Eight week old Blaze starts training

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – He may only be 8 weeks old, but VigoCounty’s next tracking and arson dog is already training.  On Monday, we introduced you to Blaze, a British Labrador purchased by the Vigo County Council.  Blaze and his handler spend one night each week at obedience school.

“That relationship, that obedience, and those good manners come from both ends of the leash.  So, it’s making good choices. It’s mutual respect.”

Robin Stanifer operates “Both Ends of the Leash” in Sullivan and leads the obedience classes taught here. They’re modeled after the American Kennel Club’s “Star Puppy” program.

On Wednesday night, Blaze, a star in his own right, went over the basics, what Stanifer calls his foundation: sit and down.  They’re two commands he seems to have ‘down’ pretty well.  He’s also pretty good at eating treats, which are used to reward Blaze when he does what’s commanded.

“Come” is the new command Blaze learned in this session.  Stanifer says the training strategy for all dogs is the same, though she understands more is going to be expected of Blaze as he gets older.

“With puppies, getting them early is a real key in how their behaviors are going to come out as adults,” said Stanifer.

So far, Stanifer says Darrick Scott and Blaze are doing a “dog-gone” good job.  They’re preparing for Blaze’s next step, which will be tracking school in Wisconsin.  That’s when this adorable puppy and his dedicated handler will start to really fulfill their potential.

In the meantime, they’re going to let Blaze enjoy being a puppy. It’s a dog’s life after all!

Blaze has already started doing some introductory training in search and rescue.  He’ll begin that training in June, then arson detection training early next year.

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