Spry Farm helps get your dog on the right path

By Merna Emara
Staff Writer

Aggression towards people and excessive barking are signs your dog needs to be trained. It can sometimes be a tedious or difficult task, but Leanne Spry of The Spry Farm offers dog training sessions that give owners a sense of stability and trust with their four-legged friend.

Spry began training dogs in April, and so far she has trained over 100 dogs.

“I want people to know that there’s an option out there to help them,” Spry said. “There are mistakes that you’re making day to day with your dogs that create really bad patterns, and then over the long term, bad behaviour.”

While Spry has not had any official training, she said she is constantly learning, attending seminars and absorbing new information.

Dogs should always be indifferent to everything, Spry said, adding that dogs need training when they cannot ignore usual life events.

“We want to teach our dogs to be very neutral about the world,” Spry said. “Because otherwise we create fixation, which then can lead to aggression. And it just snowballs when we don’t take basic steps to teach our dogs to just exist rather than be super engaged with everything they come across.”

Because prevention is better than intervention, Spry said, puppies trained at an early age will spare their owner from suffering behavioural issues because their pet will have the proper foundation.

“I can work with any dog, but it is just going to take more consistency,” Spry said. “If you start out eating well and having a healthy lifestyle, it’s easy to follow that all the way to adulthood. If you didn’t, and you want to switch that, it’s harder to make that change.”

Another thing Spry warns against is having the puppy dictate your schedule and routines, rather than creating a schedule and routine for their puppy. Spry said dogs with major behavioural issues definitely take longer, but it also depends on how consistent and dedicated their owners are to wanting to change their lifestyle and the way they live with their dog.

Spry also said it is crucial that people get dogs for the right reasons and not for emotional ones such as when you’re lonely, depressed or an empty nester.

“Get a dog because you can fulfill them, not just that they can fulfill you. People are getting dogs to fill an emotional void within themselves,” Spry said. “The problem with that is in those moments we give that vulnerable energy in the times we’re depressed, the times we’re feeling a little down, a little lonely or a little sad.”

Spry said the problem is that when the dog owner’s energy is low, the dogs begin to take on a more dominant role within the house.

“When we present ourselves with this weak energy all the time, they think if push were to come to shove, this person is not going to protect me or take care of me,” Spry said. “So they take that upon themselves.”

Spry said she just wants to help people with their dogs because untrained dogs develop bad behaviours which impact not just the dog’s family, but the wider community.

“And it’s not because these dogs are innately aggressive,” Spry said. “It’s not because they’re feral. It’s not because they’re rescues. It’s not because of the breed. It’s because those people have failed to train their dogs in the appropriate way to stop that or prevent that from happening in the first place.”

You can view courses offered by visiting thespryfarm.com, where there are pricing options along with an intake form that has to be filled.

Spry also does private training, where the first session and consultation is always in the person’s home. Spry said this is because she wants to see what the dog is like where it is most comfortable.

“I feel like the people with the aggressive dogs almost feel embarrassed to reach out for help,” Spry said. “And I hope that some people can get over that because those are ones that are going to be a danger to people. The onus has to be on people to follow through.”

Leanne Spry has been offering dog training services to local pet owners. She aims to help owners create calm pups, to curb aggression and other poor behaviour. – Submitted photo