Teacher finds new type of students

A sweet, shy basset hound inspired Katy Johnson to do something she loves – work with dogs.

The basset hound was the first dog Johnson owned as an adult, but, taking care of a dog was a lot of work. Johnson read books and conducted research online. She left her teaching job with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and went to work at a dog day-care facility in Huntersville.

Now, Johnson works with dogs through her new business, Mountain Island Dog Training. Last summer, Johnson received her dog training certification from Animal Behavior College and taught classes at Dog Haven in Charlotte.

Johnson, who owns five dogs, uses positive reinforcement, such as treats, praise and toys, to reward the dog for good behavior. She can teach dogs basic commands, such as sit, stay, come, down and loose leash walking. She can  also fix problem behaviors, including chewing and housetraining.

“There is a lot of stuff you can use to reward your dog,” Johnson said. “Your dog wants to work for you, and you just start phasing out the treats or toys. A lot of it is just using praise in the right way, too.

“… A lot of people will do the ‘board and train’ or send their dogs away to someone who uses a shock collar,” Johnson said. “You go pick your dog up, and sure, the training is fast but only because your dog is scared.”

For more information about Mountain Island Dog Training, contact Johnson at 815-519-7193 or sitstay5@yahoo.com.

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