Three words described how I felt in that Santa Rosa county for those 2 weeks… I LOVED IT.
I couldn’t imagine that it would be so eventful and relaxed. As soon as I arrived I was welcomed on campus. Everyone was friendly and included me in whatever dog activity they were doing. I was the only one who stayed on campus but wasn’t there for the 17 week immersion program. Everybody else seem to already got acquainted and I was finding my place.
It was a quiet area which was dark at night and the only thing close was a Spanish restaurant across the street. The food was ok, but I had better. The tacos were thin and the meat didn’t have that fresh taste like Don Nico( my favorite spot in queens right now).
As far as my living space, I ended up boarding in a small room in the staff building. Besides the fact I had to walk outside and go about 150 ft to use the bathroom in the next building because the staff building had no bathroom, I enjoyed it. I also had no kitchen. So I had to go to another building to cook and to shower. This was an inconvenience, but being in this building had it’s perks.
I was close to the staff so I would watch the staff as they worked with their dogs for a competition. I would ask questions and take note to what they did. I remember one staff member specifically training for IPO. If you seen my Instagram you will see photos of the staff yard.
You will also see pics of the loner dog I was given named Phoneix. She was a Belgian Malinois and I fell in love with her. At first she really didn’t care for me. I was introduced to her on Tuesday, the second day of class.
On Sunday we were beginning to develop a minor relationship. On the following Tuesday we were beginning to become closer physically and emotionally. She was a lot more engaged with me in the training room. When it was time to leave, I didn’t want to leave her. If I had a lot of space I would of taken her with me, but then reality hits me.
Now for the meat and potatoes. Class time. You ever felt like you was just made to do something and it was effortless to do it? Well that’s how class felt. It wasn’t like sitting in a boring classroom.
The lectures were filled with practical and useful information and the practical helped us dog trainers there bring the imaginative into reality. At first I thought to myself, “how much can we possibly talk about obedience”?
Little did I know that Michael Ellis breaks it down into little tiny details. “If you give a reward with the same hand you can affect a dogs finished behavior” “You are turning your hand too much to the left that’s why the dog is crooked”. These were some of the sentences he would say as he would correct some trainers who thought they were already doing the correct mechanics, but couldn’t figure for the life of them why they weren’t getting good results.
Eventually everyone realized that it wasn’t as easy as it seemed. Michael Ellis was easy going and chill. He is a real down to earth person.
Since I spent my labor day here. I might as well tell you how that went.
First we did have dog training class that day. But like I told you already, I love this stuff so I didn’t want to skip class anyway. We ended up having a Barbeque. Bring your own meats and booze! I brought ground beef and a friend bought whiskey. It is safe to say that I did not miss NY at all as I was having a great time.
A couple of shots in and dog training was all we could talk about. We talked about what we were going to do when we got back home and conversed about various dog training topics. Typical signs of obsessive people. I think we performed better after a shot. Many people felt they could relax under the attention of 30 people and Michael Ellis.
Outside of training I felt horrible. No one told me it was cold in Northern California. I bought shorts, tshirts, a couple long sleeve shirts ( I didn't think I would need), 2 pair of jeans, a hoodie, and a light blanket. I was freezing every night. Not to mention my allergies out there were the worst I’ve ever experienced.
I was sneezing and coughing all the time. I thought maybe it was because I had a loner dog in my room but I was feeling like that before I met her. Someone saw me and explained that their allergies were acting up to. Then came the story of a botanist who decided to plant some weird plants in the area causing that area to be the worst place for allergies. Just what I wanted to hear. I just bared the pain and tried to look on the bright side- this was a great opportunity.
Overall I can’t wait to go back to the Michael Ellis school for dog trainers for other courses. If that's the prerequisite course I can’t wait to be in the other classes.