Rochelle Black - Obedience & Rally Obedience Instructor
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been working with animals. My early childhood years on the farm in Dover allowed many opportunities to be around animals of all shapes and sizes. My first dog training victim, was a little rat terrier named Tiny. Yes, I said “victim” because I was pre-school age (probably age 4) and perpetually placing her in the wagon to pull around and other assorted activities. My next 2 dogs were Pepper (German Sheppard) and Snowball (Eskimo Spitz) who learned to jump through a hula-hoop and slide down the sliding board of the swing set…all WITHOUT food! I believe it was shear persistence on my part. Pepper loved to ride the glider with me too. Following these two wonderful pups, I became the caretaking human for a stray mixed terrier named Buddy. She was terrified of everything and taught me how to have patience and understanding.
Eventually as an adult, I found myself working with Percheron draft horses; stallion, mares and young. These gentle giants taught me much about myself and how to work with them to get the desired result. Let’s face it, there is no way to physically “place” a draft horse. Life was busy doing parades, competition, riding, and driving the horses as part of the horse & carriage service. Working with and around the public with these strong, beautiful animals, I realized quickly the necessity of knowing your animal and having confidence in your training methods. I no longer work with draft horses since my darling little girl, Grasshopper, came into my life.
Currently, I live with Grasshopper and Dudley; both are Jack Russell Terriers. Grasshopper, as a puppy, taught me how dogs can quickly and easily train their humans. I realized she was unlike any other dog I ever owned and began reading every book I could find of JRT’s and training. I also enrolled in classes at Bella Vista. She took me through an array of learning experiences and has evolved into a sweet little girl with lots of ribbons. Dudley is a rescued JRT and is making great strides with overcoming his issues. Dudley came into the house in 2008 being nothing more than a skeleton with fur. He had Lyme disease at a level of 298 (treatment typically starts at a level of 30), hook worms and other health issues. He is now a healthy, happy active, handsome little guy. He received his first title in Rally Obedience in 2010. Life is never boring with a JRT in the house. Grasshopper, Dudley and I play in Rally Obedience, Earthdog, Freestyle Dance, and Tracking. Of course, swimming with our friends, Jill and Marty, is fun too (Marty is a Golden Retriever who thinks he is a JRT and loves to go rodent hunting with Grasshopper).
How long have I been working and playing with dogs…as long as I can remember. However, the need for structured, proven training techniques came with Grasshopper who was 10 years old in March 2012. I primarily teach and train using positive reinforcement but use other technique when appropriate.