Tania Wusterbarth, Oconto, gives her Australian sheperd-terrier mix Gunther a reward treat as they work on heeling during the beginners dog training at the Tri-County Dog Training Academy Wednesday at the Natioanl Guard Armory Tuesday in Marinette. <br> EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Tania Wusterbarth, Oconto, gives her Australian sheperd-terrier mix Gunther a reward treat as they work on heeling during the beginners dog training at the Tri-County Dog Training Academy Wednesday at the Natioanl Guard Armory Tuesday in Marinette.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
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MARINETTE - Sit. Stay. Come. Down. Heel.
These are the basic commands a dog will learn at the Tri-County Dog Training Academy.
Marria Valitchka, Peshtigo, said her 6-month old puppy, Keegan, a shih tzu-mix, learned the commands sit, down and come.
"He's learning to stand and walking on a leash," she said. "He really likes people. I am working on getting him more comfortable with other dogs. One of the main reasons I bring him here is he needs socialization with other dogs."
Valitchka said she is looking forward to next week when the class will teach rollover, fetch and play dead.
Gary and Cindy Nickerson, Menominee, said Tuuka, their 41⁄2-month old Labrador retriever and Plott hound mix, was also learning in the puppy class.
Joe Andre, Marinette, has been bringing Winter, a white/yellow Labrador, to Tri-County Dog Training Academy since she was a puppy for socialization and obedience.
Andre said those who get a puppy should look into the puppy class for socialization and basic skills as the class really helped his dog.
Melody Linsmeier, trainer for the beginners class, said that just because your dog is great for you doesn't mean they will be for everyone.
"When dogs don't grow up around children, it's different. They can turn on another dog or child. Keep them separated or on a leash," she said.
Linsmeier said it is good to ask or tell a child to ask if they can pet someone's dog.
"Don't always reach out to touch a dog," she said.
Gary Paulson, Daggett, and his Labrador pointer setter and pit bull mix, Tigger, were learning in the beginners class together.
"I've never been to obedience class before and I've had numerous dogs. He's one of the smartest dogs I have had," he said. "I am hoping he will be a rescue dog."
Last week, I realized a pinch (chain) collar is better for him, but not all the time, Paulson said. "We play at the house with toys and he'll search for them until he finds them."
Tracy Engelmann, Stephenson, said the main reason for bringing her 7-month old springer spaniel, Libby, to the class was to get her out of the house this long winter, to get used to others, to learn more and listen better.
"We practice commands at home," she said. "They do a very, very good job at teaching dogs."
Viette Hornick, director of training for the Tri-County Dog Training Academy, said more than 1,000 dogs have gone through training since its inception in 1996.
The class started after a few individuals were traveling to Green Bay to train their dogs.
"So we felt the need to start something here, and it has been very successful," Hornick said.
Classes have been held at the National Guard Armory at 2000 Mary St. since 2000. Before that classes were held at a kennel.
"We outgrew that and needed a bigger place, so we could accommodate more people and more classes," Hornick said.
Four types of classes are offered: puppy, beginners, intermediate and advance.
Hornick said the puppy class is for puppies eight-weeks to six-months old.
"It educates owners about dog-dog and dog-human interaction (socialization), dog psychology, health and grooming, and being a responsible pet owner," she said. "Dog psychology is how a dog thinks and interacts, how to work with a dog on a dog-thinking basis, and the way dogs think."
In this class, Hornick said puppies build confidence through instruction of basic commands and socializing with classmates and other trainees.
The beginners class teaches all the basic commands: sit, stay, come, down and heel, along with some important social skills.
"A trained dog is a better-mannered and controlled pet," Hornick said. "He or she won't eat off the cupboard and chase bikes down the road."
Hornick said the intermediate class will further enhance the exercises taught in beginners, plus it will improve your dogs social skills and make him/her comfortable around all kinds of people, even strangers, and other dogs; thereby making him or her a good neighbor.
The main goal of the advance class is to encourage owners to continue to work with their dogs.
In this class, higher levels of training are introduced. Trainees and their dogs are encouraged to progress according to their own level of ability and interest.
This class also offers the opportunity to take learning to a higher level with various exercises that form a close bond with you and your dog.
This class is varied so that people can work with own dog at your own pace.
The spring class start April 1. Participants are encouraged to register ahead of time.
Tri-County Dog Training Academy, a non-profit organization, holds an Annual Fun Match as its main fundraiser.
"People who are working toward titles on their dogs participate in various obedience and rally classes and in conformation compete in the match," Hornick said.
Donations are made to Marinette County Dog 4-H, Rainbow House, the rescue squad, animal shelters of Oconto County and Menominee, and the Salvation Army.
Resuscitation masks were donated by the Tri-County Dog Association for pets in the town of Peshtigo, Marinette and Crivitz via their fire departments.