Lyle Heath and Nana Darling, the Saint Bernard

Nana came to us by surprise. Our daughter Jennifer fell in love with her at a pet shop and bought her on the spot. Our daughter has four kids, two boys aged 15 and 14, and two girls aged 9 and 13. When she showed Nana to us for the first time I thought Jennifer, had lost her mind. You see, Nana was a three month-old Saint Bernard. And for the Phoenix area Nana must be inside at least during the heat of the summer. Well, the next thing we knew Nana was coming to our house every morning when our daughter went to work and she went home every evening. We were given the job of house training her. My wife, Sylvia, and I discussed the dog and decided since Nana was spending so much time with us that we had better get her some training.

The next time we visited Western Ranchman we inquired about the training they had advertised on their sign. They recommended Toni. Still in shock over having Nana, we called Toni. She came to our house and gave us a demo with one of her dogs, a German Shepard. We were impressed and told ourselves that Nana would never be that good.

Well, we signed up Nana for lessons when she was four months-old. At the beginning of the first novice class, Nana pulled us around like rag dolls and pretty much visited all the other dogs at will. We had very little control of her. Toni took us aside and with a hammock type bed had Nana going to “place” within a half-hour. Now that “place” is in our family room and Nana lays on it, goes to it when commanded and “stays” on command. All we say are two words “Place” and “Stay.”

Toni introduced us to the dogtra® dog-training collar. We were a little nervous about it, but after she explained its function and we felt it for ourselves we decided to give it a try. We are glad we did, as the collar makes training much easier.

Nana is now six months-old and a very obedient dog. She has won us over and even goes with us to drink out of the hose when we feed the chickens. Last night at class we were pleasantly surprised that Toni told us she is ready for the advanced class! She knows and obeys the following commands: place, heel, sit, stay, down, off, come, give, free dog, treat and nite-nite (go to her kennel). She is working on stand and finish.

Now Nana stays with us most of the time and goes home some weekends. Anyone can take Nana for a walk around the block without a leash including our nine year-old grandaughter! Nana stays right by her left side regardless of the distractions from cars, school buses, rabbits, kids or whatever.

In closing we can only say THANK YOU TONI!


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