Isla Vista’s new dog park “Bark Park” opened last October and has been an amazing resource to local dog owners and their pups. One program that has helped community members appreciate the value of this new park is the free dog training being provided by the office of the External Vice President of Local Affairs (EVPLA).
Last Saturday morning, community members came together with their dogs to learn from local dog trainer Jill Hall from Four on the Floor dog training. Regardless of dog training experience, Hall made sure that she taught at a pace where each team could learn something new and improve by the end of the session.
While Hall normally does private dog trainings, where she consistently meets with owners and their dogs, she agreed to this more informal style of training because of her dedication to the Isla Vista community. “If you take five things away from what I’m teaching that day and even if you don’t come back,” Hall explains, “then I’ve still done something and impacted the community in some way.”
Hall believes with Isla Vista becoming an increasingly dog friendly community, it is necessary for residents to have access to dog training programs.
“So many people get a dog and they have never had a dog so they don’t know where to start,” Hall said. She believes that the key to creating a safe community for dogs, their owners, and other residents is education through training. Thus, providing access to a training program is huge.
Community members like Jenna Warner, a Santa Barbara City College business economics major, also recognize the importance of dog training as Isla Vista gains more dog owning residents. “There’s a log of high energy dogs that live in Isla Vista and giving them a way to safely release all that energy is really important and benefits everyone,” she stated.
Warner has been bringing her 10 month old pitbull-husky mix, Bailey, to these trainings for two weeks and is already impressed with the changes she has seen in her relationship with her pet. Warner said, “it gave me the tools to really establish the respect and trust you need to have a really well trained dog.”
While coming to all of the provided dog training sessions is recommended in order to achieve the best results possible, it is not necessary in order for owners to see changes. Warner said, “Even if your dog is really well trained or has no training at all, there is something for everyone to get out of it.”
Community members are encouraged to bring their dogs to this weekly Sunday service and gain as much dog training knowledge as possible before the sessions are over. Hall states that in addition to the importance of making dogs in the community comfortable, it is also important for owners to “feel good and empowered about training their dogs.”
Though some may be concerned that the increase in Isla Vista’s dog population could come with an increase in dangerous dog behavior, such as excited lunging or barking at strangers, residents can feel at ease knowing that owners have access to proactive training resources.
Hall’s dedication and the hard work that dog owners put in these training sessions demonstrates the value being placed in making sure that Isla Vista remains safe for everyone and how free dog training can benefit not only dog owners but also all community members. Thanks to these combined efforts, Isla Vista is able to become more dog friendly without sacrificing anyone’s peace of mind.
Correction: Jill Hall’s name was incorrectly spelled Jill Hill.