Training Offers Fun And Games For Dogs And Their People

FOCUS ON PETS

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We have a very celebrated dog writer in our midst. I wish I could say it was me, but, in fact, it is not.

Maryann Mott, who moved to Payson recently from Fountain Hills, writes regularly for national dog publications and also writes feature columns in major newspapers. Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) is an organization for people who write about dogs, be it books, for newspapers or magazines, on the Internet or any kind of dog publication. Each year they have a writing competition that draws massive numbers of entries from the best pet writers in the country.

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This Rottweilers being evaluated for the title of Therapy Dog International. He must remain calm with someone on crutches, in a wheel chair or with loud and unusual noises or behaviors.

The winners are announced at a fancy banquet in New York City the night before the famous Westminster Dog Show. Maryann won First Place in the category, "Newspaper: Feature or news story."

Her article, "And to My Dog I leave a $10,000 Trust Fund," appeared in the esteemed New York Times. Congratulations to Maryann. We are proud to have you here.

A training class is being offered free to adopters of Payson Humane Society dogs. This class, "Road to the Right Relationship," is offered each Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Pine Horse Arena for anyone who has adopted a dog in the past 12 months. In this class, your special issues, worries and problems will be addressed. Contact the PHS for information, (928) 474-5590. The time may change as weather warms. So, call first.

Dog training classes are being offered to all dogs and their people at the Pine Horse Arena every Tuesday and Saturday from 9 to 10 a.m. Come once or twice a week as your schedule allows. Classes focus on behavior modification and traditional dog obedience including "sit," "down," "stay" and loose leash walking. The success of the classes will be enhanced by spending time working with your dog at home. Groups of four classes are $50, but you come when you can and sign up for more as you work at your own pace.

For more information, call Lori Chandler at (928) 476-2633 or e-mail mtnrider@cybertrails.com.

Once you and your dog have conquered basic obedience and etiquette, the next step is fun and games. Agility, flyball, rally and musical freestyle are a few dog sports available. The dogs love these activities and you cannot believe how much fun it is and what great people you meet.

A group of dog-loving folks in the area is planning a dog and people fun night. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of ongoing fun evenings where people and their dogs can gather, enjoy a picnic dinner and watch and then try out agility, flyball, rally, musical freestyle and obedience. Help will be available to demonstrate the basics and guide you as needed. These evenings are not designed as training sessions but as opportunities for people to get together with other dog people and discover the fun of dog sports. If there is an interest, training classes will be arranged.

Agility classes are being offered by Jane Burlison at her home, just south of Payson. She has all the equipment and years of teaching experience. She has just returned from a major Agility competition in California. For more information about future classes, call Jane at (928) 468-0250.

Many have expressed an interest in getting Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and Therapy Dog International (TDI) certification for their dogs. Plans are underway to offer evaluation and testing soon. CGC and TDI are titles earned by demonstrating specific behaviors. These are not complicated tasks but do show that your dog is dependable around people and other dogs, in crowds and is under your control.

The more time you spend with your dog (or dogs), the more you will enjoy and appreciate him. I guarantee it.

If you are having problems or just want to learn a bit about training, enroll in one of these classes.

And watch this column for further information about upcoming dog activities and our fun nights.

Christy Powers can be reached by e-mail at cpwrather@earthlink.net or by snail mail at HC1Box 210, Strawberry, AZ 85544.

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