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Oakland Dog Training Club

Q: When should I start training my puppy?

A: You can start teaching a puppy good habits from the day you bring him or her home. However formal training should start after the second set of vaccines is given, generally around 10 - 12 weeks. Puppies do mature at different rates; so if you are unsure if your puppy is ready for a formal class, request an evaluation by one of our instructors.

Q: My dog is already an adult; isn't training a waste of time?

A: It is never too late to start (or continue) training a dog. Dogs are capable of, and usually enjoy, learning new behaviors at any age. It may take a little longer with an adult dog, but the results are worth it. You'll both be happier!

Q: My dog is just a pet. Why does he need training?

A: Every dog deserves to have some basic obedience skills. Oakland Dog Training Club has classes that are geared towards teaching the pet dog basic skills such as not jumping up on your guests when you answer the door, allowing you (or the groomer) to clip his toenails, standing patiently and politely while the vet does her annual exam, sitting quietly at your side when you stop to chat with a neighbor while on your daily walk.

Q: I just adopted a Pit Bull mix; will he be allowed to attend a training class?

A: Most definitely. Oakland Dog Training Club does not discriminate against any breed. In fact, while it is a good idea for any dog to learn basic obedience, it is a great idea for a Pit Bull or other breed with a bad reputation. The better behaved a dog is the more likely that he will be welcomed in many situations.

Q: I have a mixed breed dog. Can I take your classes?

A: All dogs are welcome at Oakland Dog Training Club. Whether you just want some basic obedience skills or you plan on competing with your dog in the AKC's new Mixed Breed Program we have a class for you!! (See the Rescue and Mixed-Breed page.)

Q: I am not planning on competing. It seems like a lot of your classes are for serious competitors.

A: Oakland Dog Training Club offers classes for all levels of interest. Our puppy, beginning and intermediate classes are taught with the person and dog who are not going on to competition in mind. Such things as socialization, basic obedience and manners are stressed in these classes. However, many of our attendees in these classes discover how much fun they have training their dog and end up going on to compete, or simply take our classes geared for competition for fun, in order to keep working with their dogs.

Q: I just want to do agility (or flyball or other dog-sport) with my dog. Why do I need basic obedience?

A: Basic obedience skills are at the foundation of any dog sport. Working with your dog on basic obedience will strengthen the bond you have with your dog, and prepare them to work with you.

Q: How long does it take to train a dog?

A: Classes at Oakland Dog training Club are 6 or 7 weeks per session, and give you communication skills to work with at home, but be aware that training is an on-going process. Regular and consistent practice and follow through will accelerate your dog's success. It's also important to realize that dogs mature mentally at different rates, so reliability will be affected by adolescent curiosity and exuberance.

Our curriculum has classes to take a pet dog from puppy through off leash manners. Once you discover how much fun training and working with your dog is you may want to continue on with classes for performance obedience, Rally, and dog sports, such as Agility, whether or not you choose to actually compete in these sports.

Dogs whose owners get involved with dog sports lead active, athletic lives and build strong partnerships with their trainers that carry over to trust and reliability in all walks of life.

Q: My dog is 'aggressive'; are the classes at ODTC appropriate to 'fix' his problems?

A: Giving a dog a foundation in basic obedience can help with some behavior issues, and our classes can help you learn behavior modification techniques that may help solve behavior problems. However, not all behavior problems can be solved in a group class, and may need to be referred to a behavior specialist.

Q: Where are you located?

A: Don't let our club's name fool you! We are conveniently located at the intersection of 80 and 580 at the border of Richmond/El Cerrito near Pt. Isabel. The address is: 5327 Jacuzzi Street Bldg 3 Space E-1 Richmond, CA.

Q: Can I come and watch a class before enrolling?

A: Certainly. Check our website (oaklanddogtraining.org) for the current class schedule and you are welcome to come and observe a class. However, humans only, please.


Canine Good Citizen Test

Q: What is a Canine Good Citizen test and who is eligible to take it?

A: The American Kennel Club (AKC) has a program called the Canine Good Citizen program, designed to encourage and reward dog owners who have trained their dogs to have good manners, and be responsive to their owners. More information is available on their web page http://www.akc.org/events/cgc/program.cfm.

