The Athens Review
A pioneer in a type of dog training that has been growing in popularity is showing her skills to some Athens-area dogs — and owners.
Nora Vamosi-Nagy of Budapest, Hungary has begun a series of classes in the Mirror Method at the sprawling Roellen Ranch on Farm-to-Market Road 2495.
Vamosi-Nagy is here because Vicki Cooper Springer, owner of Circle Star Pet Resort, persuaded her to come.
Springer said it took a little persistence to get Vamosi-Nagy’s attention. Vamosi-Nagy credits Springer’s definitive action with convincing her to meet with her.
“Vicki found me through the Internet,” Vamosi-Nagy said. “We have some kind of funny videos on You-Tube, and she was eager to learn. We made a connection really fast, and we kind-of think alike.”
The Athens Mirror Method classes are the first in the U.S. Thursday night, about eight students and their owners met at the Roellen Ranch arena for the second night of training. They’ll be coming two nights a week for two months. Another round of classes starts after the first of the year.
“The main idea is that whatever we do, our environment is always mirroring back our behavior. A dog is a really honest mirror to our behavior,” Vamosi-Nagy said.
Vamosi-Nagi said there are three keys to successful training. First, the trainer must be a leader and earn the dog’s respect.
“It’s like being a parent,” Vamosi-Nagy said. “A child can’t decide whether he wants to go to a party, or wants to go home. You have to set some rules.”
The second thing to remember is to offer the dog positive reinforcement, which works toward winning that needed respect.
The third key is to create a proper lifestyle for the dog.
“Even if I train a dog very well, if I don’t let the dog run and play, and stuff like that, they won’t behave well,” Vamosi-Nagy said.
Vamosi-Nagy has two large, white, male Dogo Argentinos, Paco age 10, and Peru, age 3. She says they’re tough dogs, bred for hunting.
“They are tough dogs,” Vamosi-Nagi said. “We have reasons why we pick certain breeds, and especially when you see the personality of the dog, it tells you a lot about the person. So you can figure out my personality from that.”
Vamosi-Nagi likes to show that even the “tough dogs” don’t have to be aggressive.
“What I like is to have more difficult breeds, and show that they can be trained,” Vamosi-Nagy said.
Vamosi-Nagy remembers that as a child, she always wanted a dog, but didn’t get one until she was 14-years-old. That dog was stolen. A few years later, she got another dog, and began to think seriously about training it.
“Because I live in the big city of Budapest, I wanted a dog that I didn’t always have to walk on a leash or a muzzle,” Nora said. “I was looking for a school to socialize the dog, so I could let go of the leash, and be friendly to other dogs.”
She found a school, and soon became a business partner with the owner.
If anyone would like to learn more about the method, Vamosi-Nagi will be lecturing, Oct. 30. For more information, call 903-469-4320.