FEBRUARY 2006

HI THERE,

Again the beginning of a new "school year" for our dogs! Welcome back to all the human members and their canine companions. We hope that you had a wonderful festive season and that 2006 will be filled with wonderful experiences. Also a special word of welcome to all the new club members - the people who join in February for the obedience training and the guys from the puppy class, which had already started in the middle of January. We hope to see you guys around for a long time.

Unlike most other dog schools, we at Lynnwood Dog School don't tell you that you enroll for classes for a period of a month or three, and then you must please leave to make way for new students. You can stay here for as long as you like, provided that both you and your dog enjoy the training sessions. Some of our members have been with us for quite a number of years.

Our basic obedience class lasts for one month (Monday evenings from 18:00 to 19:00. Thereafter you and your dog join the more advanced class (Monday evenings from 19:00 to 20:00). Don't think that your dog will not be ready for the advance class. In this class everybody (regardless of the obedience level of their dogs) train together for about 15 minutes. Thereafter we split the class into four groups, depending on the level of obedience of your dog and from there you and your dog progress at your own speed.

Our club's aim is to promote a good relationship between every owner and his dog - so .... No abuse of the animal will be tolerated. We work on positive reinforcement: you praise / reward the dog for every correct action and you (basically) ignore the mistakes that your dog makes. Please don't lose your temper while training your dog - this is supposed to be a fun time for interaction between you and your dog. Just enjoy it! The more effort you put into dog training and the more time you spent (also at home) practicing the exercises, the quicker you will see the progress in your dog.

If your dog is at least one year old, has no hip or elbow problems and has a relatively good obedience background, you are most welcome to join our agility group (Saturday mornings from 08:30 to about 10:00). This is also time for socializing the humans (as only one dog and one handler can be on the training course at a specific time). There is always tea, coffee and juice available (free of charge!!!) for
the handlers to enjoy while waiting for their turn to try out the course. If you are lucky, some volunteer would even provide a little snack for the humans. If you are interested, come and have a look and talk to Hans. The first agility lesson will be free of charge.

Then we also provide puppy socialization, with a new group of puppies starting every eight weeks (Saturday mornings 09:00 to 10:00). Enquiries regarding the next intake (puppies between 10 - 14 weeks old) can be made at Maureen and Magda.

We quite often have enquiries about "aggression / protection" training for your dog. The answer is straightforward: "No! We don't do that." This is an extremely specialized form of training. Often instructors will agitate a dog with a sack / stick and encourage him to bite, simply to sooth the club member that now his dog is "trained" to protect him. Fact is, unless you are prepared to spend at least an hour a day for the next couple of years (!!!) training your dog in this discipline, you run the risk of having a live time bomb in your house, the dog not knowing who is friend and who is foe and above all - not listening to your commands as he was not properly obedience trained, but trained to bite! We advise people to go and have a look at Schutzhund training - see for yourself the temperament of these dogs and their extremely high level of obedience! Then decide if you are prepared to put such an effort into training a "protection dog" (which, by the way, can just as easily be fed a poisoned snack and ... a dead dog is quite worthless). We do have contact with the Helvetia Schutzhund Club in Kyalami and will keep you informed about upcoming trials.

Occasionally (about 3 times per year) the Boxer Club uses the field on a Saturday morning for their dog shows. Then we arrange a dog walk for our club - a family outing for dogs and owners - usually to the Faerie Glen Nature Reserve. We walk for about an hour and then have a picnic - again at the club's expense. We will inform you about these dog walks well in advance.

Please guys, once more the request, wear good, non-slip shoes for dog training. High heels, slip-ons and flip-flops will only cause embarrassment when your big, strong dog pulls you out of your shoes. (We have seen this happening!) And in any case, you cannot run with such shoes. Also wear old clothes - you will get dirty. Bring a plastic bag along - for picking up any doggy "landmines" left by your dog on the training field. Also bring the correct equipment for training: a leash (that will not hurt your hand), a choke chain (for obedience class) and a plain collar or harness (for puppy class and agility).