Q: I want to get a CGC on my 6 month old puppy but AKC says I have to wait until they are a year old.

A: AKC has a new S.T.A.R. Puppy program. Your puppy can be evaluated during class time and may be eligible for certification by an AKC evaluator. However, there is no minimum age for a dog to be eligible to take the CGC test. The AKC requires only that the dog be fully immunized. Tests offered as part of official AKC events, such as competitions, are subject to the minimum age requirements for entry to these events, but there are many other venues that offer CGC tests. The ODTC plans to offer the CGC test twice a year, if there is sufficient interest. Please check the web page for more information.


Children and Dogs

Q: My husband and I recently adopted a rescue dog for our three children, ages 4 to 9 years. They love playing with the dog, roughhousing with him and chasing him around the house, especially when the dog grabs their toys and won't give them up. Things get pretty chaotic sometimes. Lately the dog has started growling at the kids when they corner him. Although we can't believe our own dog would ever bite any of us, should we be concerned? And what should we do?

A: You definitely should be concerned. Any dog is capable of biting, given enough provocation, and most dog bites actually take place in the home.

Your family and your dog would benefit greatly from one of our training classes where you will teach your dog basic commands. As you progress through the class, your dog will learn to look to you for leadership, making it easier for you to maintain a calm atmosphere at home. Trained dogs are more relaxed and more attentive to people.

It is equally important to teach your children safe ways of behaving around dogs, so that they don't mistakenly push your dog into unwanted behaviors. The Oakland Dog Training Club's "Animal Safety is Fun!" workshop is a great way to promote a good relationship between your children and the dog. I encourage you to attend this workshop with your children. Check out info about it on our website.

Q: Our little terrier mix Sally has been our 'baby' for five years now. I'm afraid we've spoiled her rotten, feeding her from the table, taking her everywhere with us, and letting her sleep in our bed. When we don't give her what she wants, she barks at us and won't stop till she gets her way.
We're going to have a baby in a few months and I'm wondering how Sally will react to a baby in the house. Is it safe to have both the dog and the baby together in bed with us? How can we make sure Sally will accept the new baby?

A. It's very important to prepare your dog for the arrival of the new baby, so that Sally doesn't react as if the baby is an intruder. Now is the time to teach her the new routine she will be following once the baby comes.

It sounds as though Sally has figured out how to get what she wants from you. To change this behavior in Sally, I recommend a basic training class, which will show you effective methods of working with your dog. She will then be more responsive to you and will follow your directions, making your household more relaxed and ensuring that you can guide Sally's behaviors with the baby.

Although you don't have a baby in your home yet, our "Animal Safety is Fun!" workshop would be a great idea for you. It will give you lots of specific information about how dogs react to children, which will help you prepare Sally for the new baby. In addition, the trainers who present the workshop can assist you in working out a plan for Sally's preparation for the arrival of the baby.

Q: When we are out on a walk, my dog is friendly to any adults we meet, but when we see children, he backs up and then barks at them. I don't know what to do to change his behavior.

A: Your dog's backing up and barking shows that he is afraid of children and is barking to try to make them go away. Perhaps he is unaccustomed to children and is reacting with suspicion, a normal response to something unfamiliar. Or he may have had negative experiences with children in the past.

Either way, he is showing fear. Dogs that are fearful benefit greatly from training, as the training process helps them trust their owners and enhances their self confidence; this reduces their fearfulness in new situations. A training class is especially helpful as the dog learns to focus on his owner in spite of the distraction of other people and other dogs.

At the same time, the class instructor can suggest ways to familiarize your dog to children in a positive way, so that your dog learns that children are safe. Our "Animal Safety is Fun!" workshop will give you information that will help you guide the children you meet, so that they don't frighten your dog. I would attend this workshop as soon as you can. You will find it a great help!

Note from the ODTC: Training and the process of maturing and developing good habits takes time. Responsible parents and responsible dog owners must assure supervision and careful management of interactions between dosgs and children to assure safety and comfort for everyone. Never take your dog's good nature for granted, and never leave small children unsupervised around dogs. One mistake is too many.