To get the most benefit from this class, the dog should be at least one year old and have a solid understanding of foundation behaviors: sit, down, stand, recall (indoors at 20 feet), walking on loose leash, including right and left turns, and 30-second down/sit stays at 10 feet; s/he should not be reactive to dogs or people.
This class is designed to help you prepare for entering your dog in AKC obedience competition at the Novice level, leading to the Companion Dog title. While including the exercises you and your dog will have to master, the course does not “teach to the test.” Instead, the class emphasizes the skills your dog needs to have under his belt in order to perform the Novice behaviors. These skills are taught by breaking the exercises into small, manageable pieces that keep your dog successful. We’ll combine them into the finished exercise when the dog is ready. Some of the behavior pieces are right and left finishes, finding front, prompt heel starts; square sits; sit and down stays with varying duration, distance, distractions and places; choose to heel; sit-stand-down discrimination, plus motivated, as well as formal, recalls.
The aim of the class is to make obedience work fun for the dogs while building the intensity, frequency and duration of their responses. You as a handler will receive handling tips that translate into confidence for you and your dog in the ring. The class will also introduce some elementary behaviors from the Open and Utility levels of competition. The training techniques are all-positive, using a clicker or other marker and food reinforcers.
The class is continuous and students may enter at any time. Students sign up for eight classes but have 12 weeks to complete them. Once you’ve taken eight classes or 12 weeks have passed, you have the option to renew. Class size is limited. Class venue is Your Dog’s Friend Training Center, 12221 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, Md.