Training a dog can be a daunting task, especially if the pet suffers from serious problems, like aggression. Help is available to those struggling with their canines, and pet owners had a preview of what a local club has to offer at the Keystone Canine Club’s Expo and Open House on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.
Dan Goldberg, a board member and office manager for the club, said that there are multiple purposes for the nonprofit organization.
“We train dogs to be well-mannered, and we start with puppy obedience,” Goldberg said. “We get them socialized and can move them on to adult obedience.”
The club’s number of dogs has nearly doubled. Keystone Canine had 15 classes before and now has around 30 with approximately eight dogs in each class, Goldberg said.
“Any more than that and the dogs tend to get distracted,” he said.
Goldberg has been with the club for 15 years and has seen growth and progress within the organization.
“We had to move because we had too many dogs for the other building,” he said, adding that everyone who works at the club is a volunteer and that his or her heart is in the work. “Something important to remember is to have fun with your dog.”
The event was an opportunity to give exposure to the club, and there was a turnout of about 100 people before it was over, according to volunteer Mary Benedetti.
“This is definitely helping (the club),” Benedetti said.
The event included free workshops on dog-training topics, such as getting your dog’s attention and the “come” and “stay” commands. It also had free door prizes, demonstrations of dog activities—including an agility obstacle course and vendor and groomer booths—and free samples of dog treats and products.
The club’s main classes focus on obedience and agility. Goldberg said that there are separate areas for small and large dogs.
“The teacup (small) dogs sometimes are intimidated by the larger dogs,” he explained.
Dogs that succeed in agility training move on to compete in formal competitions.
Marian Roznowski, a basic-obedience instructor, said that she hopes that the event increases exposure to the club so that people know that they have somewhere to turn to for canine training.
“We have to get people to train their dogs,” Roznowski said. “Sometimes, it’s not just a sit-come-stay issue. We have so many classes (that) it’s hard to find an issue that’s not covered in our training.”
The club also offers training to help canines become therapy dogs so that they can participate in visits to hospitals, assisted-living facilities and schools. Therapy dogs take part in demonstrations, such as dance routines, agility performances and even “dog weddings.”
Caroline Chapman, another volunteer, said that the club doesn’t advertise because word-of-mouth usually lets people know that their services are available.
“People call and make a request, and we come,” Chapman said.
Other training classes offered by the club include Puppy Kindergarten; Kids Basic Obedience, which helps children understand responsibilities of pet ownership; Nose Work, which teaches owners how to encourage and develop their dog(s)’ sensing abilities; basic- and puppy-obedience classes; Novice Obedience; Rally Obedience, which includes an obstacle course; agility; aggression; and even a class to help socialize shy dogs.
For more information on the club’s classes, visit its website.