Dog training class works with a new puppy

Frithuric vom Ramhaus has arrived in New York! The kids were more than happy to help us with his initial socialization procedures.
While the “job” that Frithuric will perform is unknown still, all our working dogs and puppies go through the same initial socialization and drive building work. Below are a few pictures of Freddie getting to know everyone.

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Teaching dogs that they have back ends, a never ending story

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K9 Soren working with student Kaled

So why do we talk about fitness and back end awareness so much??? Well first off its vital to working dogs to have a clear understanding of where exactly that “other half” of them is! From obedience to rubble work, to navigation in dense woods having hind end awareness is vital to these working K9′s…….and its fun!!!

We use a combination of shaping and luring to capture the behaviors we want. Using a secondary reinforcer called a clicker we are able to mark the exact times and behaviors we like and then reward. When the students learn that they can manipulate behavior with a clicker and food, they begin to see how the world manipulates their behavior with a lot of the same reinforcers!!!!!!!!!!

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K9 Annecy working with student Ian


In these pictures you see the canines targeting the bucket with their front paws, this allows free movement of the hind end in a circular motion. They are taught to spin around both ways keeping both front paws on the “target”  This is what gives them the awareness of the back end, while also reinforcing and teaching them to use their brain and “offer” behaviors to us!

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K9 Soren helping student David learn how to lure

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K9 Diva working with student Melissa

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If you have any questions please let us know!

By: Jennifer Culver

Training Director

Fitness series – #3

Many people start the New Year with a resolution to work-out more or lose a little extra weight.  Here at the Allynwood CHAT® program, we are beginning the new semester with a fresh group of students learning how to teach fitness exercises to the dogs!  This is the third post in a series I started the end of 2013.  We will continue to showcase each student teaching a stretch or exercise with one of our dogs throughout the semester. 

~Nina Sorochynskyj, CHAT® Instructor

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Leg Weaving

By Deiber, CHAT® student

“I had a real good time training Elliot in leg weaving. In these pictures I’m using some food to lure Elliot in between my legs. Using the clicker, I was able to more easily tell him that he did a good behavior. Being one of the first times I trained a dog, it was simple enough to get the right movements, it helped boost my confidence in training Elliot and other K9s. As for Elliot, it improves his maneuvering and gives him a good stretch.”

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Watch Deiber & Elliot in action…

“The goal in this training is to get him to weave in and out of my legs. We start off with just going through one leg, but as he gets better, he starts understanding what must be done in this training and will start weaving in between your legs as you walk.”

Winter working wonderland

As the semester wraps up and the kids get a few weeks break for Christmas and new years, the Dog Corps students and I try to get out a little extra and play with the dogs.

Diva has taken to the NY weather and has learned to enjoy the snow and searching in the cooler temperatures.

Student Bobbie giving Diva her search command

Student Bobbie giving Diva her search command

Diva off searching

Diva off searching

Playing with her handler

Playing with her handler



the K-9 faces of Allynwood

Students participating in Allynwood CHAT & the Dog Corps program have the unique opportunity to work with a diverse bunch of canines.  It’s a fun group of dogs, each with their own history, training achievements, personality & quirks.  Some have come to us out of a shelter or rescue group, while others boast fantastic breed pedigrees.

Each has something special to offer and teach our students…

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Allynwood Academy CHAT K-9 Dillon profile imageAllynwood Academy CHAT K-9 Diva profile imageAllynwood Academy CHAT K-9 Elliot profile image     Allynwood Academy CHAT K-9 Eme profile imageAllynwood Academy CHAT K-9 Frank profile imageprofile_FrannieAllynwood Academy CHAT canines Jack & Jake's profile imageAllynwood Academy CHAT K-9 Kaze profile image   abbyAllynwood Academy CHAT K-9 Raina profile imageprofile_RavenAllynwood Academy CHAT K-9 Ripley profile imageAllynwood Academy CHAT K-9 Soren profile image

A typical day in the Allynwood CHAT program

No day is ever the same, especially not when you are teaching kids and dogs! Though usually you will find a mix of classroom learning (sometimes i’m smooth enough the kids don’t even realize they are learning!) interactive hands on dog training, and of course a bit of cuddle time with the doggies. Below is a quick photo snapshot of a typical day in the dog house.

