Perhaps the first instances of animal domestication appeared in caveman times, when those humans first discovered how useful wolves could be in alerting them to danger.
Today, dog trainers like Lynn Wunderli, who spoke at the May 2 Rotary meeting, can train dogs to do more than alert, but to be workers, companions and happy members of the a family.
Lynn grew up with dogs and began offering canine care and training in 1998, opening one of the first dog day care centers in New England.
She and her husband now live in Waunakee, where she plans to open Zen Dogs Center currently under construction on Lillian Drive. It will house a dog training and care center, along with a grooming facility.
In her talk on the art of dog training, Lynn noted that in the 1800s, dogs were trained for jobs as hunters and guards. In World War I and II, they put their lives on the line as messengers and guards, some even filling the role of mercy dogs left with wounded soldiers.
Lynn talked about some of the pioneers in obedience training, like Helene Walker, who traveled to help people train their dogs. In 1933, the first organized certification test event was held in upstate New York.
In the 1980s, trainers adopted kinder and gentler approaches. Ian Dunbar introduced the idea of educating the entire family. Karen Pryor’s method was similar, but she used a clicker to help train dogs. Barbara Woodhouse proposed that the energy we project helps with behavior as animals rely on tonal sounds.
A contemporary trainer, Cesar Millan, uses a black and white approach, but also bases his dog training on energy. With his approach, the three keys to encouraging good behavior are exercise, discipline or structure and affection.
Lynn talked about the different conditioning stimuli dog owners can use. She believes dog owners should also be trainers, she said, and that it’s important to nurture balance in a dog’s life, providing exercise, exposure to public places and people, mental exercise and human and dog sports, while encouraging a dog’s individuality.
Most of all, she said, is to be calm, clear and consistent.
Other News:
–Carol Hermann, the club’s new assistant governor, came as a guest. She’s the Lodi Rotary Club president. She will replace Linda Olson at the end of Linda’s term.
-The club inducted a returning member, Howard Teeter. Welcome back, Howard!
–Volunteers are needed to sign up for the Tri 4 Schools event May 18.
–More people are also needed to sign up for the bus trip and to buy tickets for the Brewers game May 8. If you’d like to grill out there, let Bob Klostermann know.
–Spring cleanup is this Saturday, May 4. Meet at Village Hall at 9 a.m.
–Rotarians have an opportunity to travel to Ghana to see the work of the Change Herstory project there.
Guests: Kori Keene, Lynn Wunderli and Carol Hermann, guests of the club; Bob Forbess, guest of Jean Elvekrog.
Visiting Rotarians: Jim Slattery, corporate associate (Bob Klostermann).
Birthdays: May 15, Mick Holm.
Anniversaries: May 9, Ed and Jan Niebuhr
Greeters: May 9, Danny Paul and Ken Pesik; May 16, James Pingel and Erick Plumb; May 23, Robert Pulvermacher and Corey Randl; May 30, Tom Roepke and David Rupp.