BY ROSIE PIGA PIZZO
Madalyn Moorman walks from student to student, looking to sniff out whether each understands the concept of “Off.”
“This is the number one skill after ‘Sit,’” Moorman says. “Off the couch, off the guest who just walked in.…” She leads a four-month-old cocker spaniel named Samuel to a concrete slab. Samuel climbs up and waits.
“Come here, Samuel,” Moorman says, motioning for him to step down. When he does, Moorman drowns him with affectionate words and pats. “Good boy!” she says. She then leads Samuel up the concrete slab again, but this time, she says, “Off.” Samuel proves to be a quick learner and obediently steps down. Once again, he is showered with praise and affection.
Moorman is a certified professional dog trainer and owner of Mad 4 My Dog (M4MD). Samuel is one of eight dogs with owners taking M4MD’s Basic Foundation class. “Remember,” she tells the group, following her exercise with Samuel. “First you teach the behavior, and then you teach the language.”
Moorman believes that good training benefits both dogs and their owners. “Some people may think it’s fluffy and weak, but scientific evidence shows it works,” she says. “Our training services and activities are based on proven techniques and learning principles that are fun for the family and dog.”
Moorman held various positions at veterinary hospitals and kennels before she founded M4MD in 2004. Classes met in Bryan Park, where groups of owners and dogs would learn about positive-training methods. As her business grew, so did the need for a permanent location. M4MD now is located at 5810 W. State Road 46 in Bloomington.
Along with the popular course Basic Foundation ($109), other classes include Agility ($89) and Games & Sports ($80). These classes meet once a week for four to six weeks. One-time classes include Tricks & Fun ($15) and Mad4MyPuppy Preschool ($25). Moorman also offers a Baby & Toddler Safety with Dogs program, which meets at Bloomington Area Birth Services. Class packages, private sessions, and workshops round out the training menu.
M4MD hosts events for dogs as well, such as the Fun Trials & Carnival staged in August. To learn more about services and classes, visit mad4mydog.com.