted to tell you about the workshop and live demonstration with shy and fearful dogs that Mikkel Becker presented at the PetSittingOlogy Conference last October. For those of you not familiar with her work Becker is a certified cat and dog trainer who specializes in the use of reward based training and behavior modification with cats and dogs. These techniques are the epitome of great dog training.

If Mikkel Becker’s name is familiar to you it may be because she is the daughter of Dr. Marty Becker, DVM “America’s Veterinarian.”  Dr. Becker founded the Fear Free movement to help pets be more comfortable in the vet’s office. The apple certainly didn’t fall far from the tree in this instance. Mikkel Becker has earned an impressive list of credentials.

Dog Training

Becker demonstrated her knowledge and skill for us over a 3 hour period of time. A shelter located in Las Vegas provides opportunities for local female inmates to work with dogs to prepare them for adoption. The rescue brought several dogs to the presentation and Becker demonstrated her techniques.

The first dog on stage was a little guy who was fearful. Becker patiently ignored the dog while talking with us and intermittently tossing treats to the dog.  He was quickly eating out of her hand.

Of course there must be a “doubting Thomas” in every crowd and this crowd was no different. One of the participants asked Becker to demonstrate her techniques with a more difficult dog.

A volunteer with the shelter attempted to guide a larger dog up the steps on the side of the stage. The dog steadfastly refused. Becker slowly moved to the front edge of the stage and sat down with her legs dangling over the edge of the stage. She remained focused on the audience and talked in a very calm voice.

Without looking directly at the dog Becker calmly tossed treats on the floor, gradually tossing them closer to her position at the edge of the stage. She continued talking with us about her techniques while answering our questions. The dog moved closer to her until he and the volunteer were able to walk in front of Becker and on to the steps on the other side of the stage.

Becker moved to the other side of the stage and still using treats calmly guided the dog up the steps and sat down next to the dog. In the photo posted at the top of this article you can see the dog next to Becker.

This entire episode took a little over 11 minutes. We know how long it took because Arden Moore timed the episode.  Granted the dog does not have a totally relaxed posture, but clearly is interested and not aggressive.  We call that a win-win-win.  This is a perfect illustration of why we encourage you to use positive reinforcement dog training techniques with your dogs.

Resources for Dog Training

The most effective way to train your dog is a little bit every day.  It’s more fun for you and your dog if you break training into short segments. Feel free to visit our Doggy Page for recommended local trainers and some of our favorite resources. Just scroll to the bottom of the page.  Get going and make January the best month yet for you and your dog.