36GASPARILLA ISLAND November/December 2018
Bess Walmsley teaches dog obedience classes offered through
Suncoast Humane Society. She is pictured here with her rescue
program a number of years ago, and I took over the
program for him once he became executive
During the training, Bess tries to focus on positive
reinforcement. She chooses not to use devices like
electronic collars or other gadgets that would shock
It has been scientifically proven that positive
reinforcement works,” Bess said. “We use treats that
help the dogs learn new behaviors. When you think
about it, we are actually teaching English as a second
language to dogs.”
Due to limited space at the Suncoast Humane
Society, the classes are held at the Venice Dog Club
building located at 250 Center Court in the city of
“I teach beginner obedience, therapy dog
preparation, and ‘fungility’ - which combines fun and
agility - we laugh and have a lot of fun.”
The classes are on Thursdays and run for six weeks.
At the end of the course the dogs get a diploma and
doggy ice cream to celebrate.
“I teach people to get their dogs to focus on them
instead of getting distracted by other dogs or other
people,” she said. “Dogs have a very rich emotional
life and want to do a good job and connect with their
Throughout her 17 years of working with canines,
Bess has trained thousands of dogs. She also gives
Different strings of genes found in dogs carry
certain behavioral traits. Some examples are herding,
submissiveness, dominance and aggression.
Although these behavioral genes may have been
passed down to the puppy by the parents, much of
the time the behavior can be addressed and
corrected at a young age.
A professional, experienced trainer could help
provide results. The environment can influence
unwanted behavior. If a puppy comes into a hectic,
busy or stressful home, it will very likely respond to
the chaos. A stable environment is very important.
In need of a dog trainer?
Here’s who to contact:
Executive Dog Training
Best Friends Dog Training