2011 Contest Winners

See also: 2010 Winners

Below we have four categories of with the winners for each.


Mary Beth Turek of Downers Grove, IL for her photo entitled "Maggie and Grace, Age 5, the R.E.A.D. dog loves storytime with Grace, one of her favorite readers!"

Maggie and Grace


Lebsica Gonzalez of North Miami Beach, FL for her video demonstrating the usefulness of loose leash walking:

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Social Media

APDT Member Laura Dorfman, CPDT-KA of Glencoe, IL.  Laura wrote a series of blog posts dedicated to National Train Your Dog Month which can be viewed at her web site here: http://konastouch.com/blog/

Community Event

APDT members Mary McNeight from Service Dog Academy in Seattle, WA and Amanda Brothers, CPDT-KA from Sidekick Dog Training in Bothell, WA, for their organization of the positive dog training “flash mob.”

Final flash mob video with news coverage and more!  http://servicedogacademy.com/wp/uncategorized/final-positive-reinforcement-dog-training-flashmob-video/

Flash Mob: A group of people who appear from out of nowhere, to perform predetermined actions, designed to amuse and confuse surrounding people. The group performs these actions for a short amount of time before quickly dispersing. Flash mobs are often organized through email and/or newsgroup postings. (Source: www.UrbanDictionary.com.)

On Sunday January 16, 2001 just after 3:00 pm 14 dog/handler teams came together in the heart of downtown Seattle to form the first ever positive dog training flash mob! We’d seen Michael Jackson tributes and Glee reenactments, but never a dance celebrating the bond between dogs and their people, a bond that is strengthened and nurtured by positive reinforcement-based dog training. 

Mary and Amanda met to choreograph the routine to “Walking the Dog" performed by Rufus Thomas. The idea was not to create an elaborate canine freestyle routine, but rather to demonstrate basic skills taught in most dog training classes. The final routine included nose targeting, shake, sit, down, stay, come, spin left and right and a trick of the handler’s choosing.  

We spread the word via Facebook and several Yahoo group lists including Puget Sound Positive Trainers (“seattlepositive”). Participants were instructed to practice on their own after watching an instructional video (see link below), then attend a practice session the night before. 

On the day of the flash mob, dogs and handlers milled about in front of Westlake Center, a popular shopping area in downtown Seattle. Upon hearing the opening notes to “Walking the Dog,” we fell in line and performed our routine. Well over 150 unsuspecting spectators looked on with some taking photos and recording videos with their cameras and cell phones.

Participants ranged from professional dog trainers to pet dog owners to agility and rally obedience competitors. 

“My Boxer, Tucker, and I participated in your canine flash mob and had the greatest time. It was something we had never done before, but it was so much fun we can't wait to do it again! It was a blast to show off happy, trained dogs and get a chance to talk to the appreciative spectators,” said Janey Wilcox of Auburn, WA. 

Louisa Beal, DVM of Fircrest, WA also participated with her Belgian Tervuren, Paxil. “The Seattle flash mob event was a fun activity that generated a lot of interest from the crowd. But the best part for me was to be able to meet some of the positive trainers in my area. It is so important to cooperate and share with others in our profession. And the icing on the cake was that it was a blast!”

As soon as it was finished, participants wanted to know when we would do it again, and several people who were not able to participate this time wanted to be informed of future events. We have plans to coordinate a new routine to perform at Seattle Humane Society’s (www.seattlehumane.org) Walk for the Animals fundraiser in September. 

The flash mob also prompted Grisha Stewart of Ahimsa Dog Training (www.doggiezen.com) to organize a bi-monthly drill team. “I'm inspired by the flash mob. I think it'd be fun to do this as an ongoing thing. I'm going to start a drill team at Ahimsa that's open to any positive folks.”

This event not only showcased basic training but also socialization; the urban environment was filled with new sights and sounds and each of the dogs took it in stride. This event demonstrated the true value of socialization and training and gave spectators an idea of what dogs and people can achieve when they work together in a cooperative and gentle way.

We believe the first ever positive dog training flash mob is most definitely the Most Creative Community Event organized to promote National Train Your Dog Month and the importance of training and socialization! It was a big success in the community and we plan to build on this first attempt to spread the word about the power of positive training. 

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