Technology is a valuable dog training resource.

Today is February 29, 2012-Leap Day. It was an absolutely gorgeous day in Muncie, IN. Sunny skies and 70 degree temps. The perfect day to practice loose leash walking and enjoy playing outside with your dogs.

As promised I wanted to give all of you an update on my New Year’s Resolutions. I think putting them in writing really helps hold me accountable and I am happy to report my updates.

Personal Goals

I have finished 1 scrapbook and at least organized my photos. I may not get back to scrapbooking until May but I am organized when I start again.

I am planning to attend the APDT conference in Ohio in October and I just registered to update my CPDT-KA certification to CPDT-KSA.

I also sent in paperwork to get a puppy endorsement from NADOI.

I have taught 2 first aid classes since January with 4 more scheduled in March and April.

I have a vacation planned for the first week in April.

I am walking more and eating less. Now if only I could get more sleep I would be doing well.

Dog Goals

Sandy has made another 10 therapy dog visits.

Shelby earned her Therapy Dog Certification last Saturday. I turned in her PAL paperwork to the AKC so we can register for some Rally trials this summer.

I have been working with Ginger on some BAT (Behavior Adjustment Training) to help with her socialization and working with Sheba on stay. I’m confident I can get them CGC certified sometime this summer.

I’ve made some contacts at the local library to get Ranger into a reading program so we will start that this summer.

I am pretty happy with my progress so far and will keep you updated with photos and progress reports throughout the year.

As I have been working with clients individually and in group classes, I have been thinking how much technology has improved in the last 10 years and how helpful it is to dog trainers. For example, you can purchase specially made CD’s that help with socialization, calming sounds with classical music, separation anxiety and games for group classes.

In addition, you can purchase underground fencing, electronic collars, vibration collars, and GPS units to keep track of your dogs in the field.

There are apps that you can purchase for your smart phone or i-pad that can aid in keeping track of your pets medical records and pet first aid (Petsaver).There are also numerous apps that you can download for entertainment purposes. My favorite is Doggie Dash.

I have seen and used manners minders, kong dispensing toys, talk to me treat-balls and other remote controlled toys and food dispensers that help to mentally stimulate a dog and provide them with a distraction during the day while owners are away.

I think the most valuable technology is using web cams, video cameras, smart phones, etc, to help with separation anxiety and other behavior problems. Normally when we work with clients, there is no way to tell exactly what the dog is doing when the owner leaves the house or to be able to describe to an owner what body language to look at when you have a reactive dog. With the use of the above tools, we can see what behaviors the dogs are exhibiting, the timing of the problems and have evidence to show owners in order to help with behavior plans and compliance. I have also had owners video tape their dogs behavior and either send me the video or bring their phone to a lesson so I can see exactly what the dog is doing. This is an excellent opportunity for me to create a behavior plan that will set the dogs up for success.

We can also use video cameras and smart phones to take photos and videos of pets during classes, private lessons and board and trains so owners can see their dogs’ training progress and we can use this information for publicity, advertising and to let owners brag about their dogs training progress

Lastly, social networking sites like faebook and google plus in addition to twitter allow friends and family to keep up with your dog’s progress and success.

What apps, tools, and technology do you use with your dogs? Do you have any goals to increase your use of technology within the next year? We’d love to hear from you.

Shelby posing after passing her TDI Test