Student Bobbie relaxing with Soren

Student Bobbie relaxing with Soren

Student Jamie S. ready to start Diva on an airscent problem.

Student Jamie S. ready to start Diva on an airscent problem.

K9 Annecy making a find and performing a bark and hold on her subject student Bobbie M.

K9 Annecy making a find and performing a bark and hold on her subject student Bobbie M.

Student Bobbie M. off to work K9 Diva on an airscent problem with fellow students Jamie S. and Deiber as flankers

Student Bobbie M. off to work K9 Diva on an airscent problem with fellow students Jamie S. and Deiber as flankers

K9 Annecy and K9 Soren in the front, and K9 Diva in the back all working downstays

K9 Annecy and K9 Soren in the front, and K9 Diva in the back all working downstays


Jennifer Culver

Program Director


Fitness series – #2

“Hind End Awareness”

Written by Jamie S. (CHAT student)

CHAT K-9 Diva targets a cardboard box with her front feet.

Jamie warms up K-9 Diva with a fun exercise of targeting the inside of a cardboard box with her front feet.

Teaching the dogs about hind-leg awareness is important, especially in Search and Rescue. Our canines must be able to focus on where their back legs are when running through the woods, which includes jumping over rocks, fallen trees, etc.

To strengthen this awareness, we use clickers when a dog is moving their back legs into a box or onto a bowl. A clicker marks the desired behavior, followed with a treat. Dogs will begin understanding the pattern, and will start offering the behavior to receive a treat.


Through this process, our canines learn how to walk backwards, step into a box, step out of a box, pivot their front feet, and more.

CHAT K-9 Diva working on a targeting exercise.

K-9 Diva learns to target an object with her back feet.

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K-9 Diva happily hops in the box – while also having to be mindful of picking up her back feet on each repetition.


Fitness series – #1

Written by David G.  (CHAT student)

The events happening in these pictures represent quite an important part of what we do in Dog Corps. In order for these dogs to perform on the level that we require of them, they must be in top physical condition.

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A sequence of photos showing Tank practicing Crawl under a line of chairs

So in the picture I am working with Tank on his exercises. He needs to be able to stretch parts of his body that he normally would never use. Dogs generally aren’t too comfortable using their hind legs, it is our job to make them used to them. Some exercises that that do this for the dog are the Standing Stretch, Crawling, and Froggy Stretch.

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Tank is propped up on a dog bed so that he can extend his rear legs into a Froggy Stretch

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David lures Tank into a nice tall Standing Stretch – stretching his lower back

When you put all of the stretches into effect, they can make a superior working dog.

Allynwood hosts human & canine guests for first CHAT® Seminar

On Saturday, November 23rd, Allynwood hosted a one-day interactive seminar for professionals and parents with their canine companions.  The focus of the seminar was to introduce the theory and practice of Canine Human Attunement Training/Therapy, also known as CHAT®.

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Certified Therapy Dogs ‘Jake’ & ‘Jack’ greet participant ‘Delilah’

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Little ‘Scooby’, an 8 month old Jack Russell pup came to work on his social skills

Participants listened to presentations by Dr. Rita Argiros, Executive Program Director & Richard Reeve, Head of School, who discussed the theory and science behind canine-human attunement.

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Jennifer Culver, CHAT Program Director, facilitated several demonstrations with Dog Corps students and dogs, and also provided professional behavioral assessments of participants’ pet dogs who attended the seminar.

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‘Scooby’ warms up to Dog Corps resident ‘Kamikaze’ during a socialization session


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‘Hannah’ smiles for the camera during a training exercise

CHAT® is Allynwood Academy’s unique program for adolescent and young adult dog enthusiasts. 

CHAT® emerged out of more than 16 years combined experience and thousands of hours of practice with adults, adolescents and dogs of all breeds. It builds upon the best of current canine learning theory, human and canine brain science, and the groundbreaking work of Beebe et. al on mother-infant attachment and attunement. CHAT® coursework and experiential learning address a number of issues, particularly those related to trauma and addiction.

To learn more about the Allynwood Academy CHAT® program, please contact:  Jennifer Culver, Program Director, at (607) 637-8284 or