Training and tricks

First Posted: 9/8/2014

When Darlene Acosta, of Factoryville, first adopted Izzy from the Griffin Pond Animal Shelter, it didn’t take long before she realized the “calming effect” the male Bichon has on humans.

“He’s really good with people,” she said. “He’s soft and people like to pet him.”

So, she decided to give her new pet a chance to be a therapy dog, something she had an interest in before adopting him. Izzy now visits nursing homes, hospitals and sometimes schools.

Acosta took her little friend to Barb Mattes, of Coal Dogs, Clarks Summit, for obedience training. Then Izzy moved up to agility training and, on Sept. 6, the pair occupied a spot at a Coal Dogs tricks workshop at the Waverly Community House.

The pet owner said what she liked most about the workshop was the aspect of “learning to do things in steps, and being patient with the dog,” as she finds training most effective when using “little baby steps.”

Mary Rhodes, another of the 16 dog owners registered for the two workshop sessions that day, said the training was “worth every penny,” because she finally got Stormy, her 6-year-old dog to “sit.”

The North Abington Township resident “rescued” the female Standard Poodle from a private shelter just a month ago.

“She is a sweet, sweet animal,” Rhodes said. “But she has no obedience training.”

The Coal Dogs tricks workshop welcomed pet owners and dogs of all ages and training levels.

“Patience and love can help you achieve the goals you set for your dog,” reads an event flier. “So set a goal and work till you get there! Never stop setting new goals with tricks. And yes even old dogs can be taught new tricks.”

Mattes is a certified agility instructor, associate tricks instructor, AKC (American Kennel Club) evaluator, Therapy Dog International evaluator and owner and trainer at Coal Dogs.

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